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Coffee during pregnancy: so much is allowed

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 340 views

Can coffee be drunk as usual during pregnancy? Or should one be careful with that? This topic occupies many mothers-to-be, as the morning coffee is often the cherished starting ritual of the day. But how does the unborn child react to the caffeine? Read more about coffee & pregnancy.

Caffeine crosses the placenta

For many people, the following applies: You can’t start the day without coffee. Pregnancy is a phase when women should not drink too much of it. Because the stimulant in coffee, the caffeine , passes the placenta unhindered and thus also has an impact on the unborn child. An adult breaks down caffeine with the help of certain enzymes (cytochromes). However, the fetus does not yet have these enzymes and is therefore unable to break down the caffeine supplied.

Coffee during pregnancy: Lower birth weight

In a Norwegian study, almost 60,000 pregnant women were asked about their coffee consumption. The babies were later judged on their birth weight. It has been shown that drinking coffee during pregnancy influences the growth of the unborn child:

If the mothers-to-be drank a cup of coffee a day (equivalent to about 100 milligrams of caffeine), the average birth weight of the babies was 21 to 28 grams and more below the expected average value of 3600 grams further from target.

In a healthy child, this difference is not of great importance. But in the case of premature births or full-term newborns with an already lower birth weight, this can certainly have an impact on later development.

Apart from reduced birth weight, drinking coffee during pregnancy does not appear to have any other consequences. Caffeine intake does not cause premature birth or cause serious harm to the child. Up to three cups of coffee throughout the day are fine. Energy drinks are taboo for pregnant women.

Coffee while breastfeeding: the child drinks with you

Breastfeeding mothers shouldn’t consume too much caffeine either. Otherwise, the child becomes restless, gets stomach ache and sleeps poorly. If a mother does have the desire for a coffee, black or green tea or a cola, then it is best to reach for it immediately after breastfeeding. Then the body has time to break down the caffeine until the next breastfeeding meal.

Recommended caffeine dose

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), pregnant women should consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. That means: You can drink up to three cups of coffee a day during pregnancy – as long as no other caffeinated drinks or food are consumed. Because some energy and soft drinks such as cola also contain caffeine, up to 80 milligrams per glass. That’s only slightly less than in the same amount of coffee. Black and green tea also contain caffeine – an average of 50 milligrams per cup. Even cocoa and chocolate contain the pick-me-up. Pregnant women should take this into account.

In general, you don’t have to do without coffee or other caffeinated drinks and foods during pregnancy, but you do have to keep an eye on the amount consumed. The same applies to breastfeeding.

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