Caffeine is a natural stimulant that boosts your energy levels and makes you more active. It is common in coffee and tea, two most favorite beverages of the world. Both these drinks are famous for providing zealous energy and alertness its consumer.
Caffeine is generally considered safe for human consumption and there are no as such side effects of it. But the health experts advice to limit its intake during pregnancy. If you have questions on whether or not caffeine is safe to use during pregnancy, this article is for you.
How to know if caffeine is safe?
Caffeinated drinks are a hot favorite of many people and it improves their focus and energy levels. Sometimes it also helps in minor pains. Not to forget, caffeinated drinks also offer a number of health benefits i.e. weight loss.
However, it is possible for caffeine to bring undesirable effects to your body. Some of them may be a risk factor during pregnancy. It means a daily caffeine limit should be set for a pregnant woman.
Benefits of caffeine
The most popular benefit of caffeine is energy elevation and improving cognitive functions. But there are more things that they can do for you.
There is research that shows that caffeine stimulates the brain, which helps you to be alert even if you are drowsy. This is the reason why many people take strong coffee or tea to overcome sleepiness.
Additionally, caffeine is also helpful to treat headaches when you combine them with over the counter pain relief medicines. The individual effect of the caffeine is slow but it improves the function of painkillers.
Caffeinated tea is a rich source of antioxidants, which potentially help the body against free radical damage, inflammation and many health problems. The amount of these antioxidants may vary in different varieties of tea.
Health risks of caffeine
Caffeine has so many health benefits but when it comes to side effects, it is natural that excessive use of anything will cause an undesirable effect. The risk is higher for pregnant women because their body is undergoing developmental changes and is more sensitive than normal adults.
Caffeine metabolism during pregnancy is much slower than normal. It takes almost double time to completely cleanse it from the body. There are also chances for caffeine to cross the placenta and makes its way to the baby’s body. In that case, it may cause health problems for the baby.
As per the American College of Obstetricians Gynecologists (ACOG), moderate use of caffeine doesn’t harm a pregnant mother or the baby. The daily limit as per their statement is less than 200 grams. An intake exceeding 200mg may increase the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery.
On the other side, some other researches tell that even a low intake of caffeine can cause problems to the unborn child. It may result in reduced birth weight in some cases.
However, it needs more research to explain why it happens. The risk of low birth rate, miscarriage, and preterm delivery may be due to high caffeine intake. But how these risks are linked with caffeine is still unknown.
In some people, high caffeine intake may disturb the blood pressure, causing an increase in heartbeat, stress, anxiety, agitation or dizziness.
How much caffeine is safe?
The American College of Obstetricians Gynecologists (ACOG) says that a caffeine dosage below 200 mg is generally safe. It is better to limit your daily intake below 200mg to avoid all potential side effects.
It depends on which type of caffeine products are you using and how much caffeine is present in it. Generally, 1-2 cups of coffee and 2-4 cups of tea are safe per day. The daily limit largely depends upon the source of caffeine.
It is not just caffeine but doctors also advise pregnant women to avoid energy drinks that are loaded with sugar. These energy drinks do not carry any nutritional value and only increase the daily sugar intake.
Some of the herbal teas may also contain unwanted ingredients that are not safe for pregnant women. For example, ginseng, chicory root, fenugreek or licorice are a few ingredients that are not suitable to use during pregnancy.
Take time to research your choice of caffeinated beverage that you plan to use during pregnancy. Following types of herbal teas are safe for the usage of a pregnant woman.
- Ginger tea
- Lemon tea
- Peppermint tea
- Red raspberry tea
However, for the safe side, always limit your daily intake to 1-2 cups. Do not use a herb or herbal tea for remedial purposes during pregnancy. Feel free to consult your doctor before using anything new. Only caffeine free drinks i.e. water, decaf tea, decaf coffees are safe choices in pregnancy.
How much caffeine is there in tea and coffee?
All caffeinated drinks don’t have the same amount of caffeine in them. The amount of caffeine varies among soft drinks, teas, energy drinks, and iced drinks.
Some of the foods also have caffeine in them. For example, chocolate has caffeine in it and dark chocolate has a high amount of caffeine than other types of chocolates.
You may not know this but many medicines such as painkillers may also contain caffeine in them. The manufacturers add it to supplements that boost energy, lose weight and pre-workout supplements. Make sure to check the caffeine content of such supplements if you are on a limited caffeine plan.
The final word
Caffeine is a natural stimulant present inside tea and coffee. It is consumed worldwide for various health benefits such as boost energy, improve focus and relieves pain. Despite all these benefits, caffeine may have some undesirable effects on pregnant women.
Therefore the daily recommendation for caffeine is set to 200mg during pregnancy. Experts believe that it is better to follow a limit for caffeine that is present in energy drinks and some food sources. Do not take caffeine pills when pregnant. Also, do not combine high caffeine drinks or pills with prescription drugs. For more details and questions, fix an appointment with your nearest healthcare professional.