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Made in India Magazine | October 27, 2020

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DO I NEED TO QUIT CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY?

DO I NEED TO QUIT CAFFEINATED BEVERAGES DURING PREGNANCY?
Himanshu Yadav

In order to make sure that your baby is getting all the right nutrients required for development, you might be advised to give up some of your most favourite food items and drinks. This list includes foods like sushi, cold sea-food, soft cheese, alcohol and beverages with some amount of caffeine in it, which unfortunately includes your morning partner, a nice hot cup of coffee. Caffeine is a very common drug, found in a number of seeds, leaves, pods and fruits. Most of us consume caffeine rich foods like coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolates and certain energy drinks on regular basis. But during pregnancy you are strictly advised to avoid these products. So now the big question is, a pregnant woman should give up caffeine rich foods altogether or reducing the amount of intake is an option?

Well, the truth is that you don’t need to give up caffeine completely. If taken in small amounts, caffeine is safe for the mum-to-be and her bub. Interestingly, a majority of pregnant women develop an aversion to caffeinated beverages. But as per Australian guidelines, you can consume up to 200 mg caffeine per day during pregnancy, which means you can have one cup of instant coffee or alternatively two cups of tea in a day.

The Caffeine Effect
Caffeine gives you a boost of energy by influencing the sympathetic nervous system. As the level of energy begins to surge in your body, it is accompanied by surging levels of heart-rate and blood pressure as well, which is something you need to maintain within a healthy range while you are pregnant. Blood pressure tends to increase during pregnancy since your body is juggling with a load of extra work to make sure that your baby is doing fine and if you’ve consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine, the blood pressure will rise to an alarming level, which is not a good sign for you and your baby. Caffeine also decreases the body’s capabilities to absorb iron, which is one of the key ingredients required for the baby’s development.

Negative Impact on Baby’s Health
Another reason why you need to avoid caffeine is because it has the ability to cross placenta in order to reach the system of your growing baby. Once you’ve consumed caffeine, it will reach the baby in about 15-30 minutes and it can stay there for more than 10-12 hours. Caffeine negatively affects the baby’s health as many studies have shown the link between caffeine and lower birth weight. Babies with lower birth weight are at a higher risk of facing both, short term as well as long term health issues.

Keep a Tab on the Numbers
When you’re pregnant, you should be aware of all the various sources of caffeine you might be consuming on daily basis. Besides tea and coffee, keep an eye on other caffeinated products like – cola drinks, chocolates and some newly introduced caffeinated cereals, chips and biscuits. Caffeine levels can vary depending upon which food brand you are consuming and on your body’s ability to remove caffeine from the system.

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