Alcohol, Caffeine & Smoking
When you’re pregnant, it’s best to stop drinking alcohol altogether. But if you do drink, have no more than 1 or 2 units of alcohol, once or twice a week.
A unit is half a pint of standard strength beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of spirit. A glass of wine is about 2 units and alcopops are about 1.5 units.
Smoking is bad for you, your partner and especially for your baby. The truth is that every cigarette you smoke harms your baby.
The sooner you stop the better but we know that it is difficult. If you stop smoking at any stage during your pregnancy this will benefit you and your baby. There is plenty of help, advice and support available to help you stop and you may be able to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy. Speak to your Doctor, Pharmacist or Midwife for advice. There is also an NHS Pregnancy Smoking Helpline 0800 169 9169.
For more information about smoking and pregnancy and how to break the habit, visit the NHS Smokefree website by clicking here.
It’s important not to have too much caffeine. This is because high levels of caffeine can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life. High levels of caffeine might also cause miscarriage. It’s best not to have more than 200mg of caffeine a day when you’re pregnant.
The amount of caffeine in food and drink will vary, but as a guide each of these contain roughly 200mg or less of caffeine:
- 2 mugs of instant coffee (100mg each)
- 1 mug of filter coffee (140mg each)
- 2 mugs of tea (75mg each)
- 5 cans of cola (up to 40mg each)
- 2 cans of ‘energy’ drink (up to 80mg each)
- 4 (50g) bars of plain chocolate (up to 50 mg each). Caffeine in milk chocolate is about half that of plain chocolate
Remember that caffeine is also found in certain cold and flu remedies, so always check with your GP or another health professional before taking any of these.
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