Pregnancy can be a time of joy and anticipation. It can also be a time of tiredness and back aches. You may want to turn to your favorite stimulant to give you a pep in your step to get through the day.
Caffeine can be a lifesaver for many people. As an expecting parent, a cup of coffee or two can make the difference between a good or bad day. Coffee addicts will also want to fulfill their caffeine cravings.
While not inherently bad for you, caffeine is something to be a little wary about. It increases energy and alertness, allowing you to get through your day. However, how does this consumption affect your growing baby? It is well-known that caffeine is a stimulant that combats drowsiness and keeps you alert. Its status as a drug can be concerning for future parents. Should you continue to get your caffeine fix or is it bad for your baby?
Caffeine affects everybody differently. Since that is the case, the final step before deciding what to do about it should be talking to your doctor. Always make sure there is not some underlying factor that may make your caffeine intake riskier.
What is Caffeine?
With caffeine hiding in many different things, it is important to know exactly what it is. It occurs naturally in many species of plants. It also acts as a pesticide for the plants, paralyzing and killing insects that are trying to feed on the plants.
Being in over 60 species, caffeine is also available in many man-made things. From medications to caffeine supplements, the ways of getting caffeine are abundant. This means having to be careful about what you eat.
Caffeine is present in coffee leaves, tea leaves, kola nuts, cacao beans, and guarana. This is just a window of how prevalent it is. It can be in medications to help with fatigue and tiredness. Pain relievers like Excedrin have caffeine to help stimulate pain relief.
Things like energy drinks and oatmeal have caffeine these days. Even sunflower seeds and marshmallows are having caffeine added to them for its stimulant effect. This means that you have to be extra diligent when removing or limiting caffeine in your diet.
Effects of Caffeine
Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive drug in the world. It is found in many types of food and drink. It is known to help prevent drowsiness by temporarily blocking adenosine and stimulating the autonomic nervous system.
This daily favorite of many affects your body in many ways. Caffeine has been found to reduce the risk of oral cancer, possible suicide, Parkinson’s disease, other types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and more. There are other nutrients in caffeinated food and drink, but only caffeine has been attributed to these positive effects.
Alternatively, caffeine can have negative effects on the body. Along with being a diuretic, it can also cause raise blood sugar levels. Since it is a drug, it is addictive. Caffeine addiction will possibly result in withdrawal symptoms.
Tiredness and headaches are significant symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. These symptoms can last for a few days until your body adjusts. What all of this means is that you should be very careful with your caffeine intake, especially while you are pregnant.
It is also possible to overdose on caffeine. These overdoses cause trouble sleeping or breathing. Dizziness and confusion, along with possible hallucinations, make overdosing a pretty big deal.
Preventing these overdoses is critical, especially for those who ingest significant amounts of caffeine. Even if you are not pregnant, overdosing can be fatal. Being careful with caffeine intake may be difficult, but it is important if you want to be healthy. While caffeine may be beneficial, too much of a good thing can turn out to be bad.
Caffeine and Pregnancy
Caffeine is something that can pass through the placenta. It can raise your baby’s heart rate or disturb sleep patterns. Your tiny baby is not able to metabolize the caffeine completely, either.
You know how now that you are pregnant your bladder is constantly full? Caffeine can make your trips to the bathroom even more frequent. It can cause your body fluid levels to decrease and may lead to dehydration.
This stimulant is also known to raise your heart rate and blood pressure. That is not ideal for pregnancy. Caffeine can help to relieve the stress of pregnancy, but it can also have physical effects.
Relying on caffeine to get through the day is extremely common. There are coffee shops on practically every corner. The availability of it, in many forms, can make it hard to resist.
However, disrupting your sleep patterns and causing insomnia, caffeine is a bittersweet love.
While there has not been much research, studies have shown that too much caffeine may cause a miscarriage. This is only in the case of large amounts of caffeine consumption. Moderate amounts of daily caffeine have not been found to cause you or the baby much harm, if at all.
Caffeine is found in many different products. From medications to chocolate, you may be surprised to find where it is hiding. You should be watching what you eat and drink anyway, so finding options with little or no caffeine should not be difficult.
While it is clear that caffeine can do some awesome things, it should always be used in moderation. Doctors recommend that you have no more than 200 mg of caffeine daily. Most studies point to 200 mg being the ideal number. For some perspective, a regular, filter brewed cup of coffee has about 140mg of caffeine. A can of soda has around 40mg of caffeine.
Keeping this in mind, be sure to keep track of how much caffeine you are taking in. Going over a little will not necessarily hurt. There has not been much research or evidence that slightly more than the recommended amount will hurt, just do not do it often.
Significant amounts of caffeine will affect your pregnancy and your baby. This is why moderate amounts, if any, are recommended. You probably should not start drinking coffee if you do not already.
Caffeine can also disrupt or interfere with medications you are already on. Thyroid and depression medications are primarily known to be incompatible with caffeine. Asking your doctor before adding anything new to your diet is always recommended.
The content of caffeine that is in the food and drinks you ingest is important. You may not even realize that something has caffeine. Here is a short list of caffeine content in some of your favorite things:
- Brewed coffee – 40 to 180 mg per cup
- Instant coffee – 30 to 120 mg per cup
- Decaf coffee – 3 to 5 mg per cup
- Brewed American tea – 20 to 90 mg per cup
- Brewed imported tea – 25 to 110 mg per cup
- Instant tea – 28 mg per cup
- Canned, iced tea – 22 to 36 mg per 12 ounces
- Sodas and soft drinks – 36 to 90 mg per 12 ounces
- Cocoa – 4 mg per cup
- Chocolate milk – 3 to 6 mg per ounce
- Bittersweet chocolate – 25 mg per ounce
As you can see, caffeine is in many things. Even decaffeinated coffee has some caffeine. To completely avoid it would be hard, but it is not impossible. The best thing to do is to be conscientious of what you are putting into your body.
While caffeine can affect pregnancy, it can also be helpful. Keeping your caffeine intake in moderation is the greatest thing you can do for you and your baby. As long as you do that, everything should be okay. Remember to try and keep your intake to no more than 200 mg a day and to check what you take or eat for caffeine content.