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Caffeine and Pregnancy


Many people love their daily cups of tea or coffee, or love a cool cola.  Does being pregnant mean that you have to give up the caffeine?  Read on to find out more.

What Contains Caffeine?

Caffeine is found in the following:

• coffee
• tea
• cola and other caffeinated soft drinks
• energy drinks
• chocolate
• some over the counter medications, such as cold or headache tablets, or allergy medications

The Effects of Caffeine during Pregnancy

Caffeine does have some effects on the unborn baby.  Too much caffeine can cause the baby to have a lower birth weight than they should.  This lower weight can cause health problems, both when they are born and beyond.  The baby’s birth weight is seen as a benchmark of health, especially when it comes to diabetes and heart disease.

Too much caffeine can also increase the risk of miscarriage.  This may be because the unborn baby finds it hard to metabolise caffeine, and it can also decrease the blood flow to the placenta.  The placenta supplies the unborn baby with the blood and nutrients needed for survival.  It can also increase the risk of premature birth.

Caffeine is a stimulant.  This means that it increases your heart rate and your metabolism, both of which have an effect on the baby.  However, this should not hurt the baby as it is only a brief bout of fetal stress, such as running for a bus.  It is constant stress than can do damage.

Be aware that caffeine is a diuretic and, as such, it increases the rate at which your body loses water and other fluids, and you need these fluids in order to keep the pregnancy healthy.  Caffeine also affects the body’s ability to absorb iron if consumed with a meal or within half an hour of a meal.

How Much Caffeine is recommended?

It is important to note that you do not have to completely cut out the caffeine when you are pregnant but it is a good idea to cut down how much you.  The current recommendations are that pregnant women do not consume more than 200mg of caffeine per day.  This is the equivalent of two cups of coffee, four cups of tea, or five cans of cola.  Of course, you can drink less than this if this makes you more comfortable.


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