Can You Consume Caffeine While Pregnant?

Recent studies have occasionally correlated caffeine consumption with the risk of miscarriages, premature births, or low birth weight babies in pregnant women.

For these reasons, this stimulating psychoactive alkaloid is in the spotlight of several pediatric investigations. Knowing the factors that predispose to pregnancy failure is essential, because not only the life of the fetus is at risk, but also the physical and emotional integrity of the mother and the family unit.

It is clear that the consumption of alcohol, marijuana and other socially stigmatized drugs is detrimental to the health of the fetus conceived in the mother’s womb. The reality is that caffeine is an addictive substance that is much more entrenched in our culture, but that is not why it is free from side effects. Find out here whether caffeine can be consumed during pregnancy.

    Can You Consume Caffeine While Pregnant ?: A Gray Scale

    According to the Royal Academy of Spanish Language (RAE), a drug is defined as “any drug substance or preparation having a stimulating, depressing, narcotic or hallucinogenic effect”. Based on this description, there is no doubt that caffeine is a drug.

    This bitter tasting xanthine alkaloid has several effects on the human body. Some of them are:

    • It stimulates the central nervous system, which produces a temporary effect of restoring the level of alertness and reducing drowsiness.
    • Increases blood pressure.
    • It has a diuretic effect, that is to say, it facilitates the elimination of water and salt by promoting the production of urine.

    caffeine it is the most common psychoactive substance in the worldAs it is estimated that on average 120,000 tonnes are consumed per year in the world. In more specific regions, such as North America, it is estimated that 90% of adults consume products containing caffeine on a daily basis.

    How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

    The half-life of caffeine (that is, how long this compound stays in the blood) varies depending on the characteristics of the individual consuming it. It is a fact that removal of this substance from the blood of pregnant women is a slower process, Since it is in a time range of 9 to 11 hours, while in non-pregnant adults, this time is 4 to 9 hours at most.

    Caffeine is metabolized in the liver, so people with severe liver problems may experience complications in which the compound remains in the blood for up to 96 hours.

    The World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day to avoid the risk of fetal loss during pregnancy, but how is this amount reflected in energy foods?

    It is estimated that a cup of coffee has a wide range of this compound, from 95 to 200 milligrams per serving. On the other hand, a cup of tea contains much less caffeine, as it is estimated to be around 14 to 60 milligrams per serving.

    So, drinking three cups of tea a day shouldn’t be a long-term problem for a pregnant mother, but two “full” coffees may already exceed the maximum dose recommended by the World Health Organization. Of course, caffeine can be consumed during pregnancy, but it is essential to be careful with the doses to avoid serious disorders.

    Beyond tips

    Although these ideas are widely held in the general population, several studies have attempted to elucidate the effect of caffeine on the fetus during the first trimesters of pregnancy, and surprising as it may seem, many results are not. conclusive.

    This is due, in part, to the fact that the mechanisms by which this substance would correlate with miscarriages are not yet knownAlthough there is some evidence that the compound crosses the placental barrier and reaches the fetus. We go further, because it is estimated that the concentration of caffeine in the bloodstream of the fetus would be similar to that of the mother, with the additional complication that its permanence in the baby’s blood would be even greater, as degrading liver enzymes appear. from the eighth month of gestation.

    Yet in general it is difficult to establish a direct correlation between caffeine and complications during pregnancyAs other factors such as symptoms of the pregnant woman or fetal viability also play a vital role.

    Despite all these obstacles, in-depth literature reviews with sizable sample groups of pregnant women (over 1500 participants, some having suffered miscarriages and others not) can elucidate the following results:

    • Caffeine consumption during the first trimester of pregnancy correlates with miscarriages in fetuses with normal karyotypes.
    • There is also a positive association between smoking and the likelihood of miscarriage.
    • Caffeine consumption is not related to the risk of miscarriage in fetuses with an abnormal karyotype.

    As we can see, we are faced with relatively contradictory results. This is further complicated when the study finds that in women who smoked and consumed caffeine (both at the same time), no positive correlation was found between these habits and the production of abortions. What meaning does it make if the two factors separately seem to promote pregnancy complications?

    Another reason for doubting a 100% reliable correlation between caffeine and abortions is that the two parameters were not related in fetuses with abnormal karyotypes, i.e. with an atypical number of chromosomes (such as Down’s syndrome). These results are at least counterintuitive, as one would expect the baby’s genetic mutations to predispose him to life-threatening events after an interaction with caffeine.

    For all of these reasons, studies stress that the results should be taken with extreme caution, but nonetheless, not consuming caffeine during pregnancy or reducing your intake will always be the safest option according to them.

    Caffeine and fetal growth

    However, we are not moving on white or black ground (life or abortion), as the effects of caffeine on the fetus can manifest in a wide range of grays.

    Other studies have shown, for example, that consuming caffeine correlates with a decrease in newborn weight. This could be explained by the fact that the compound increases the concentration of placental and fetal adrenaline, which promotes vasoconstriction and prevents direct nutritional supply through the bloodstream to the fetus.

    In countries like Uruguay, where it is estimated that more than 32% of pregnant women consume more than the maximum amount of caffeine set by the WHO (especially in the form of matte), know that a correlation clear can be essential in making the population aware of healthier habits, especially around the time of maternal pregnancy.

    However, these own studies show that despite having shown consistent results between the two parameters, all the research carried out has not led to the same result. This, rather than undermining the credibility of the observed facts, could highlight that there are many other factors that condition the viability of the fetus beyond the consumption of caffeine: diet, stress, health structure and other parameters difficult to quantify.

    conclusions

    As you may have seen, to the question of whether caffeine can be consumed during pregnancy, we don’t have a conclusive answer at all. Such is the world of research, where nothing can be regarded as dogma or an inalienable reality without irrefutable evidence. are presented.

    What is clear is that a high daily intake of caffeine correlates with health problems in the patient, which, of course, would also extend to the integrity of the fetus in a pregnant woman.

    Although the results are not entirely conclusive in many studies, it will always be a good idea not to exceed the WHO limit of 300 milligrams of caffeine per day in pregnant women. In the end, with a cup of coffee and a cup of tea a day, you will in most cases achieve the desired effect, and not lead to a possible miscarriage or a fetus weighing less than normal.

    Bibliographical references:

    • Caffeine, Medlineplus.gov. Retrieved September 1 from https://medlineplus.gov/spanish/caffeine.html
    • Dur Mota, I., Causin Serrano, S., Campillos Páez, MT, and Vallès Ugarte, M. (2001). Caffeine consumption and risk of miscarriage during the first trimester. Medifam, 11 (8), 105-108.
    • Lozano, RP, García, JA, Tafalla, DB and Albaladejo, MF (2007). Caffeine: a nutrient, drug or drug of abuse. Addictions, 19 (3), 225-238.
    • Magri, R., Míguez, H., Parodi, V., Hutson, J., Suárez, H., Menéndez, A., … and Bustos, R. (2007). Alcohol and other drug use among pregnant women. Uruguay Pediatric Archives, 78 (2), 122-132.
    • Moraes, M., Sosa, C., González, G., Umpiérrez, E., Berta, S., and Borbonet, D. (2014). Relationship between matte consumption during pregnancy and birth weight. Uruguayan Pediatric Archives, 85 (1), 18-24.
    • Restricting Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy, World Health Organization (WHO). Collected September 1 at https://www.who.int/elena/titles/caffeine-pregnancy/es/

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