Too much coffee (and tea for that matter) is frowned upon during pregnancy, thanks to the presence of caffeine. Caffeine also shows up in chocolate products, herbal products and over-the-counter drugs, including some headache, cold, and allergy remedies.
Some studies have shown that pregnant women who consumed significant amounts of caffeine on a regular basis had double the risk of a miscarriage, compared with those who abstained from caffeine.
Add to that the fact that too much caffeine in the mother’s system can give rise to a low birth-weight for baby, and even contribute to complications like faster heart rates and breathing rates.
Furthermore, since caffeine is a stimulant, taking a lot of it can raise your own heart rate, causing you to feel restless and suffer from insomnia. As your pregnancy progresses, your body’s ability to break down caffeine slows down, causing you to become increasingly wakeful and high-strung.
So how much caffeine is okay?
To be perfectly honest, there’s no magic figure out there that dictates exactly how much caffeine is safe for consumption during pregnancy. However, the general consensus seems to be that expectant mothers limit their daily caffeine intake to a maximum of 200 milligrams. It’s pretty safe to stick to about two regular cups of instant coffee, or one Starbucks tall brewed coffee a day, for instance.
If you’re used to drinking copious amounts of coffee and tea throughout the day, restraining yourself from your beverage of choice will definitely be a challenge for you! You may even suffer from “caffeine withdrawal”, experiencing symptoms like headaches, irritability and lethargy – but these should improve gradually.
Instead of suddenly going cold turkey, you can make the change by gradually decreasing your caffeine intake. Mix decaf coffee with your regular coffee powder, and up the proportion of decaf over time. Don’t steep tea bags longer than a minute as well.
With these adjustments in mind, you can continue to enjoy your daily caffeine fix without losing any sleep (pun intended) over it!
By Dorothea Chow