Rise in Heart Rate and Blood Pressure:
Caffeine is a psychoactive drug that stimulates the body’s central nervous system when ingested in moderate-to-high quantities. Usually found in coffee, soda, tea and carbonated energy drinks, it is the most consumed stimulant available legally without any regulatory restrictions. It is a favorite among all age groups, right from students guzzling down energy drinks before an exam to a middle-aged businessman trying to adhere to his senses during work. Though it might be safe for them, women consuming caffeine while pregnant remain a hot subject for medical analysis till date.
Caffeine reacts with receptors in the body that are sensitive to endosine, a neurotransmitter responsible for the drowsiness and alters its effects on the human brain. This results in a higher pulse-rate and anxiety, both of which are debatably not healthy for the fetus. Mixing of caffeine with the bloodstream might also increase levels of magnesium and calcium and cause mutations in your cellular structure, causing a rise in blood pressure. Your unborn child’s heart is very fragile during pregnancy and increase in pressure might hinder its development.
Caffeine acts as a diuretic agent. Excess consumption of coffee might mean extra trips to the loo for you at night. When ingested in the blood, a surplus of caffeine can fluctuate levels of vital minerals like magnesium in your body. This leads to their frequent disposal through urine, leaving you dehydrated. Lack of sufficient fluids in your body and the fetus might alter the tenets of pregnancy negatively.
Child’s Weak Metabolism:
Studies on what are safe levels of caffeine during pregnancy for women have since long between split in their conclusions. While most doctors believe that an intake of anything up to 150mg is safe, there have been conflicting reports suggesting that that level could be piped up to 300mg without any issues. When you consume caffeine, it passes through the placenta into your womb. While it is rather easy for the mother’s liver to process this stimulant and expel any remains, the fetus, finds it very difficult to metabolize any caffeine because of its under-developed immunity. A daily consumption of above average caffeine might harm your baby in its prenatal state.
Many experts believe that it is imperative for you to maintain safe levels in pregnancy. 8 ounces of slow-brewed coffee contain almost 137mg of caffeine, which is ominously close to the 150mg mark considered to be safe levels while being pregnant. Although studies and experiments on pregnant animals and humans haven’t conclusively stated, any confirmed ill-effects of drinking coffee, miscarriage has been widely observed in pregnant women consuming more than 300mg of caffeine daily for 6 weeks before labor.
Insights in research about how caffeine affects an unborn baby indicate that fetuses exposed to higher levels of caffeine had developed physical abnormalities and were smaller in size after birth, in most cases. Babies that were subjected to regular, high levels of caffeine during gestation were believed more likely to develop defects like cleft palate. Decreased amounts of iron and calcium in your body can also affect the health of your child.
Lack of Healthy Food:
It has also been observed that babies of mothers who consume more than the safe level of caffeine during pregnancy tend to be born with a lower-than-normal weight. Coffee stimulates the sensory glands and enhances neural activity for a short period of time. It is favored by people from around the world because of its nature that helps boost energy in the human body. However, you will not feel the need to resort to external stimulants if you maintain a healthy, wholesome diet that provides you and your baby with the right quantity of nutrients.
This may not apply to you as a future mother, but research suggests that excess consumption of caffeine may lead to hormonal imbalance in the body. It might also cause preterm labor or preterm birth of your baby. Studies have shown that women who drink more than 4 mugs of coffee per day during pregnancy are likely to suffer from infertility. So if you’re already a mother, but are planning to bring a second baby in this world, it would definitely be in your best interests to compromise on your caffeine intake.
Caffeine acts a stimulating agent which basically implies lack of sleep if consumed late during the night. Just as the human body requires a minimum of 7 hours of sleep to recover from fatigue, your baby being a part of your body, develops much efficiently if you have slipped in some comfortable time of shut-eye. Caffeine causes insomnia and coupled with its diuretic nature, it practically means 3-4 night trips to the lavatory which might heavily disturb your entire sleep cycle.
One of the most common side effects of excess caffeine intake is indigestion. Coffee increases the amount of stomach acid produced in the system which can cause belching, heartburn and irritability. It is particularly significant in the case of pregnant women because your body essentially caters to you and your baby. The fluids you absorb and the food you ingest is responsible for your and your baby’s nourishment. Apart from abdominal cramps due to pregnancy, any other form of irregular body functions engenders a high risk of harm to you and your child’s health.
Deteriorated Quality of Breast Milk:
Studies have shown that caffeine consumed by you is generally present as only a meager 1% in your breast milk. Albiet this might not seem unhealthy, your new-born child’s metabolic activity is not developed enough during the gestation to process and excrete this caffeine. However, doctors are of the opinion that it is safe to drink coffee while breastfeeding. Instances have indicated that babies tend to become cranky and face difficulty in sleeping. If you happen to notice this as well, it would be better if you could cut down on your caffeine intake or spread the ingestion evenly over the course of the day. Caffeine levels in breast milk are experimentally found to peak within 60 minutes of consumption. Spacing out your coffee sessions to counter these numbers is a conciliatory solution for you and your dear newborn.