Caffeine during pregnancy

Caffeine is a type of drug that exists in sodas, tea, coffee, energy drinks, and medicines. It can be found in many types of:

  1. Seeds
  2. Leaves
  3. Fruits of different kinds of plants
  4. Pods
  5. Coffee beans
  6. Cacao pods
  7. Tea leaves

It is a kind of drug that stimulates, means it can keep you up and awake. During pregnancy, women are being encouraged to lessen their caffeine intake for many important reasons.  I know it may be hard for you especially if your choice of beverage is cola, tea, energy drink, or coffee and if you are having it like five to ten servings a day to keep you going the rest of the day.

caffeine-during-pregnancy

But now that you are pregnant, you have to think about it if what will caffeine can do to you and to your baby’s health.

One of the major things that you should consider is the fact that caffeine has the ability to enter your placenta. Although researcher are not yet certain of the exact effect and how much impact it can have to your baby, they would want the pregnant women to limit their caffeine intake to at least 200mg each day.

Studies show that too much caffeine during pregnancy can increase the risk of your pregnancy.

Note that it not about you now. You have to carefully consider the health of your upcoming baby and there is no one who can give good health to him or her but you. It is always better to err on the aspect of caution.

Pregnancy week by week

Now, we know that it can be a great challenge for you but let us provide you with more information that will help you decide and will help you stop.

The following information will help you gather information about caffeine and how will it affect your pregnancy.

Some important facts about caffeine

  • Caffeine is a stimulant. In just a low dosage, it has a power to give you power when you peter out of steam for the price of increasing you heart rate and blood pressure which are really not good during your pregnancy.
  • It is a diuretic. Which means it can make you urinate more frequently. Since pregnancy alone makes you keep coming back to the restroom for a pee break, an element that will make you urinate more will be the last thing that you would need while you are pregnant. Since it washes and reduces the levels of your body fluid, it can lead to dehydration. It also washes a significant amount of calcium and other important nutrients out of your body and failed to be absorbs by your system.
  • Caffeine has the ability to enter the placenta to your precious baby. You may be capable to control the amount and the effects of the caffeine that you feed your body but your baby cannot. Think of your baby inside your womb, his or her metabolism and other important parts of the body are still on the process of maturation.
  • Caffeine is a stimulant. It can make you and baby wide awake. It can make unhealthy changes with you baby’s sleeping pattern and movement especially during the last stages of your pregnancy.

Frequently asked questions about caffeine during pregnancy

  1. Can caffeine cause birth defects in babies?
    • There are numbers of studies conducted on animals that have shown that caffeine intake during pregnancy can cause birth defects such as premature labor and low-birth weight, and preterm delivery. However, there are no certain studies conducted to humans regarding this but it is always better to play it safe.
  2. Does caffeine cause infertility?
    • There are several studies that show a link or relationship between infertility or delayed conception and high caffeine intake while bearing a baby inside the womb.
  3. Does caffeine causes miscarriage?
    • Two studies were conducted during 2008 about the effects of caffeine’s relation to miscarriage and it showed considerably different effects. In one study conducted by Epidemiology, it shows that there are no heightened risks in pregnant women who consume a minimum amount of coffee every day. But, in one investigation delivered by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, it was establish that pregnant women who use up more than 200 milligrams of caffeine every day are twofold as possible to suffer miscarriage compared to those who do not ingest any caffeine.
    • Because of the two conflicting result of studies, the March of Dimes declares that as far as more absolute examinations are conducted, mothers-to-be should limit their caffeine intake to not more than 200 milligrams each day. Which is just an equivalent of one 12 ounces of coffee.
  4. Should a pregnant woman abstain from any caffeine?
    • Experts do not exactly set a guideline to abstain from caffeine but they want you to become more aware of the amount of caffeine that you put in to your body. They only set a limit of between 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams. I know that this can be hard for you to break your habit of consuming caffeine but you have to realize that pregnancy is not just about you, you have to consider the baby that you are carrying inside you. It is your moral obligation to nourish and protect him or her. So take courage to take that responsibility, to avoid future concerns.

How can caffeine affect you and your baby during pregnancy?

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure. As your pregnancy progresses your body’s ability to absorb caffeine slows especially during your third trimester which will take you three times harder to absorb caffeine, so you will end up having a higher level of caffeine in your blood streams. This event will significantly affect the amount of caffeine that goes to your placenta that reaches the baby, who is not capable of processing it efficiently.
  • Increased the amount of urine. Again, in the first part of this article we already discuss about caffeine being a diuretic. But let me emphasize the seriousness and danger of dehydration to your baby. Water has an important role in the development of the baby. It helps the placenta to form. Placenta is the only thing that the baby can rely on in receiving the nutrients he or she needs to be developed during the pregnancy. Water is also essential in forming the amniotic sac which is very important during the late period of your pregnancy. Dehydration can lead to a more serious problem in pregnancy such as constipation, lower amniotic fluid, urinary tract infection, and Braxton Hicks contractions.
  • It can cause to childhood leukemia. A most updated study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published evidences of a higher risk of childhood leukemia in babies whose mothers consumed more than 2 cups of coffee per day. They also found out that:
  • Some or little amount of caffeine can result to a 20% risk increased.
  • More than 2 cups of coffee or about 300 milligrams of caffeine can result to a 60% risk increased.
  • Four or more cups or about 600 milligrams of caffeine can result to a 72% risk of having leukemia.

It is observed that caffeine adapts the fetal DNA which makes the baby become more prone to develop leukemia.

  • It can lead to childhood obesity. A fifteen-year long investigation conducted by The International Journal of Obesity proclaimed that babies born to women who did not quit their caffeine consumption during their pregnancy are 89% more prone to become obese than those children who were born to mothers who did not expose themselves to caffeine substances during their pregnancy. It is because caffeine as a neural stimulant can change the fetal brain growth affecting normal neural conveyance crucial to normal brain operation which is the metabolic processes.

How to help yourself break the caffeine habit while you are pregnant

Most pregnant women find their taste buds and fondness for a cup of coffee removed during their first trimester particularly during their morning sickness period. But if in case coffee and other caffeinated foods and drinks are still appealing to you, consider switching to decaf since it contains a smaller amount of caffeine.

Caffeine withdrawal may not be easy especially if you are a heavy drinker before you got pregnant. So here are some of the lists that you can apply to help you successfully stop or at least lower your caffeine consumption:

  1. The very first thing that you should establish is to know for yourself why you are doing this. Who is it for and how worth it would be.
  2. Ease off gradually. Almost half of caffeine users experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, headaches, and lethargy. So do not give up all at once but plan to do it gradually instead.
  3. Find and discover great caffeine replacements. You can begin mixing decaf to your regular mixture of coffee. Or you can put a greater portion of milk and less coffee.
  4. If what you are drinking is tea, you can lighten the brew by brewing it for a shorter period of time. Let the tea bag steep in just one minute instead of five minutes. By doing this, you can actually reduce caffeine by as much as half.
  5. For the sake of healthier benefits, you can substitute the regular teas to herbal teas. But before doing that make sure to ask your doctor, which of the herbal teas are safe to drink during pregnancy. Be sure to read the label for the list of ingredients and other important information.
  6. Know what you love best about your caffeine mix. Is it the taste? If it is, then switch to a good decaf which you can enjoy the taste without the caffeine. Or is it because of the added energy it gives you? You can get so many kind of healthier energy boost from many foods like proteins and carbohydrates. Regular exercise can boost your energy too. Make sure to time your sleep as well. Energy can be generated by having sufficient sleep, not too much and not too few.

There are so many kinds of foods that have caffeine on it and you need to develop the habit of reading the packages so you can count and monitor you caffeine consumption. It may be a lot of work but it is sure to be worth it.