MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It seems like the rules of pregnancy are constantly changing, so navigating through them can be tricky for moms-to-be.

One of the big questions is regarding caffeine and alcohol. Should pregnant women abstain, or is a little bit ok?

Caffeine is the fuel that runs families across the country. An estimated 400 million cups of coffee are consumed in the U.S every day.

Valerie Schimel, who is a mom of three, loves her coffee. Schimel and her husband tried to get pregnant for a long time, so when it finally happened, she kicked her coffee addiction. “I went overboard, being cautious about everything,” she told CBS4’s Rhiannon Ally.

Previous studies suggested any amounts of caffeine could cause harm. But, Dr. Gene Burkett with the UM School of Medicine says new research suggests a small amount is ok. “There’s no data to suggest if you have one cup of coffee there will be problems.” Dr. Burkett said.

The problem is many women won’t stop at just one cup. Dr. Burkett said anything more than that can cause serious problems like early miscarriage, hypertension, and rapid pulse. Dr. Burkett said that’s because caffeine, along with any other beverages, crosses the placenta, and that includes alcohol.

One new study in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal revealed there is no association between alcohol consumption before 15 weeks of gestation and small for gestational age, reduced birth weight, preeclampsia, or spontaneous preterm birth.

It’s a controversial and personal issue. Many women admitted to Ally off camera that they consumed alcohol while pregnant, but most agreed it’s best to pass.

Dr. Burkett agrees. He says even the smallest amount can make its way into a babies system and the consequences could be severe, like subtle learning disabilities to severe mental retardation.

This is the first in a new series of reports by Rhiannon Ally for CBS4 Morning News called “Talking Baby,” as Ally awaits the arrival of her own bundle of joy.


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