Can pregnant women drink coffee?
You don’t have to completely give up your caffeine habit when you’re expecting a baby. It’s true that in the past pregnant women were advised to completely avoid coffee and other forms of caffeine, but experts now believe that low to moderate amounts are fine, provided you take a few precautions.
How will caffeine affect my baby during my pregnancy?
It’s a bit blurry. Experts know that caffeine can cross the placenta, and some studies link very high caffeine intake to an increased risk of pregnancy loss and lower birth weight.
But beyond that, research on the effects has been inconclusive, which is why experts recommend sticking to 200 milligrams or less.
How does caffeine affect me during my pregnancy?
You may find that caffeine has no effect on you. However, you may react differently to caffeine once you are pregnant.
Coffee, in particular, can act as a laxative, so if you find yourself running to the bathroom already, you can put coffee on the list of drinks to avoid until your baby arrives.
And whereas you used to be able to swallow three cups of coffee a day without a problem, now you may find that even a small cup makes your heartburn worse or gives you tremors. Some women also find that the taste changes during pregnancy.
A caveat is in order: It’s possible that too much caffeine during pregnancy can impact your body’s ability to absorb iron, which can increase your risk of iron deficiency or anemia. If you already suffer from low iron levels, it is best to eliminate caffeine completely during pregnancy.
Are there any benefits of consuming caffeine during pregnancy?
In general, moderate amounts of caffeine have been shown to improve energy and alertness, and can also give you a boost after a night of spinning around in circles.
According to a recent study, low to moderate caffeine consumption during the second trimester may even reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. That said, there is no conclusive evidence for the benefits of caffeine during pregnancy.
In conclusion ? You can consume a little caffeine if you need it, as long as you watch the amount you consume. But if you weren’t consuming caffeine before, there’s no reason to start doing it once you’re pregnant.
Tips for reducing caffeine intake during pregnancy.
Since it’s always best to err on the side of caution when you’re pregnant, consider reducing your caffeine intake to one or two (small) cups a day, at most. If that sounds difficult, here are some tips to make it easier for you:
Figure out what you like most about your caffeine fix.
Does the taste of coffee appeal to you? It’s easy: choose a quality decaffeinated coffee and enjoy its taste without the caffeine (even espresso is decaffeinated).
Can’t fizz without fizzy sodas? Instead, opt for sparkling water, sparkling juices or sparkling sodas without caffeine, but in moderation if they are full of sugar or artificially sweetened.
Are you addicted to the energizing effect of caffeine? Get a healthier energy boost by snacking on complex carbohydrates and protein (like cheese and crackers or dried fruit and nuts). By exercising regularly (even a 10-minute walk will give your energy levels a boost) and by getting enough sleep (but not too much, which can actually make you more tired).
Know where she is hiding.
Obviously, it is in the cafe au lait. And the frozen Americano. And even in the English breakfast. But did you know that caffeine is hidden in many sodas, energy drinks, yogurts and chocolate or coffee ice creams (in smaller quantities)? When counting caffeine through your day, be sure to consider all of its sources.
If you go from six cups to zero in a day, your system will be in shock and you’ll be exhausted, cranky and suffering from headaches (the last thing you need besides pregnancy fatigue). So ditch your cold turkey plans and opt for a gradual approach instead.
Start by cutting back by one cup a day until you hit the two small cups a day mark (or continue if you want to do without it altogether).
If that seems too quick, keep the same number of cups, but replace half of each cup with decaf (you can keep the other half regular). Then you slowly wean yourself off the taste and heat of real coffee by reducing the amount of regular coffee and increasing the amount of decaffeinated coffee. Before you know it, your cups will be much lighter in caffeine and within the appropriate limits for pregnancy.