As a first-time expecting mum you must have apprehensions about the dos and don’ts during pregnancy. Many of which might revolve around safe food consumption. In fact, one of the most commonly searched question during pregnancy is: Is caffeine consumption during pregnancy safe? If you have also been Googling this, well your search comes to an end.
While it is a debatable topic and much research has been done on it, the fact is that the scale of caffeine consumption during pregnancy dwindles between ‘yes and no’ depending upon its volume. Because while it can be refreshing to drink a cuppa everyday in moderation, it can also potentially harm your baby’s health. As a new study recently uncovered.
Researchers found that pregnant women who consumed half a cup of caffeine every day had smaller babies than those who did not consume caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy Can Lead To Reduced Size In Babies
The research found that mothers who consumed 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, which is around two cups of coffee, reported a reduction in size and lean body mass of the infants.
- Women who didn’t consume caffeine: The study found that infants who were born to women with no or minimal blood levels of caffeine were 84 grams heavier at birth and were 0.44 centimetres longer. Their head circumference was also 0.28 centimetres bigger.
- Women who consumed: Pregnant women who consumed 50 milligrams of caffeine a day had babies 66 grams lighter than infants born to non-caffeine consuming mothers. Plus, the infants born to caffeine consumers had 0.32 centimetres less thigh circumference.
The study, therefore, suggested that caffeine consumption during pregnancy needs to be considerably reduced. This, especially because smaller birth size can pose a great risk to the foetus. The infant also stands at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease later in life.
As part of the study, the team analysed over 2,000 racially and ethnically diverse women from 12 clinics who were enrolled from 8 to 13 weeks of pregnancy. The blood sample collected during week 10-13 of the pregnant women was later analysed for caffeine and paraxanthine, a compound that is produced when the caffeine is broken down by the body.
So what is the safe limit of caffeine consumption?
How Many Cups Of Coffee Is Considered Safe During Pregnancy?
Caffeine intake (Photo courtesy: istock)
While caffeine has many potential benefits, there’s concern that it may be harmful when consumed during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends limiting your caffeine intake to 200 mg or less if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
This is equivalent to about 1 to 2 cups (240–580 ml) of coffee or about 2 to 4 cups (240–960 ml) of brewed tea per day.
While, this is the recommended limit, always consult your gynaecologist on the acceptable caffeine limit. Remember that every pregnancy is different. For instance, while your pregnant friend may be allowed one cup of coffee daily, but your doctor may have asked you to stop the caffeine intake immediately.
But if you’re in a coffee hangover, it may be a good idea to give other refreshing beverages a chance. You need to keep yourself hydrated to decrease constipation, reduce urinary tract infection. Other than keeping you cool, good fluids also decrease the risk of preterm labour and preterm birth. So which drinks should you consume during pregnancy? Let’s find out.
Top 5 Safe Beverage Options During Pregnancy
This is the most essential fluid which you need to intake when you are pregnant (Photo courtesy: Pixabay)
This is a no-brainer! Increase your intake your water to a minimum of 8-12 glasses of water a day or 2.3 litres. When you’re pregnant, you need more water than the average person in order to form amniotic fluid, produce extra blood, build new tissue, carry nutrients, enhance digestion, and flush out wastes and toxins. If your trips to the bathroom are frequent and your urine is pale or colourless, your water drinking is on track.
2. Coconut water
There are several benefits of consuming coconut water during pregnancy and makes for a healthy alternative to caffeinated drinks during pregnancy.
It boosts your immunity, fights against dehydration, treats heartburn and constipation, detoxifies the body, revitalises the electrolytes, and replenishes the lost fluids. Plus, its natural vitamins and minerals also make the drink suitable and nourishing during pregnancy.
3. Orange juice
Freshly squeezed orange juice is a fantastic fresh alternative to coffee. It is fortified with calcium and potassium is especially effective in lowering high blood pressure. It also has hefty doses of vitamin C, and folate, both of which are crucial for the growth and development of your foetus.
It is always advisable to make your orange juice at home so as to avoid any risk of contamination or infection.
4. Carrot juice
Carrot juice is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, and vitamin A. (Photo courtesy: Pixabay)
Carrot juice is extremely healthy as it is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that help in better cell production. It is also rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, folate, and vitamin A. All of these are necessary for the growth and development of your child.
The calcium in it helps the foetus in developing a strong set of bones and cartilage. The folate in it prevents birth defects. In fact, it is also extremely beneficial for mothers post-delivery as well.
Lemon water is a must-have for pregnant women. It can come in really handy during the crucial first trimester. It is a proven and effective cure to nausea and morning sickness. Plain lemon water, lemon-basil water or lemon juice to your salad can not only boost its flavour, but will also benefit your health.
Lemons are packed with many essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help support maternal health and baby’s development. So go ahead, squeeze it, or add that zest!
While, all the above drinks are completely safe, it is advisable to drink everything in moderation. And as always, consult your doctor before charting your own diet plan.
News Source: Times of India, Healthline
Pregnancy And Caffeine
Pregnant Mums Can Consume Caffeine But Within Limits, Experts Say