December 21, 2010

How Much Caffeine is Safe During Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Caffeine is a stimulating substance that is found in tea, coffee, cola, chocolates and a few other foods and drinks. Caffeine has, for many years, been linked with alertness and mental stimulation. Caffeine laced drinks are often used by individuals who wish to stay awake for extended periods of time. Similarly, caffeine is also used in the mornings to increase alertness and to aid with the process of waking up. Individuals who consume caffeine may do so regularly without many noticeable side effects. Generally, the consumption of up to three cups of tea or coffee per day should not cause any problems. Individuals who are addicted to caffeine may consume more than this quantity and this is where the problems begin. Excess caffeine consumption can cause nervousness, anxiety, stress, irritability and general excess consciousness. Furthermore, individuals may require more and more caffeine over a period of time to achieve the same amount of stimulation. Caffeine addiction leads to withdrawal symptoms including headaches when the individual is unable to consume caffeine for whatever reason. The excessive consumption of caffeine filled drinks is considered to be unhealthy. However, this is mostly because of other substances in these drinks that may be harmful.

There is a considerable amount of debate over the how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy. Pregnant women should maintain good health through their term as this helps to avoid any complications with the development of the baby. Other ‘vices’ such as smoking and alcohol are not recommended while a woman is pregnant. This raises doubts about the consumption of caffeine during pregnancy. While the smoking and alcohol consumption should be strictly avoided, the consumption of caffeine during pregnancy may not have a detrimental effect on the child. It is, however, very important to regulate the intake of caffeine during pregnancy. Caffeine intake during pregnancy should be regulated because, as is the case with most foods and drinks, the body is capable of effectively dealing with moderate amounts of this substance. Excessive caffeine intake during pregnancy will cause the mother to be nervous and twitchy. Excessive caffeine intake also alters the chemical balance of the mother’s body and this can have serious effects on the baby. There are many studies that suggest that an excessive intake of caffeine during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage to occur. In any case, there is no reason for women to take the risk of consuming too much coffee during pregnancy.

The other side of the debate when one considers caffeine and pregnancy is that of withdrawal symptoms. Many women are used to consuming coffee or caffeine drinks at least twice a day. The removal of this substance from their diet completely will cause withdrawal symptoms. Pregnancy, particularly early pregnancy, causes a lot of upheaval in the woman’s body. This could result in nausea and many other symptoms. It is therefore best not to add caffeine withdrawals to this list of problems. Women should therefore only moderate their caffeine intake during the 1st trimester of pregnancy. This consumption may be slightly reduced as time goes by so that the woman avoids too much caffeine and also avoids the problems associated with substance withdrawal. Therefore the second trimester and the third trimester would require that the amount of caffeine be significantly reduced. It is important for the woman to be healthy and comfortable during her pregnancy. The withdrawal symptoms may not directly affect the fetus. However, the mother may feel unwell and may therefore not be able to consume the right food to nourish herself and the baby during periods of extreme withdrawal symptoms. This can cause problems with her pregnancy. It is therefore best to moderate, but not eliminate, caffeine during pregnancy.