What Happens When You Drink Too Much Caffeine While Pregnant?
Generally, caffeine is a stimulant drug which is mostly found in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, soda and medicines that helps keep you awake. It increases the amount of urine your body makes and causes you to feel nauseous, have indigestion or trouble sleeping, and affects your nervous system. It also increases your blood pressure and heart rate which is not recommended during pregnancy and you may find it sensitive to caffeine and it may take you longer to clear it from your body.
When caffeine is present during your pregnancy, it passes through the placenta to your baby. The placenta grows in your uterus and supplies food and oxygen to your baby through the umbilical cord. Caffeine passes the placenta to your baby and 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.
Energy drink is also not recommended during pregnancy as it also contain high levels of caffeine and other ingredients. Like a 24-ounce energy drink which may have up to 500 milligrams of caffeine. Most energy drinks have a lot of sugar and other ingredients that may harm your pregnancy. If you have a cup of coffee in the morning, it’s good to limit or give up other foods or drinks during the day. It’s better to check the package label on foods and drinks to be informed how much caffeine they contain.
There are also some medicines for pain relief, migraines, headaches and cold that keep you awake because it contains caffeine. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires labels on these medicines 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. A prescription is given by a health care professional while an over-the-counter medicine can be bought without any given prescription. Again, it’s better to talk to your midwife, doctor or pharmacist before drinking these remedies.
Some herbal products also contain caffeine like guarana, yerba mate, kola nut and green tea extract. These are made from herbs, plants used in cooking or function as medicine. But if you’re pregnant you are not advice to use or take herbal products because there’s no certain details of how much caffeine they contain.
It has been documented on numerous studies done on animals 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.
According to the study released by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who consume 200mg or more caffeine daily are twice to have miscarriage compared to those who do not consume any caffeine. On another study by Epidemiology, it was found out that there’s no risk involved in women who drink a minimal amount of coffee daily (200-350mg per day). Based on these different studies, it is suggested that pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to less than 200mg per day which is equal to about one 12 ounce cup of coffee.
Some studies also show that drinking large amounts of caffeine has nothing to do with birth defects but it can cause difficulty to get pregnant. It can increase risk of miscarriage and baby’s low birth weight. Studies found that this is true while others don’t. Regardless of the findings of those studies, it’s best to limit the amount of caffeine you get each day. So, it is suggested to limit the daily amount of caffeine to 300mg a day which is about 1 ½ 8-ounce cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup of coffee.
On the other hand, experts observed that moderate levels of caffeine have not been found any negative effect on pregnancy. This moderate dose is form 150mg-300mg a day. Thus, it is advised to consume lesser caffeine or to avoid would be the safest choice of action.
But how to reduce your caffeine intake?
If you want to limit you caffeine intake you may try water, fruit juice or decaffeinated tea or coffee. Decaffeinated varieties are also a good option since it contains little or no caffeine.
What happens when you drink too much caffeine while pregnant? For healthier option, always talk to your midwife, pharmacist or professional health care to ensure your safety and your baby.