Written by Pradeep
Caffeine has been a vital part of our universal culture for many years now. Whether it is the early morning cuppa of the mid-day tea that helps you wash the sluggishness, caffeine consumption is fairly common, and many women have their minds and bodies tuned with it. But caffeine during pregnancy is not encouraged.
This stimulant has been most loved by everyone. However, now that you are expecting you have to ease or reduce the regular intake of certain delights and drinks, which contain higher levels of caffeine in them. This is because higher levels of caffeine intake during pregnancy can interfere with the health of the fetus. So how does caffeine intake affect your pregnancy and how much of it can you safely have? Read the article to know more.
In This Article
Caffeine is both a stimulant and a diuretic. It stimulates the heart and metabolic rate. It increases blood pressure, also keeps you attentive. Therefore, in a similar way, it affects your unborn child since it can get passed through the placenta to your baby.
High caffeine is not good for an unborn child, if consumed more than recommended there might be a risk of miscarriage or your child may be born underweight. More consumption of it may even cause certain changes in babies sleeping and movement pattern in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Many studies have linked over-consumption of caffeine with miscarriages, and a Denmark study has found that women who consumed 8 or more cups of coffee are twice likely to have a stillbirth from women who had none.
Caffeine also causes you to urinate more, and since pregnancy, it has increased the frequency of urine, caffeine can just make the condition worse. If had before going to bed, you will need to get up to urinate many times during the night – and it can also cause dehydration.
Some Other Harmful Effects Of Caffeine During Pregnancy
Since it is a stimulant, consuming it beyond the recommended level can keep you and your baby both alert and awake, which can in turn make you both uncomfortable. Although experts suggest it completely, yet, it won’t harm if you are having 1 or 2 mugs a day (i.e. nearly 200 mg/day) which is within the recommended limit.
Caffeine does not get broken up easily by a sluggish digestive system, which is likely to be the case as your pregnancy progresses, and thus ends up staying in the bloodstream longer than when you were not pregnant. This means caffeine is more difficult to be broken down by the body when you are in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Your baby cannot process the caffeine either, but because it stays in the bloodstream, it ends up crossing the placenta. The baby can feel uncomfortable, and this is again a reason lactating or breastfeeding mothers are also advised to limit their caffeine intake.
[Read: Caffeine and Breastfeeding]
Some research has also shown that babies that are born to mothers who had more than 500 mg of caffeine had faster heart rates and an increased rate of breathing too. Caffeine has also been linked to colic in babies.
Being a diuretic, it makes you run to the bathroom more and more, as it pulls all the fluids and calcium from your body – which also means the baby gets deprived of the same. With nutritional value being nil, caffeine disrupts your sleep schedule and keeps you getting those mood swings more often, besides decreasing the iron absorption rates of the body as well.
Caffeine is a naturally found substance. You can find in coffee, soft drinks, teas, chocolates, energy drinks, chocolate-flavored ice cream or yogurts, energy drinks, some desserts, etc. Certain tablets that cure cold and flu and headache, breath fresheners, and pain killers also contain some amount of caffeine. Some seeds, such as sunflower seeds, are also infused with caffeine.
Most experts agree that caffeine intake should be limited to 200 milligrams per day, which is about one to two cups of coffee. Though there is no hard evidence supporting the same, this amount seems to draw a general agreement. Below are some beverages that we consume frequently with their caffeine content:
|8 oz Coffee Generic Brewed||95-200 mg|
|8 oz Coffee Generic Decaffeinated||2 mg|
|12 oz Coke||35 mg|
|8.3 oz Redbull||77 mg|
|1 oz Dark Chocolate||23 mg|
|8 oz Chocolate Milk||5-8 mg|
It is not easy to stop it completely if you are a keen coffee or tea addict, hence you will have to cut caffeine in a gradual process. While for some women morning sickness does the trick, for others food aversions to things they like to eat or drink do help. Never try to go off caffeine in a jiffy if you are habitual, this will only give you headaches, and irritability and leave you cranky and sore.
Whenever you have coffee outside at any outlet, do not forget the content of caffeine is extremely high in espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos, hence merely having one cup could possibly reach your daily limit. Not all herbal teas are caffeine-free; they contain other herbs and condiments that may be harmful during pregnancy, therefore it is better to consult your doctor before you try something new.
It would be rather safe to avoid caffeine as much as possible. Milk, water, and fresh fruit juices are beneficial substitutes. The healthiest choice you could make for yourself and your baby is by consuming less caffeine!
Yes, you can. Limit your intake. Too much caffeine is not safe.
If you have too much caffeine, it can. An occasional cup won’t cause any harm. Check with your doctor if you are concerned.
If you have too much caffeine, it can. Apart from the cup of coffee, calculate what else contains caffeine.
Too much caffeine in the mother’s blood can affect the baby. It can lead to low birth weight. It can even restrict the blood supply to the baby.