What Does Caffeine Do To A Pregnant Woman?
Pregnancy comes with a lot of prohibitions when it comes to foods or drinks. For sure you’ll develop a habit of checking on labels but what does caffeine do to a pregnant woman. There are some pregnant women who are conscious enough of their coffee intake.
Caffeine is a stimulant that keeps you awake and provides a boost of energy. When you consumed more caffeine during your pregnancy, there’s a possibility that you will encounter problems. That is why health authorities advised limitation in its consumption especially during pregnancy. Caffeine passes the placenta to your baby and the placenta grows in your uterus and supplies food and oxygen to your baby through the umbilical cord.
Even if you can handle the amounts of caffeine that you feed your body but your baby cannot. Your baby’s metabolism is still not mature to fully metabolize the caffeine. Your caffeine consumption could also cause changes in your baby’s sleep pattern as well as its normal movement pattern later in your pregnancy. As we all know that caffeine is a drug stimulant so it can keep you both and your baby awake.
Caffeine gives more favorable effects on giving more energy and other health benefits. It is proven to improve focus as well. Research finds that it stimulates your brain and central nervous system which is effective in treating headache as contained in pain reliever drugs like acetaminophen. There are also other caffeinated beverage that contains antioxidants which is a good compound in protecting cells from damage and in reducing inflammation and other chronic diseases.
However, given all those health benefits caffeine has also potential risks mainly when consumed during pregnancy. What does caffeine do to a pregnant woman?
Pregnant women has lesser capacity to metabolize caffeine. They can take 1.5-3.5 times or longer to eliminate caffeine from their body. Caffeine crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s bloodstream, and there are concerns that it may affect your baby’s health. It could also transfer through breast milk. According to the American College of Obstetricians Gynecologist (ACOG), moderate amounts of coffee, less than 200mg per day, has nothing to do with the increased risk of miscarriage or pre term birth.
It suggests that intakes greater than 200mg per day may increase risk of miscarriage. They found some evidence proving that even low intakes of caffeine results in low birth weight. Like a low intake of 50-149mg per day during pregnancy can have a 13% higher risk of low birth weight. However, there is still a need for further research to strongly prove that caffeine is associated with risk of miscarriage, low birth weight and other adverse effects sue to high intakes during pregnancy.
It could also cause high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, restlessness, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Thus, ACOG recommends limiting caffeine intake to 200mg or less when you’re pregnant or trying to be pregnant. You can have 1-2 cups (240-580ml) or about 2-4 cups (240-960ml) of brewed tea per day. You should also consider avoiding caffeinated energy drinks during your pregnancy because it contains high amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is also contain herbs, such as ginseng which is lack of nutritional value, is seen as unsafe for pregnant women. Instead of consuming caffeinated drinks why not try caffeine-free beverages like water, decaf coffee or caffeine-free teas.
But not all coffee have equal caffeine content. It has various caffeine content depends on the type and method of preparation. General rule says that expectant mothers can have two small cups of coffee a day. Be mindful also of other sources of caffeine such as pop, chocolate, and even the size of the cup as there are some mugs hold caffeine for about two cups of coffee. There are certain medications like pain relievers may contain caffeine and used as supplement for weight loss. Better check with your doctor for safer and healthier advice. If you want a healthy pregnancy, it takes planning and preparation such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Omega-3 fat diet
- No gadgets
- Stress-free lifestyle
- More Vitamin D intake
- Regular exercise
There was a study conducted on animals and it shows that caffeine can cause birth defects, premature labor, reduced fertility and other reproductive problems. But there’s no studies done yet for humans, however, it is still better to prevent before anything bad happens during your pregnancy. It is also a fact that there’s a correlation between caffeine consumption and delayed conception.
Since caffeine is also present on some pain relief medicines which is over-the counter, authorities or health care professionals especially FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires labels on these medicines on the amount of caffeine. If you’re pregnant better consult your health care provider before taking any medicine with caffeine including prescription or over-the-counter medicine.
What does caffeine do to a pregnant woman? For healthier option, always talk to your midwife, pharmacist or professional health care to ensure your safety and your baby.