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One of the topics that are always treated when a woman is pregnant is the consumption of coffee. How safe caffeine is during pregnancy?
Coffee is a beverage that accompanies us not only the mornings but the day of many people around the world. And beyond its divine aroma and sense of well-being - which for many means being able to be alert - we know that it is a stimulant and that a little may be fine, but much can be harmful to health.
Leer en español: Qué tan segura es la cafeína durante el embarazo
But in the case of pregnancy, the perspective changes. The pregnant woman feeds her child in the womb with everything she consumes - good or bad - and those stimulants fall in a slightly gray area. Should we eliminate it or can a pregnant woman enjoy a cup of coffee?
The page specializing in pregnancy, BabyCenter.com comments that pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake but that there is no clear answer about how much of this compound is considered "safe" during pregnancy. In the same publication, they cite the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which recommends a maximum of 200 mg per day, which translates to a cup of coffee. The problem occurs when the person also consumes other drinks or foods that contain this compound (such as tea, soft drinks, medications, and even chocolate)
The problem is that caffeine, although it makes the mother feel good, is consumed directly by the baby through the placenta. As explained by americanpregnancy.org, although the mother can support the right amount of this compound, the baby does not. The metabolism of the fetus is in development and processing caffeine can be a difficult job for it.
As caffeine is a stimulant, the baby's sleeping patterns can also be affected, as well as their movement in the belly. The publication also reminds that this drink can increase the heart rate and blood pressure (which can be dangerous for the mother and the fetus) and being diuretic, the reduction of fluids in the body can also lead to dehydration.
And what happens if the woman exceeds the recommendations? Well, as you can imagine, complications could begin. Healthline explains that the same consumption of a pregnant woman, even if she is used to this stimulant, can be metabolized by the person much more slowly (it can take 1.5 to 3.5 times more to eliminate caffeine from her body).
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Another issue of attention is the risk of abortions. According to a 2008 study published in PubliMed, the excessive consumption of the compound was related to an increased risk of abortion - meaning that the possibilities were raised, not that caffeine caused abortions per se - and in another research cited at Heathline, also the consumption of caffeine was associated with babies who were born with low body weight.
So what would be the solution to this debate? While leaving caffeine during pregnancy may seem the simplest solution, this seems to be easier said than done in reality because caffeine is a stimulant, nipping this compound in the bud can bring more uneasiness, headaches and other discomforts
Consulting with your doctor about the right amount would be appropriate - not only with caffeine but with anything that is consumed that may affect the development of the baby - and above all, be careful with the other sources of caffeine consumed in the day
For example, Heathline cites the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who point out that energy drinks - which have a large amount of caffeine - should be wholly eliminated during pregnancy. Not only because of the amount of stimulant, but also because of its other compounds such as artificial sweeteners and herbs that are not known for sure how safe they are for the baby.
It is best to opt for decaffeinated coffee and herbal teas that are safe during pregnancy such as mint tea or lemon balm. For any other beverage, the ideal will always be, consult with your GP.
LatinAmerican Post | Clementine Ramos
Translated from "Qué tan segura es la cafeína durante el embarazo"