Is Caffeine Intake Harmful During Pregnancy

You are truly filled with joy and happiness when you confirm that you are pregnant. It is a special beautiful feeling and you surely want to minimize the risk of any kind of complications during your pregnancy. After 10 months of carrying the fetus you surely want to have a normal healthy baby.

To make sure that all goes well you must avoid certain foods or restrict their intake. Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamine as well as methadone are all harmful to your fetus or your newborn baby.

Many of us are addicted to caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, soft drinks, colas and tend to drink at regular intervals. A number of over the counter drugs include caffeine along with other agent. Chocolates also have a small amount of caffeine. But is caffeine really harmful? Studies have shown that people consuming heavy caffeine quantity during pregnancy have had babies with birth defect, fetal growth retardation, miscarriages as well as poor child development in preschool years.

But one cannot say that this was purely due to caffeine several mothers consumed large amounts of alcohol and tobacco. Several cases of heartbeat irregularities in the fetus and newborn have been solved once the mother stopped caffeine intake. Caffeine is known to increase calcium excretion and reduces the amount available for you and your baby. It is important to note that pregnant women eliminate caffeine from their body more slowly than non pregnant women. Hence the effects definitely last longer on the mother and the baby.

One must also knows that caffeine causes an increased production of stress hormones epinephrine and nor epinephrine. These hormones are known to constrict blood vessels as well as those in the uterus and cause a temporary decrease in the amount of oxygen and other nutrients available to the fetus.

Caffeine crosses the placenta and enters the bloodstream of the fetus. It takes a longer time to clear it from the baby than from an adult. Hence it is  only wise to reduce or avoid caffeine intake during pregnancy as the effects are surely undesirable if not highly harmful.



Esther Gideon

estherflorence

The author is a postgraduate in business management and is a mother of a four year old and an eight month old.