Can We Drink Coffee During Pregnancy? Look This Potential Risk
Those who rely on at least a cup of coffee (or maybe two) to fire up their day may be afraid of the thought of cutting it out when they’re pregnant. So, can we drink coffee during pregnancy? Or is it actually safe to drink coffee in pregnancy second trimester?
Find out the answer in this article, whether consuming coffee during pregnancy is okay, and if so, how much it is said to be safe for pregnant women.
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How Much Is Caffeine Safe for Pregnant Women?
To answer the question of can we drink coffee during pregnancy?, let’s check some health guidelines or studies regarding that matter. Based on guidelines of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and several studies released to the public regarding coffee consumption during pregnancy, experts said that consuming less than 200 mg of caffeine a day (about 2 cups of coffee) is safe for pregnant women.
Furthermore, several studies have found that excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy can affect the growth and development of the fetus. However, it should be noted that caffeine is not only found in coffee. So, make sure you also pay attention to the consumption of other caffeinated foods or beverages during pregnancy.
Can Caffeine Have Effects on Mother and Baby?
Then, can caffeine consumption affect the health of a mother and her unborn baby? The good news is a study released in JAMA Network Open found that consumption of caffeine in low amounts can actually reduce the risk of gestational diabetes in pregnant women. However, that’s certainly not the final result regarding caffeine consumption in pregnant women.
Based on another study published by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the researchers found that women who drink half a cup of caffeine per day had slightly smaller babies than ones who didn’t do so. In this case, smaller birth sizes can increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes in the infant’s later life.
Is It Beneficial to Drink Coffee During Pregnancy?
However, if you ask whether consuming caffeine, especially coffee, can provide benefits for pregnancy, several studies say so. Some experts found that consuming low-to-moderate amounts of caffeine during the second trimester may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes in pregnant women.
As reported by the official ACOG website, the researchers also didn’t find caffeine consumption below 200 mg per day triggers preterm birth or pregnancy loss. But still, it should be noted that a final conclusion cannot be made at this time whether caffeine consumption is really needed during pregnancy or it really doesn’t need to be consumed at all.
How to Reduce Caffeine During Pregnancy?
Drink Decaffeinated Coffee
As a pregnant coffee lover, you may struggle to eliminate coffee from your daily life. Therefore, you can try decaf coffee, a popular alternative to still enjoy coffee with a lower caffeine content. Although not completely caffeine-free, 97% of the caffeine content in decaf is removed from the beans during the manufacturing process.
For example, a freshly brewed cup of decaf only contains about 2.4 mg of caffeine. However, if you are still concerned about your pregnancy, try mixing your regular coffee with decaf to ensure you drink less caffeine. Another point to note is that you must double-check the caffeine content in your decaf coffee. That’s because some commercial decaffeinated coffee is shown to contain higher caffeine amounts. For example, a study found that commercial decaf coffee has 14 mg of caffeine per 475 ml serving.
Effects of Consuming Caffeine when Pregnant
The bottom line is it’s still fine to consume a little bit of caffeine if you need it during pregnancy. However, there’s nothing wrong with waiting until your baby is born to re-consume your favorite coffee. This is because the effects of caffeine on the body may not be something pleasant to experience during pregnancy.
Caffeine is known as a diuretic and stimulant. As a stimulant, caffeine can increase blood pressure and heart rate, so it is not recommended during pregnancy. Then, as a diuretic, caffeine can boost urination frequency; of course, it’s not a pleasant thing to experience because you will run to the restroom more often with your big baby bump.
Another effect of consuming caffeine that needs to be considered is that it can cross the baby’s placenta. Even though the mother may be able to handle the caffeine content that enters her body, the unborn baby doesn’t have enzymes that can metabolize caffeine. As a result, any amount of caffeine can still affect your baby’s sleep or normal movement pattern in the later phases of pregnancy. Also, always remember that caffeine is a stimulant, so it can make you and your unborn child awake.
Hopefully, this article can help you answer the question, “can we drink coffee during pregnancy?”. Reducing caffeine consumption as much as possible would be the safest action to do while pregnant. However, if you feel that you must get your fix, go and discuss this matter with your healthcare provider to find the healthiest solution for you and your unborn child.