Categorized | Pregnancy Articles

Caffeine and Pregnancy

Intake of caffeine needs to be under strict observation when trying to conceive and during pregnancy. There have been a number of experiments to prove the hazards caffeine holds against child development.

What does Caffeine do?

Caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic (a drug that increases the rate of urination). Being stimulant caffeine increases your blood pressure and heart rate; this is dangerous for a pregnant woman. As it causes loss of body fluid through frequent urination this leads to dehydration, again a dangerous condition for an expecting woman.

Since the baby gets all its nutrition for the mother, caffeine to can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s body. You can control the amount of caffeine that enters your body, but your baby can’t. The child’s metabolism is still developing and finds it difficult to completely metabolize caffeine. As caffeine is a stimulant it can change the sleep pattern of the child and even the normal movement pattern around the later stage of pregnancy.

As per a number of researches conducted by experts all across the world caffeine has the potential to cause birth defects, preterm delivery, reduced fertility and increase in risk of low-birth weight offspring along with other reproductive problems.

How much caffeine is safe to take?
It is advisable that you completely avoid the intake of caffeine when planning to conceive and during pregnancy. But in case that is not possible you can stick to not more than 200mgs of caffeine each day; this amounts to 2 cups of tea or instant coffee.

Having more than 200 mgs of caffeine each day during pregnancy can elevate the risk of a miscarriage or the baby being born with low birth weight. A low birth weight implies that the child has some health problems that can prove troublesome in future.

What food items contain Caffeine?
Caffeine is not just a component in coffee or tea, but it is also found in food items like green tea, colas and chocolates. Also over the counter products like headache and cold tablets and allergy medicines contain caffeine. It is any ways advised to seek your care provider’s instruction before consuming any over the counter product. Below is a list that will give a fair understanding of the caffeine content in various food products –

•    1 mug of instant coffee = 100mg
•    1 cup of instant coffee = 75mg
•    1 cup of brewed coffee = 100mg
•    1 mug of brewed coffee = 150mg
•    1 cup of tea = 50mg
•    1 can of cola = 40mg
•    1 can of energy drink = 80mg
•    1 x 50g bar of plain chocolate = up to 50mg
•    1 x 50g bar of milk chocolate = up to 25mg

A few tips to avoid caffeine –

Women who find it difficult to keep away from caffeine can try brewing tea or coffee for a shorter time. This reduces caffeine by as much as half. Also you can opt for decaffeinated tea now available in the market.

Women who are quite addicted to coffee and cola will find it difficult to withdraw from casual sips. This will lead to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, lethargy etc. You can try to gradually reduce you consumption little by little each day. Find a substitute like drinking a glass of fresh juice or a cup of soup instead.

Make sure you read the labels of the food items you by carefully to check the amount of caffeine it contains or if they are decaffeinated or not.