Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Is caffeine bad for pregnancy? That is a question that often plagues expectant mothers.
In this article, we look at the facts about coffee and pregnancy and explore whether or not decaf is safe to drink.
Decaf coffee is typically between zero and fourteen milligrams of caffeine. The caffeine in this type of coffee is not a stimulant and does not increase blood pressure.
That said, caffeine in high-caffeine versions should be avoided during pregnancy.
Decaf coffee is safer for pregnancy
Many pregnant women prefer to drink decaffeinated coffee to limit their intake of caffeine.
Decaf coffee is a popular choice because it offers the same taste without the caffeine. Although decaffeinated coffee has less caffeine than regular coffee, it still contains some caffeine, which may have benefits for your baby.
According to some studies, caffeine has positive effects on conditions such as heart disease, liver disease, and neurological conditions.
Although some women may think that decaffeinated coffee is safer for pregnancy, they should not completely ignore the warning labels.
There are still a few things that pregnant women should keep in mind. Although it is less than one hundred milligrams of caffeine, it is best to limit your intake to less than 200 mg daily.
Also, make sure you stick to water-processed decaf, as it retains the flavor of regular coffee.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women should avoid caffeine consumption any more than 200 milligrams per day.
That's about the amount of caffeine found in two cups of coffee. This level is deemed about safe for a pregnant woman's developing fetus.
That said, a review of th available studies published by the British Medical Journal associates caffeine consumption suring pregnancy with negative outcomes.
But some decaf coffee brands may contain methylene chloride, a chemical that is harmful to the mother and fetus.
Even though decaf coffee contains small amounts of caffeine, it can still lead to a jittery effect. A single serving of decaf coffee can contain anywhere from zero to fourteen milligrams of caffeine.
Even this level is below the maximum safe amount of caffeine for pregnant women, it is still important to consume decaf coffee in moderation.
If you cannot tolerate caffeine, you should try to drink other beverages that are caffeine-free. Herbal tea is another excellent choice.
Too much caffeine is harmful
Excess caffeine can lead to low birth weight, miscarriage, or stillbirth. Moreover, caffeine is toxic to babies and their growing bodies, so it is recommended to limit your caffeine intake. If you must drink coffee, try to limit the amount to about two cups a day.
A 1997 study found that coffee drinkers had a higher risk of miscarriage during the first trimester than non-drinkers.
The study included all types of coffee, not just decaf. As a result, decaf contains about 97% less caffeine than regular coffee. However, pregnant women should still limit their caffeine intake to no more than 200mg daily.
Caffeine may have numerous negative effects on both the mother and the unborn child.
Although a woman may not have a caffeine allergy, she should avoid coffee that gives her jitters and heartburn. Some studies also found that decaf coffee is safe for pregnancy.
Some pregnant women will need to restrict or completely eliminate caffeine during pregnancy. If you're concerned about the amount of caffeine in your coffee, order the smallest size and stick to one or two espresso shots per beverage.
If your caffeine intake is too high, you may experience high blood pressure, shakiness, and anxiety. You should listen to your body's signals and abide by them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives to caffeine in coffee that are safe for pregnant women.
While the official recommendation is 200 milligrams per day or less, many doctors recommend a lower amount of caffeine than this.
If you want caffeine during your pregnancy, you can consider drinking tea. This drink generally has less caffeine per serving than coffee, and many types of tea are beneficial for pregnancy.
Decaf coffee is less of a stimulant
Because caffeine has stimulant properties, yet, decaffeinated coffee because of its lower caffeine content it is less of a stimulant.
If you find the taste of coffee too strong, try avoiding it entirely and switch to herbal teas or other caffeine-free beverages instead, be aware even drinks such as cola contain caffeine.
In a study conducted by a UCSF pharmacologist, women with nonviable pregnancies drank decaf coffee more than those with morning sickness.
This suggests that women who stop feeling nauseated during pregnancy may be more motivated to consume decaf coffee instead of regular coffee. It is also possible that decaf consumption is the result of a higher concern for the health of the fetus.
Although decaf coffee contains less caffeine than regular coffee, it still has a small amount of caffeine. Some studies have found a link between high caffeine intake and increased risk of miscarriage.
In other studies, however, no causal connection has been found between decaf and miscarriage. However, if caffeine consumption is moderated, decaf may be the safer option for pregnant women.
Although decaffeinated coffee is less of a stimulant, it may have a few health risks, particularly the process of extracting caffein from the coffee.
This process may increase fatty acids, which can cause an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, methylene chloride increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic syndrome, and is even linked to a greater risk of pancreatic cancer.
It is also important to consider other edibles that contain caffeine and monitor the amount they consume, chocolate contains caffeine and may fly under the radar of peoples awareness.
But it is important to note that decaffeinated coffee has no official guidelines on whether it is safe to drink during pregnancy, but it is wise not to drink so much that you would breach the 200mg amount.
In addition to the caffeine content, decaffeinated coffee contains antioxidants. Studies have shown that women who drink decaffeinated coffee have a lower risk of certain health conditions.
Decaf coffee doesn't increase blood pressure
Drinking decaffeinated coffee has numerous benefits, including lowering blood pressure when compared to caffeinated coffee.
Researchers have found that decaffeinated coffee can lower high blood pressure, a common condition associated with pregnancy.
High blood pressure is determined by two measurements: systolic pressure, which indicates the force of the heart pumping blood, and diastolic pressure, which records resistance to blood flow. The average blood pressure for a healthy adult is 140/90 mmHg.
One study found a link between coffee consumption (both caffeineated and decaffeinated) and reduced risk of mortality. The biggest reduction was found among those who drank at least two cups a day.
Even so, it is still a good idea to talk to your doctor about what is safe for you. Although decaffeinated coffee has fewer caffeine molecules, a woman should still consult her physician about consuming caffeine while pregnant.
A decaffeinated coffee can give pregnant women the same satisfying taste as regular coffee without the risk of high blood pressure and pregnancy complications.
Caffeine may reduce the ability of a pregnant woman to absorb essential nutrients, including iron. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and restricts blood flow to the placenta.
Also, it can increase the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. If you're planning on drinking coffee during pregnancy, it's probably best to stick to decaf coffee or avoid caffeine altogether.
There are numerous studies that indicate caffeine not being the ideal choice when pregnant, however, many products do include it.
Therefore, rather than eliminating completely, it is better to be more aware of the recommended limits and what or how much you consume.
If you're looking for a daily boost, you may be able to get away with a two cups of caffeinated coffee per day, but try not to stray over that.