The Effects of Mother Drinking Caffeine When Pregnant
Drinking large amounts of caffeine while pregnant can cause a number of problems for the developing baby, some of which are fatal. Because of this, many organizations recommend that if possible, mothers avoid drinking any caffeine when pregnant. This includes caffeine found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, energy drinks, and even in some medications such as painkillers and cold medicine.
The main concern related to drinking caffeine when pregnant is that some studies have found it increases the risk of miscarriage. One study found that women who drink at least 200 mg of caffeine every day are two times as likely to have a miscarriage as women who do not drink any caffeine. Other similar studies have not found any difference in miscarriage among women who do and do not drink caffeine. Although the results are mixed, many organizations still recommend that pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption.
Mothers who drink caffeine when pregnant will pass some of the caffeine into the baby’s bloodstream through the placenta. This will cause the baby to experience many of the same effects that caffeine has on adults, including increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, and a faster breathing rate. These will affect the baby both in the womb and for a few days after birth. Drinking caffeine while breastfeeding may continue these arousal symptoms throughout the baby’s infancy.
Low Birth Weight
Some studies have shown that babies whose mothers drink caffeine while pregnant are born at slightly lower weights. This may be because caffeine constricts blood vessels and reduces the flow of blood to the placenta. However, these effects are not very significant and should not make a very large impact on the baby’s overall health.
In addition to all the effects of caffeine on the developing baby, pregnant mothers may also end up with some unwanted effects on their own bodies. For example, caffeine can increase blood pressure, cause people to feel jittery, and increase secretion of stomach acid that leads to heartburn. All these can make pregnancy a more stressful experience.
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