The main source of caffeine for most adults is coffee. Caffeine is a natural constituent of some plants and it can be found in many foods, beverages and medicines.
Is caffeine safe during pregnancy? Most experts agree that a small amount of caffeine (1-2 small cups of coffee a day) is completely safe. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about high amount of caffeine. The researches have shown that high consumption of caffeine ( 3 or more big cups of coffee) can cause miscarriage or a risk that a baby will have low weight.
The amount of caffeine varies in different products. The caffeine concentration depends on the strength of the beverages, manufacturing method, the species of tea or coffee, etc. Turkish coffee has the highest amount of coffee, while chocolate doesn’t have that much of it. There are some painkillers with caffeine, also preparations for treating cold and migraine.
Pregnant women are not recommended to take medications that contain caffeine as it can cross placenta and reach the fetus as well. Some studies have shown that caffeine can affect fetal heart rate and breathing. Pregnant women often experience increased sensitivity to caffeine as it tends to stay in the body during pregnancy a little longer than usual.
Studies that attempted to determine the effects of caffeine during pregnancy have shown:
• Small amount of caffeine (less than 300 mg per day) does not increase the risk of miscarriage
• Women that consume lots of caffeine (500 mg per day or more) have a double risk of miscarriage
• Pregnant women that have 4 or more cups of coffee per day often give premature birth or dead babies.
• High caffeine consumption during pregnancy can lead to lower infant weight.
Caffeine consumption while breastfeeding is safe for both mother and baby. However, a small amount of caffeine gets access to breast milk which may make baby a little irritable.