Moderate coffee drinking OK during pregnancy

LOS ANGELES For years women have been told that they shouldn't drink coffee during a pregnancy. That really doesn't sound fair just because you're pregnant.

A new report in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology now says that women can drink coffee, but in moderation. The advice is based on evidence from two large recent studies.

Researchers report drinking about 12 ounces of coffee a day or about a cup and a half is probably safe during pregnancy.

"Yeah, it definitely makes me feel good. Even if I have to drink it once in a while I know it's not bad," said Chitra Nadig, who is five months pregnant.

Caffeine tightens blood vessels and restricts blood flow. The fear is that the fetus won't be getting enough oxygen and this could lead to the risk of early labor, premature birth and miscarriage.

The new recommendation is no more than 200 milligrams a day and that include caffeine in other sources as well.

"Moms should look at the amount of caffeine in each beverage, chocolate and over-the-counter medications," said OB-GYN Dr. Leila Zafaranchi. "Cough syrups have a lot of caffeine in it."

Dr. Zafaranchi says easing the restrictions on caffeine consumption will help ease the minds of busy, expectant moms who often juggle work and other children. Some women simple need a little boost.

But doctors still advise women. Not to go overboard.

"Drink it less and enjoy it more," said Dr. Zafaranchi.

Most importantly eat well and exercise regularly. And if an expectant mom is more of a tea drinker, experts say they can have 8 ounces of caffeinated tea.

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