A new research, that was published in the journal BMC Medicine, suggests that caffeine may contribute to the low-birth-weight of a baby. The study also suggests that drinking coffee may cause a pregnancy to be prolonged.
In the report it is said that taking about 200 to 300 mg of caffeine every day could increase the risk of a baby being born with a low weight by 27 to 62 percent. The fact is babies born with low weight are more prone to having certain health problems. Based on this study, scientists are saying there needs to be a review of the currently set safe limits.
Whatever the mom consumes, some of it gets into the baby
Everything a future mother eats or drinks can be potentially passed on into the baby in the womb. This is why health organization have been making recommendation concerning the amount of certain foods that the future mothers consumes like caffeine, alcohol and smoke.
Caffeine moves from the placenta to the fetus along with oxygen and other nutrients. The problem here is that the effect caffeine has on the baby is different from what it can do to adults.
Recommendations made by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are to limit the amount of caffeine to 200 milligrams a day. That implies a pregnant woman should not take more than 2 cups of 8-ounce of brewed coffee a day. That said it is important to note that coffee houses usually sell coffee with stronger levels of caffeine. Aside that caffeine may be found in other drinks like chocolate, energy drinks, tea and colas.
Researchers who did the study looked at the diet and birth details of about 60 000 pregnancies for a period of 10 years. The sources of caffeine were monitored during the whole study.
After analyzing the data, Verena Sengpiel, a researcher from the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, said that in the study they found no link between the consumption of caffeine or coffee and preterm delivery. On the other hand they found a link between the consumption of caffeine and SGA. SGA stands for Small for Gestational Age. It relates to a condition where the baby inside the womb is smaller in size in relation to the expected weight based on the number of weeks.
The source where the caffeine came from also may make a difference. For women who were taking about 100 mg of caffeine on daily basis from any source, it was noted that the length of their pregnancy was increased by 5 hours. In comparison to that, caffeine that was known to come from coffee seems to increase the pregnancy length to 8 hours overall, even if they consumed the same amount of 100 mg a day.
Based on that Sengpiel says it will be better to look again at the guidelines concerning the consumption of caffeine.
As an expectant mother, what you can do
The best option will probably be to stop drinking any substance containing caffeine during the whole period of the pregnancy. That might be difficult to apply in real life especially for a pregnant woman who has been drinking coffee all her life.
That said there could be a limit set that would be ok and safe for the baby. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Pat O’Brien, said a maximum of 2 cups a day should be Ok.
Mind you it is not just the consumption of caffeine that can affect the baby. As an expectant mother it is equally important that you eat well. You need to take in a lot of vegetables and fruits. If you can, choose to eat whole-grain cereals and bread instead of refined ones. You will get more folic acid and iron out of those.
To make sure your baby develops a good brain you need to take often omega-3 fatty acids. Fishes like salmon can supply you with those nutrients. Aside that you can also get other B vitamins that will help maintain your own health. Egg also offers a lot of vitamins including choline which plays a role in the development of the baby’s brain.
When it comes to fruits, all the berries are good. Whether it is blackberries or blueberries, take them all. They are rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium and folate.
When at a point in time the desire to take some caffeinated drink becomes strong, you might want to first try replacing it with a fruit juice. You will do just fine. Of course if the desire become too strong, one or two cups of coffee should be enough for the whole day. Make sure you don’t exceed that.