Have you wondered why caffeine consumption is such a hot topic for pregnant women? What does research say about your morning cup of coffee?
That cup of joe every morning is what most people look forward to when the alarm goes off and their feet hit the floor. It can be such a hassle to give up caffeine, or even to reduce the intake of it. Yet, that is what most women choose to do during pregnancy. It is widely known that drinking caffeinated beverages while pregnant is not advised and can even be dangerous. Most women, however, don’t actually know why.
Why Is Caffeine Consumption an Issue During Pregnancy?
There are quite a few negative effects that caffeine has on your body and your baby’s during pregnancy. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases your blood pressure and your heart rate. It can disrupt your sleep and baby’s sleep. With too much caffeine, you will notice changes in your baby’s sleep patterns and movements. After all, your baby has a developing metabolism that cannot metabolize the caffeine as well. Caffeine is also a diuretic, meaning that you will be urinating more frequently. This reduces your body’s fluid levels, which can potentially lead to dehydration. When consuming any amount of caffeine, it is important to rehydrate and be extra mindful of your water intake. When consuming caffeine, you are also more prone to experiencing serious pregnancy complications. Studies conducted on animals have shown caffeine to cause birth defects in offspring. Miscarriages have also been linked to daily intake of 200 mg or more of caffeine. It is also possible that excessive amounts of caffeine can cause infertility or delayed conception.
How Much Caffeine is Safe During Pregnancy?
There have been studies to determine how much caffeine is safe for pregnant women, but the conclusions are quite conflicting. The March of Dimes recommends a limit of 200 mg (about 12 oz of caffeine) or fewer per day until further research has been conducted. Unfortunately, researchers are split on the issue of how much caffeine should be recommended during pregnancy. Some researchers believe 150 mg or fewer of caffeine is safe. Others believe that you can consume up to 300 mg daily. It is also important to be aware of other sources of caffeine, since that morning latte isn’t the only source of stimulant. Caffeine is found in places you may not have realized. Chocolate also contains caffeine, as well as certain black teas, green tea, energy drinks and soda. Even some over the counter medications that treat colds, influenza, headaches, menstrual cramps and weight loss may contain caffeine. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely forgo dark chocolate and chai tea lattes. You can still indulge in those things as occasional treats. Inarguably, the best course of action is to greatly reduce or discontinue your caffeine intake.
What Alternatives to Coffee Are Safe to Drink?
Quitting caffeine can prove to be a long and painful process. Many women will experience migraines, fatigue and brain fog. These symptoms usually last for only a few days. Sipping warm and creamy drinks during your caffeine detox can help greatly, especially if you were very fond of a warm beverage to start the day. There are numerous herbal teas to be enjoyed, such as red rooibos, chamomile, ginger and mint tea. These teas even carry beneficial properties. Red rooibos lattes and turmeric lattes (known also as “golden milk”) can satisfy any cafe latte cravings. You can also try nettle tea and dandelion tea. Roasted dandelion tea is naturally decaffeinated and is known for tasting the most similar to coffee.
To potentially avoid pregnancy complications, infertility, birth defects and miscarriage, it is best to completely avoid caffeine. Studies have not proven whether or not it is completely safe for an unborn baby to be exposed to it. Therefore, consider consulting your healthcare provider if you are unsure of how much caffeine you should be consuming. To take the safest route, skip the morning coffee and experiment with different herbal teas and tonics to find your favorite alternative to caffeinated drinks.