Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health



First Committee Member

Dr. Paraskevi A. Farazi

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sonja R. Kinney

Third Committee Member

Dr. Christopher Wichman



Background: Unhealthy non-alcoholic drinks for pregnant women include beverages with high caffeine and added sugar. High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been reported to be linked with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriages and stillbirth. In addition, high sugar-sweetened-beverages (SSBs) intake increases the risk of maternal obesity that is associated with many serious health problems in both mother and the fetus such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, congenital anomalies, macrosomia, childhood obesity and cardiac diseases. Maternal obesity also increases the cost of prenatal and postnatal healthcare by increasing the need of surgical and anesthetic care for mother and intensive care for the newborns. Lack of national data on consumption of caffeine and SSB in pregnant women warrants the need for further research in this area.

Goal: Assess caffeine and SSB consumption of adult pregnant women in an urban medical center in Nebraska.

Aims: a) Determine the adherence of surveyed pregnant women to established recommendations for caffeine consumption. b) Investigate factors associated with high sugar consumption from SSB among pregnant women.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 114 pregnant women aged 19 years and older visiting Nebraska Medicine who agreed to participate in the survey. Caffeine intake was assessed by quantifying the amount of caffeine consumption per day from different caffeine sources. Daily intake of added sugar from SSB was quantified using the standard amount of added sugar in specific types of SSB. The data from the survey was analyzed using statistical software SPSS.

Results: The mean BMI of women before pregnancy was 27.84±0.84 and 7% of surveyed women reported smoking during pregnancy. Almost 90% of surveyed women adhered to the current recommendation for caffeine intake during pregnancy. However, half of the women reported consuming more sugar from SSBs than recommended. Younger age, early gestational age, African American race and single or divorced marital status were associated with high sugar intake from beverages.

Impact of the project

The results of this study will inform healthcare professionals about the unhealthy drinking behaviors of pregnant women so they can make necessary recommendations to the pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant to improve their pregnancy outcomes as well as the health of both mother and the newborn. This study will also facilitate other researchers to conduct similar studies in different age, race or ethnic groups, and in different geographic settings. A similar concept can be utilized to assess consumption of other dietary items as well.