Nothing beats a hot cup of coffee in the morning to gear you up for the day. It is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. However, its effects are the most outstanding, especially for pregnant mothers. Nonetheless, there has been an endless debate on whether coffee is bad for pregnancy.
Coffee contains caffeine, a chemical that makes it a stimulant that increases brain activity by causing an adrenaline hormone surge and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. Caffeine is also responsible for frequent urination, which reduces body fluids and may lead to dehydration.
10 Side Effects of Drinking Coffee During Pregnancy
It’d be in bad faith if we say that coffee is completely bad. In fact, when taken in moderation, coffee has many benefits. However, I cannot emphasize enough that the ACOG says you should not take more than 200 mg of coffee in a day (2 cups). With that in mind, here are some of the side effects of drinking coffee during pregnancy:
1. Miscarriage and Preterm Deaths
Coffee is one of the known leading causes of miscarriages. This occurs before 20 weeks of gestation are over. Prolonged use of coffee may lead to preterm birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It is best to keep off coffee until you give birth to minimize the risk of miscarriage and preterm death.
This is characterized by a lack of sleep for the mother and the unborn child. Coffee is known to alter the sleeping pattern of an expectant mother. If taken during the night, then the effects are more as compared to other times.
The effects are also evident to the fetus as they do not rest as is expected rather they kick and cause discomfort to the mother.
3. Reduced Fetal Development
Increased coffee intake reduces the development of the fetus. They do not match the growth of a healthy fetus since there is slow bone development. The fetus does not add weight and is mostly born unweight.
4. Blood Pressure
The hormone produced after consuming coffee is known as adrenaline. It causes a massive rush in blood circulation activities hence causing blood pressure. Blood pressure is one of the leading causes of death in pregnant mothers and may cause the loss of the pregnancy.
5. Increased Pregnancy Complications
Apart from the increase in blood pressure, coffee may also cause an increase in pregnancy complications. Some of the complications associated with coffee intake during pregnancy include an increase in acidity levels, which lead to heartburns and digestion problems that cause bloating in pregnant women.
6. Increased Heart and Nervous Activities
Uncontrolled coffee intake in pregnant women can cause an increase in heart and nervous activities. This means that the heart will be forced to pump more blood than necessary causing the pregnant mother to feel dizzy and experience restlessness episodes.
Besides, the pregnant mother becomes more anxious after drinking coffee, causing her unborn child to suffer distress.
7. Iron Deficiency
Iron deficiency (low iron absorption) is another reason why coffee is not good during pregnancy. It causes anemia, which is characterized by a lack of enough blood for the mother and her unborn child.
8. Lifestyle Diseases
There is a slim chance that a woman’s pregnancy will survive to the end of the gestation period while consuming coffee. However, if the child is born, there is a likelihood that he/she will be prone to lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, ad heart diseases compared to other children.
9. Abdominal Pain
For a long time, caffeine intake has been associated with the stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract not just in pregnant women but also in all that drink coffee. If taken in large amounts, caffeine can cause stomach upset, nausea, and even diarrhea.
Because it is acidic, there are high chances that drinking coffee can irritate the stomach lining of a pregnant mother leading to abdominal cramps and pain.
10. Increased Bathroom Visits
Coffee consumption during pregnancy can cause an increase in visits to the washroom for the pregnant woman. Drinking more than 2 cups of coffee per day makes the woman take more water due to dehydration resulting in many visits to the washroom.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is it OK to drink coffee while pregnant?
A: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends an intake of below 200 milligrams (1-2 cups) of coffee per day for pregnant women but to many pregnant mothers, anything above 100mg of coffee per day would still be too much.
Q: How many cups of coffee is 200 milligrams?
A: Studies indicate that 100-200 milligrams of caffeine are equal to 1-2 cups of regular coffee.
Q: What does coffee do to your baby when pregnant?
A: Researchers believe that caffeine can cause blood vessels in the placenta and uterus to constrict, which ultimately reduces the amount of blood supply to the fetus and in the end, inhibit baby growth.
Q. Is drinking coffee during pregnancy bad for the baby?
A. Studies indicate that drinking more than 150-200 milligrams (1-2 cups of coffee) of caffeine a day during pregnancy is not healthy because such a high amount of caffeine during pregnancy has been associated with problems with a baby’s development and growth.
Q: What happens when you drink too much caffeine while pregnant?
A: Taking a lot of coffee (over 200 milligrams per day) during pregnancy may increase the risk of low birth weight or even a miscarriage.
Q. Can I drink coffee in my third trimester?
A. Consumption of caffeine during pregnancy especially more than 150-200 milligrams every day, could risk your pregnancy and fetal development. The complications are especially acute during the third trimester because caffeine stays in the body longer due to changes in maternal metabolism.
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are pleasing to the eye for most pregnant women. But it is important to remember that every cup or sip is not only putting your life in danger but also that of your unborn baby. For now, you might consider keeping off for a while or replacing coffee with other decaffeinated drinks such as Lipton tea to quench your thirst.
It is also important to note that caffeine is found not only found in coffee but also in some tea, coffee-flavored ice cream and milkshakes, some pain and cold medications, energy drinks, and green teas.
Prevention is better than cure, so they say and the best thing, for now, is to keep off until your baby is born for as it looks, more than 200 milligrams of coffee is bad for your pregnancy.