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Is It Bad To Drink Coffee While Pregnant?



Short answer

Drinking limited amounts of coffee may be okay for the unborn child, but there is no reason to take the risk.



Long answer

An exact risk assessment regarding drinking coffee while pregnant is impossible to come by unless pregnant women were to volunteer to drink specified amounts of coffee and have the effects monitored. Since it is both difficult to come by women who would voluntarily risk their pregnancies for the sake of science and unethical to even propose such an experiment, any risk assessment is based on studies collected after the fact. However, even these studies vary.

One study seems to suggest pregnant women will be fine as long as they don’t drink over five cups of coffee per day, while other studies show an increased risk of miscarriage beyond 200 mg of caffeine (around two cups of instant coffee). So, what is the limit? Considering there is no specific answer and everyone reacts to caffeine differently, the answer is zero. While we may not know the specific risk assessment, we do know what caffeine does to the pregnant body.

Caffeine is a drug which can cross the placenta and limit blood flow thereto. It can also increase blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels. A further complication of caffeine is that it can overtax the liver. A properly functioning liver is especially vital during pregnancy, as it is processing the extra hormonal demands. 
Based on what caffeine can do to the body while pregnant and the lack of conclusive statistics, you would be safest avoiding coffee completely. However, if the thought of no coffee for nine months is too much to bear, at the very least do your best to avoid or drastically limit your intake (to absolutely no more than two cups in a day), especially during the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is greatest.

Possible short-term side effects

  • stress on the liver
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased blood sugar
  • decreased placenta blood flow

Possible long-term side effects

  • liver damage
  • miscarriage

Ingredients to be aware of

Healthier alternatives

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Written by Healthy Living 35 | 12-29-2015

Written by Healthy Living 35
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