Caffeine and pregnancy: is it Safe?
Caffeine is a natural occurring material found in many plants, beans and seeds. It is legally declared a drug. It is most widely used substances that charges body. In short, people love to use it as a stimulant.
There has been lot of research and studies on the effect of caffeine on pregnancy. However, after putting so many years of study controversies still exist on the safe amount of caffeine for pregnant women. According to the Food and Drug administration, the prescribed amount of caffeine for pregnant woman is 200 – 300 mg a day. Another study claims the safe amount of caffeine for pregnant woman is less than 200 mg.
Now that you are pregnant, caffeine during pregnancy is a bad idea. However, there is a general belief that pregnant woman or woman who is trying to conceive should avoid caffeine. Caffeine is as dangerous as alcohol to a pregnant woman. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that gets absorbed in the blood within 15 minutes of intake. When one takes caffeine in large quantities, it has adverse effects on the body.
Effects of caffeine on body
Caffeine can cause a number of side effects on your body, which in turn can affect your developing baby, some of the side effects are
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Sleep disorder
Effects of caffeine on baby
Your body is capable of handling large amount of caffeine due to your fully developed metabolism but your baby’s metabolism is still in the developmental stage and cannot handle caffeine. When you take caffeine, it mixes with the blood and reaches the baby. Caffeine is one of the few substances that cross the placenta. The ability of breaking down and eliminating caffeine is not fully developed in the unborn child; the caffeine level in blood may remain high for a longer period of time interfering with the baby’s development. Some studies state that a mother who consumed large amount of caffeine during pregnancy gave birth to a child suffering from increased breathing rate, increased heart rate and sleep disorders etc. In addition, caffeine acts as diuretic resulting in dehydration that can have adverse effect on the baby. Caffeine may prevent the absorption of important nutrients such as iron.
Caffeine and pregnancy first trimester
Consumption of caffeine can be very dangerous in the first trimester of pregnancy as it is the crucial period of baby’s organ development. During pregnancy, your body breaks down caffeine very slowly that means higher level of caffeine in you blood and by virtue in your baby blood. One should avoid caffeine even in the third trimester of pregnancy, as it is always good to be on the safer side.
Caffeine and miscarriage
Several studies try to establish the link between caffeine and miscarriage. It has been found that women who are caffeine addicted during pregnancy had slightly increased chance of miscarriage. Woman who consumed more than 8 cup of coffee during pregnancy are at a higher risk of miscarriage.
Some studies have found that pregnant women who consumed large quantities of caffeine (five or more cups of coffee a day) were twice as likely to miscarry as those who consumed less, while fewer or no effects were seen at lower levels of caffeine consumption.4, 5 A detailed analysis of caffeine's reported effects on pregnancy outcome can be found at motherisk.org.
Food and beverage containing caffeine
The major source of caffeine is coffee. Chocolates, soft drinks, tea are products that contain caffeine. Therefore, it is always a good idea to keep an eye on the food you eat during pregnancy.
Lastly, pregnant women must avoid caffeine but should not replace it with other unhealthy alternatives.