Too much caffeine can cause your baby to have a
low birth weight, higher heart rate and rapid breathing. Get simple tips to
restrain or quit your caffeine habit; know more about the sources of, and
side-effects of too much caffeine; all in the following article.
If you are pregnant there are so many things
you are advised to steer
clear of. Don’t drink alcohol; don’t
unpasteurised cheese; don’t eat raw food! But the most annoying ‘Don’t’ for
most women is: Don’t drink too much coffee!
Caffeine: Its Sources and
The primary issue doctors have with
coffee is its caffeine content.
Sources of caffeine include
not just coffee, but also teas (including green
tea), fizzy drinks,
chocolate, as well as chocolate and coffee ice-creams.
There are many conflicting reports as to
how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy. While some doctors
recommend a maximum of 100 to 150 mgs of caffeine, most doctors and dieticians
allow a maximum of 200 mgs of caffeine.
mg of caffeine equates:
- Two cups of instant coffee;
- One cup of brewed coffee;
- Six cans of Coca-Cola; and
- Four 50g bars of chocolate.
It is important to note that a coffee
from a cafe may contain more caffeine since the level of caffeine in a coffee
varies according to the type of bean used, and its method of roasting and
Women are advised to read labels before purchasing
any herbal products or over-the-counter drugs such as headache, cold, and
allergy pills as caffeine may be present in many of
Moreover, it is suggested that teas and coffees are
best drunk between meals as these beverages can otherwise decrease the amount
of iron a pregnant woman absorbs from her food.
Side-Effects of Too Much
Some studies indicate that women who
consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine doubled their risk of
miscarriage. Other research
indicates that drinking more than 8 cups of coffee doubled the risk of
stillbirths. Yet other studies have shown that in the case of women who
consumed more that 500 mg of caffeine per day, their newborn babies had higher
heart rates, rapid breathing and were more awake than is the norm in the first
few days after birth. There is also a high risk that the baby will be born with
a low birth
weight which increases their
risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure
and diabetes in
Effects of Caffeine
The Effects of Caffeine
on the Expecting Mother and Foetus are detailed
- Caffeine is a Stimulant
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means that it will make you feel more alert and jittery by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism. It can cause insomnia and can make your baby feel unsettled.
- Frequency of Urination
Caffeine has a mild diuretic effect which means that you will need to pee more. This can cause dehydration due to the reduction in your body fluid levels.
Caffeine stimulates the secretion of excess stomach acid which causes heartburn.
- Absorption of Iron
Most women suffer from iron deficiencies during pregnancies. Coffee and tea contain compounds known as Phenols that further hamper the absorption of iron in pregnant women.
- Difficulty in Breaking down Caffeine
As pregnancy progresses; your body's ability to break down caffeine slows, leading to a more concentrated level of it in your bloodstream.
- Blood Flow to the Placenta
Caffeine reaches the baby through the placenta. Because the baby’s metabolism is under-developed, it cannot fully process the caffeine thereby increasing the level of stress hormones. High amounts of caffeine can reduce the blood flow to the placenta, which restricts the amount of oxygen and nutrients that reach your baby.
or Quitting your Caffeine habit
If you need to cut down or
completely eliminate your caffeine intake, you taste buds may do the work for
you. During the first trimester, most pregnant women suffer from nausea which
changes their sense of taste. The yearning for that morning cup of coffee may
vanish on its own.
If you need to reduce or
quit your caffeine intake, you can try the following
- Switch to decaffeinated products. Decaffeinated coffee tastes almost like normal coffee and your body may get fooled into thinking you're getting a caffeine hit! You could also try decaffeinated teas and sodas.
- Switch from brewed to instant coffee as it contains a lower amount of caffeine.
- Make your coffee weaker by using only half a teaspoon of coffee.
- Brew you coffee for a shorter time.
- If you are a tea drinker, steep your teabag for just a minute instead of five minutes to decrease the caffeine content by almost half.
For habitual coffee or tea
drinkers, quitting caffeine is difficult. They may experience caffeine
withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, and weakness. They
are therefore advised to cut back on the caffeine gradually; by reducing half a
cup or teaspoon each day until they reach the recommended and desired intake