How harmful is the use of caffeine during pregnancy

Coffee during pregnancy

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May Coffee during pregnancy continue to be drunk as usual? Or should one be careful with that? Many expectant mothers are concerned with this topic, as morning coffee is often the beloved starting ritual for the day. But how does the unborn child react to the caffeine? Read more about coffee & pregnancy.

Caffeine crosses the placenta

For many people, there is no way to start the day without coffee. Pregnancy is a phase when women shouldn't drink too much of it. Because the stimulant in coffee, the caffeine, passes through the placenta unhindered and thus also has an impact on the unborn child. An adult breaks down caffeine with the help of certain enzymes (cytochromes). However, the fetus does not yet have these enzymes and therefore cannot break down the caffeine it receives.

Coffee during pregnancy: lower birth weight

In a Norwegian study, almost 60,000 pregnant women were asked about their coffee consumption. The babies were later judged on their birth weight. It has been shown that the consumption of coffee during pregnancy affects the growth of the unborn child:

If the expectant mothers had a cup of coffee a day (this corresponds to around 100 milligrams of caffeine), the average birth weight of the babies was 21 to 28 grams and more below the expected average of 3600 grams. With more coffee consumption and thus higher amounts of caffeine, the birth weight decreased further from the target.

In a healthy child, this difference is of little importance. But in the case of premature births or of mature newborns with an inherently lower birth weight, this can definitely have an impact on later development.

Aside from reduced birth weight, coffee consumption during pregnancy does not appear to have any other consequences. The caffeine intake neither triggers a premature birth nor does it lead to serious harm to the child. Up to three cups of coffee throughout the day are fine. Energy drinks are taboo for pregnant women.

Coffee while breastfeeding: the child drinks with you

Breastfeeding mothers shouldn't consume too much caffeine either. Otherwise the child becomes restless, has stomach ache and sleeps poorly. If a mother does want a coffee, black or green tea or a cola, then the best thing to do is to reach for them right after breastfeeding. Then the body has time to break down the caffeine until the next breastfeeding meal.

Recommended dose of caffeine

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), pregnant women should consume a maximum of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. This means that up to three cups of coffee can be drunk daily during pregnancy - provided that no other caffeinated beverages or foods are consumed. Because some energy and soft drinks such as cola also contain caffeine, up to 80 milligrams per glass. That's only slightly less than the same amount of coffee. There is also caffeine in black and green tea - an average of 50 milligrams per cup. Even cocoa and chocolate contain the pick-me-up. Pregnant women should take this into account.

In general, the following applies: You have to do without Coffee during pregnancy and other caffeinated beverages and foods, but keep an eye on the amount consumed. The same goes for breastfeeding.

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