Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Result Of Caffeine With An Developing Fetus

What are the effects of coffee or other caffinated substances on your unborn child?

It is a well-known fact among pregnant women that they need to be careful about what they consume. Drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes are obviously off-limits for women carrying children. But many women wonder about caffeine A cup or two of coffee in the morning is something that many people feel they need in order to effectively wake up. However, as with many substances, caffeine needs to be ingested in moderation by pregnant women so as to prevent against miscarriage or danger to the unborn baby.

Types of Caffeine

Hot chocolate contains caffeine.

Before considering the effects of caffeine on unborn children, it is important to know what common foods and drinks contain caffeine. Coffee, tea, energy drinks and sodas are well-known caffeine containing culprits. However, pregnant women should also note that chocolate bars and drinks like hot chocolate have caffeine in them, as do many prescription pills including Anacin, Dristan and Midol.

Effects on Pregnancy

While pregnant, caffeine will pass through a woman's placenta to her baby. One of the main risks involved with caffeine for pregnant women is of miscarriage. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine intake before and during pregnancy does have an effect on fetal loss in pregnant women. A study by the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research showed that women who ingested 200 milligrams of caffeine a day---the equivalent of two cups of coffee or five cans of soda---had twice the miscarriage risk of women who avoided caffeine altogether.

Effects on Child

Babies whose mothers ingested large amounts of caffeine may have trouble sleeping.

The March of Dimes noted in a study that, because an unborn baby's body systems for breaking down and eliminating chemicals are not fully developed yet, caffeine levels may remain elevated in the child for longer than in the mother. This can result in problems for babies such as birth defects and low birth weight. Babies affected by more than 500 mg of caffeine a day may also experience breathing problems, increased heart rate and more time spent awake after birth.

How Much is Too Much?

Reading product labels is very important for mothers-to-be who are monitoring their caffeine intake levels. For example, an 8 oz cup of brewed coffee can contain anywhere from 65 to 300 mg of caffeine, according to's article, "What are the effects of caffeine on pregnancy and is there a safe amount?" Mothers should take note of how strongly their coffee and tea are brewed, and not be embarrassed to ask.

Other Options for Mothers

Yoga is an all-natural energy boost that is healthier for expecting mothers than caffeine.

If caffeine is an absolute must to get through the day, expectant mothers should try their best to keep it to one caffeinated beverage a day. Ideally though, natural energy boosts such as a brisk walk, yoga stretching, or eating snacks like dried fruit and nuts could replace caffeine for expecting mothers, implores Tracy Flanagan, MD, the Director of Women's Health at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.

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