Are you contemplating whether or not to give up your caffeine addiction during pregnancy? Find out the truth about drinking coffee while pregnant.
Effects of drinking coffee while pregnant have always been debated amongst medical practitioners. Pregnant women in general are advised against caffeine consumption for the possible risks to the fetus. However, there is no clear medical evidence regarding how coffee could be detrimental to the fetus. Nonetheless, a few clinical surveys have successfully established a link between excessive coffee consumption and developmental issues in babies.
Risks of Drinking Coffee While Pregnant
Although, one cannot ascertain the fact that coffee causes developmental disorders in the fetus, some surveys sure point to this possibility. The reason why caffeine can be harmful to the baby is that caffeine molecules can easily cross the placenta and enter the baby’s bloodstream. However, one must note that the possible hazards of caffeine are evident only if you exceed the daily recommended consumption, which is about three 12 ounce cups. The abnormalities were only found amongst women who drank too much coffee, sometimes about 8 to 12 cups a day. Given below are some of the consequences of drinking too much coffee during pregnancy.
Women who exceed the recommended limit for caffeine intake are twice as much likely to give birth to stillborn babies. Caffeine molecules can seriously interfere with the nutrition which a baby receives through the placenta.
This is the most common and widely known effect of caffeine in pregnancy. Even women who are trying to conceive are discouraged from drinking caffeine for the fear of a very early miscarriage. A very early miscarriage is often likely to go unnoticed. Thus a woman may think she is failing to conceive even though there was an onset of pregnancy.
Undescended Testes in Male fetuses
Normally, testes descend from the pelvis into the scrotum during the last trimester. However, it was found that women carrying male fetuses were likely to give birth to sons with this condition if they drank too much coffee during pregnancy.
Newborns usually spend most of their time sleeping during the first few weeks of their lives. However, if the mother consumed any more than 500 mg of caffeine during her pregnancy, then such a baby is likely to spend long hours awake after her birth. As sleep is of prime importance to babies during this stage of development, insomnia may lead to many developmental issues in such babies.
Faster Heart Rate
When you drink coffee, the caffeine crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s body. The baby’s tiny liver then slowly metabolizes caffeine. As a result, when such babies are born, they have an abnormally faster heartbeat. Besides, labored breathing has also been observed in some cases.
Women who consumed more coffee are also prone to give birth to babies with developmental issues or deformities.
However, one must understand that there is no way of knowing if the surveys took into account other lifestyle traits of pregnant women. For instance, women who drink alcohol or smoke heavily are likely to have more pregnancy and childbirth issues, irrespective of their caffeine consumption. On the other hand, women who follow a healthy lifestyle otherwise can get away with 3 to 4 cups of coffee without causing any problems to their babies. If you cannot give up your addiction, you can switch to decaffeinated coffee which has the same taste because decaffeinated coffee in pregnancy is considered to be safe.
In short, one can say that if you stick within the daily limit of 3 cups a day, you can indeed go on drinking coffee throughout your pregnancy. However, if you already drink too much of coffee, it is imperative that you cut down your intake up to the desired limit.