Coffee lovers continue to have their daily dose of caffeine during pregnancy, and need it more than ever perhaps. What with all the hormones playing havoc with your mind and body!
Undoubtedly, caffeine is the most commonly used stimulant in general population. Found in tea, coffee, cocoa products, energy drinks and soft drinks, even some pain-relieving medicines contain small amounts of this wonderful compound.
Since it is found in so many common substances, it is difficult to completely avoid ingesting caffeine. However, if you are pregnant, you need to be a little careful about the amount you consume.
How much caffeine is present in common foods and drinks?
The amount of caffeine varies greatly from preparation to preparation, but the average value of caffeine in common food items and drinks is as follows:
- Instant coffee (one mug): 100 mg
- Filter coffee (one mug): 150 mg
- Tea (one mug): 75 mg
- Chocolate drink (one mug): 25 mg
- Cola (one can): 40 mg
- Energy drink (one can): 100 mg
What happens if you drink caffeine while pregnant?
When you consume coffee, tea or other caffeine-containing items during pregnancy, the caffeine present in the beverage can cross the placenta and reach your baby. The caffeine present in your blood is usually used up, and cleared off quickly. But the amount present in your baby’s blood takes relatively longer to clear. This is because the organs of the baby are still immature and not completely functioning. Thus, the longer the caffeine remains your baby’s blood, the longer you can see caffeine’s effects. This also increases the chances of serious side effects of caffeine if it occurs on a daily basis. Thus, the stimulant effect of caffeine can even be felt in the baby inside your womb.
The effects of caffeine on baby includes:
- Changes in the sleep pattern
- Increase in the heart rate
- Birth defects
- Low birth weight
Apart from negatively affecting your baby, caffeine intake during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm labour and delivery. Thus, limiting caffeine intake while pregnant reduces the chances of injury to your baby.
How much caffeine is allowed during pregnancy?
As caffeine is associated with birth defects or preterm deliveries, the lesser you consume the better it is, with total avoidance being the best. Yet, several studies suggest that these defects or issues occur in women who regularly consume above 300 mg of caffeine per day. Thus, taking < 300 or about 200 mg per day would be allowable caffeine, during pregnancy.
Thus, depending on the caffeine content in various items, adjusting the amount you consume can do the job for you. For example, a single mug of coffee and that of tea in the entire day will not cause undue harm as the caffeine content will sum up to 175 mg. Similarly, one mug of instant coffee and a single can of energy drink in a day will constitute an intake of approximately 200 mg of caffeine. Keeping in mind these finer points can help you get your caffeine fix, without harming your baby.
Disclaimer: The information in the article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor.