For many coffee aficionados, coffee can serve as a magical tonic that sparks the brain into motion from the get go. And while a caffeinated beverage may feature multiple times on your daily recharge menu, you may want to consider going easy on the caffeine during the course of your pregnancy. The underlying caffeine in your coffee, energy drink or tea can work as an unsuspecting stimulant, and excessive caffeine is known to present certain risks to pregnant women.
The Effects of Caffeine on Pregnancy
There is evidence to suggest that large amounts of caffeine can lead to birth defects, premature labour, compromised fertility and low birth weight. In addition to these risks, caffeine in large doses can also work as a stimulant and a diuretic, boosting blood pressure and heart rate, of which both conditions are considered dangerous for a pregnancy. It can also result in frequent urination, potentially leading to dehydration. However, perhaps the riskiest effect of inordinate caffeine during pregnancy is its ability to permeate the placenta, crossing over to your baby’s bloodstream. This can be detrimental to your baby’s developing metabolism, affecting her sleep cycle and motion and movement in later trimesters.
Limiting Your Caffeine Intake
If you open your kitchen cabinets, you’ll find more caffeine in the items on your shelves than you’d think otherwise. Aside from coffee, caffeine exists in cola, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and even certain headache-curing medications. A good rule of thumb to keep your caffeine intake in check is to restrict your caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams per day; that’s about one mid-sized mug of coffee. If you’ve been a lifeline caffeine connoisseur, weaning yourself off those regular doses of caffeine may prove challenging at first. Caffeine withdrawal symptoms may include headaches, nausea and lethargy. Begin by lowering your intake gradually. Blend decaf decoctions into your coffee or tea, gently scaling down the proportion of caffeine as the days go by. Perhaps you could use more milk or water than coffee or tea, or brew your beverage for smaller windows to limit the amount of caffeine being released. A tea bag that rests for one minute releases half the caffeine as one that rests for five. Pick herbal teas that contain little or no caffeine; they serve as perfect pick-me-ups on grey-weather days and as soothing liveners on others.
Set your morning menu to nine months of decaf; you won’t have seen a sweeter reward.
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