When a woman becomes pregnant, she has to undergo a variety of lifestyle changes at least for the next 9 months in order to safeguard the good health of her as well as her baby’s. Right from cutting down on large amounts of junk food to completely giving up on alcohol, being pregnant demands a lot from us mothers. A lot of questions begin popping in our minds concerning what effect it will have on our baby’s health, driving us crazy in the process. When I found out that I was pregnant for the first time, I used to be concerned about each and everything I used to eat, drink or even the air I inhaled. I was a heavy coffee drinker before which has helped me a lot during my time at the business school to keep up with the long hours. But when my husband told me that I have to give up on my favorite morning cup of freshly brewed coffee, I was devastated! I mean I had given up all my other habits and did a complete makeover of my life, but coffee too??!! Please NO!
I brought up the question to my doctor during my regular check up. He advised that drinking coffee is not good for the baby. But still I wanted to know more so I researched it online. I went through tons of studies conducted on this topic to find out the truth. The issue is the more I read, the more I got confused. There are conflicting studies to this regard. I brought up this with my doctor during my regular check up. She explained to me why coffee is considered bad during pregnancy.
Why is coffee bad during pregnancy?
Actually the real culprit here is caffeine present in coffee. Caffeine is present in many other products that we consume every day like tea and soda. But the amount of caffeine present is coffee is much higher than others. When caffeine enters the bloodstream of pregnant women, it enters the placenta and goes to the baby. Caffeine is known to increase blood pressure and also restricts blood flow to the growing baby through the placenta. As you know, the nutrients to the baby from the mother is carried by the blood thus by restricting the blood flow caffeine restricts proper nutrition to the growing baby. Research done on mice and cows have shown that the babies of the mice and cows to whom caffeine was given had low birth weight. Also having high amounts of caffeine during the first trimester increases the chances of miscarriage considerably. Caffeine is also known to affect long-term functioning of the heart.
So, should one totally cut down on caffeine?
The studies on these topics have suggested that daily amount of caffeine from all sources should not exceed 200mg. This is equivalent to having 2 small cups of instant coffee in a day. If one adheres to this limit, then she need not worry about the side effects of caffeine on the baby.
I was quite relieved to know this at the time. So gradually I cut my daily cups of coffee to 2 per day. After some time, I switched to Decaf and it worked wonders for me as it contains only traces of caffeine. This way I could have more coffee without any worry!