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Caffeine during pregnancy? How much is allowed?

Hey Mommy! Today we’d like to continue our blog series „Nutrition During Pregnancy“ and want to dig deeper into the controvert discussed topic of  caffeine intake during pregnancy. Many moms-to-be are often tired and feel lethargic, so caffeine seems like the perfect little helper here. But how much is appropriate during pregnancy or should you completely avoid it? Can caffeine harm the baby?

How much should I drink during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, drinking plenty of fluids is essential! Because your body is working at full speed. Did you know that two and a half liters of water are transported in your bloodstream every hour to replace the amniotic fluid? Not only does the increased blood volume and amniotic fluid make hydration necessary, but water also serves as a means of transporting nutrients for the baby.

Pregnant women also tend to sweat more, so they lose more fluid through the skin as metabolic water turnover increases. Therefore, this should be compensated with an increased fluid intake.

Mineral water, juice spritzers and herbal teas are perfect thirst quenchers and help to prevent thirst from occurring in the first place. Because this is already a sign that you are giving your body insufficient fluids. On average, you should drink at least two liters of fluid a day.

My tip: Drink in small amounts throughout the day! You can also set a drinking alarm for every half hour or download a drinking app, so you will always be reminded to drink enough 🙂 I like to fill up a big bottle of still water in the morning, so I can then see how much I’ve already drunk.

 

Other benefits:

  • a good blood flow leads to a better supply of the placenta
  • Prevention of constipation
  • prevention of urinary tract infections
  • less headaches
  • less circulatory problems
  • better skin condition

Sufficient fluid intake is extremely important but watch out! You should be especially careful with caffeinated drinks.

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How much caffeine can you consume during pregnancy per day?

You should enjoy coffee within certain limits. But to all you frahling lovers, don’t worry! In fact, up to three cups of coffee per day are still allowed (I was surprised myself).

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), pregnant women should consume a maximum of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day – the equivalent of about two to three small cups.

But caution: Drinks such as Coca Cola, green or black tea and chocolate also contain caffeine, so you should be aware of this in your daily consumption.  I would strongly advise you not to drink energy drinks, as they often contain a very high amount of caffeine. In addition, these have other typical ingredients such as glucuronolactone, taurine, etc., which could be harmful to your baby.

Here you can see approximately how much caffeine the different drinks contain.

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What consequences can too much caffeine have for pregnant women?

If you exceed the recommended maximum daily amount, it can actually have negative consequences for your baby. For one thing, too much caffeine can lead to a lower birth weight for your little one. It can also negatively alter stress and growth hormone levels. Caffeine has a similar effect on the baby as it does on the mom herself. The heartbeat is accelerated, and the nervous system is stimulated. Moreover, caffeine levels remain elevated in the fetus longer than in adults because its organism cannot metabolize the substance.

According to a study in the Journal of Endocrinology, too much caffeine during pregnancy can affect your child’s liver development and increase the risk of liver disease in adulthood. Excessive caffeine consumption also increases the risk of miscarriage.

But if you don’t exceed 200 milligrams of caffeine per day, you can still continue to enjoy your coffee.

My tip: Try weaning your body off coffee: At the beginning you may react with headaches, then with exhaustion, but after about 14 days you will almost not miss caffeine anymore. Only the taste, perhaps…

For this, I often replace coffee with decaffeinated coffee. So, I have my coffee experience but avoid caffeine and the physical dependence.

If I feel then nevertheless sometimes very tired, also other beverages help like for example Cellagon Vitale, which pushes the blood sugar level longer, more gently and evenly.

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Alcohol During Pregnancy

If a little bit of caffein is still fine, how about alcohol?

Alcohol can harm your little one even in small amounts. But does it mean alcohol is strictly forbidden throughout pregnancy?

Alcohol intake can have serious consequences for the baby, that is certain and is beyond question.

But in Germany, experts therefore advise to avoid alcohol intake at all, while in many other countries a glass of wine is still acceptable, especially throughout your third trimester. How comes? Science cannot determine the actual level at which alcohol is harmful to the unborn child and how much is still okay. It also depends on your weight, condition and other circumstances. So this is something you have to decide for yourself, I would rather stay away instead of risking any harm.

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So bottom line is, don’t panic, drink less caffeine and more substitute with a nice herbal tea and do an extra MOVE IT MAMA workout to get your blood circulation going.

In the next upcoming blog article on nutrition during pregnancy, we’ll dig deeper into a vegetarian and vegan diet for mom-to-bes.

The very next blog article will be on exercising after a c-section though.

 

Keep it Moving,

Your Birte

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