How much caffeine is safe during pregnancy?
If you are someone who cannot survive without your cup of coffee or tea to get through the day, you must already be dreading the thought of curtailing your caffeine consumption during pregnancy But, how much tea or coffee during pregnancy is okay?
If you are someone who cannot do without 5 to 6 cups per day, then you will need to cut down your caffeine consumption. High intake of caffeine, beyond recommended levels, might result in various complications like:
- Low birth weight in babies
- Risk of heart-related problems in the future
- High blood pressure in mothers
- Headaches, insomnia, and stomach problems
- Problems with the baby’s metabolism
- Changes that might be visible in the baby’s sleep pattern or normal movements in the later stages of pregnancy (may be third trimester)
During pregnancy, it is recommended to limit caffeine intake to 200 mg per day, which is equivalent to 2 cups a day. Caffeine is not only found in coffee but also in tea and chocolate. It is also found in some of the energy drinks, cold and flu medicines, and even in cola drinks.
Here is the amount of caffeine found in different foods and drinks:
|Food or drink||Quantity||Caffeine (in mg)|
|Instant coffee||1 mug||100|
|Filter coffee||1 mug||140|
|Energy drink||1 can (250 ml)||Up to 80 (up to 160 mg in larger cans)|
|Plain chocolate||1 bar (50g)||25|
Hidden sources of caffeine
The commonly known sources of caffeine were mentioned in the table above. But you need to know about some hidden sources of caffeine as well. Energy drinks have some additives that contain caffeine in reasonable amounts. These are:
- Kola nut
- Malic acid
- Pantothenic acid
- Yerba mate
How to reduce caffeine intake during pregnancy?
When you are pregnant, it is recommended to reduce your coffee intake. However, it is not advised to completely abstain from caffeine.
So, here is what you can do:
- Limit your coffee or tea intake to 1-2 cups per day.
- Eat small and frequent meals to gain energy. This way, you will depend less on caffeine items.
- Try drinking lots of water, along with moderate amounts of fresh fruit juices, or decaffeinated tea and coffee.
- Avoid energy drinks and always consult your doctor before taking any medicine during pregnancy.
- You could try herbal teas or infusions to lessen the intake of caffeine.
It is vital to remember that pregnancy is a very delicate phase of your life and whatever you do, make sure you consider your and your baby’s health. And since the physical status of every expecting mother is different, it is wise to consult a dietician or doctor about what your ideal caffeine consumption should be.