Life is fast paced and doesn’t stop for anything. Even the pregnant woman has to go to work for the greater part of the nine months. While waking up in the morning doesn’t come easy to anyone, it can be especially difficult for the expecting mother, thanks to the usual discomforts and disrupted sleep.
And what is the one thing that wakes you up in the morning? Coffee, of course! But should you drink coffee when you are pregnant? It is not particularly great for your health at any time, or so goes popular wisdom. How harmful, or not, is it going to be during pregnancy?
Yes, in moderation
If these are the questions bugging you as you drag yourself bleary eyed to work every day, then there’s good news for you. Your favorite morning pick-me-up is absolutely fine. There is no harm in taking a cup of coffee each day to get the day started. Just make sure you are not taking refills. And go for the decaf, if possible. It might take a little longer to get things started, but the effect should start to kick in after some time. And restrict yourself to the one cup a day; do not reach for the coffee machine every time you feel a little bit drowsy.
What are the risks?
Coffee contains pretty high amounts of caffeine, which is the reason it acts as such an instant waker upper. While it is great to relieve yourself of the drowsiness of the morning, it is not so good for the baby. Studies show that women who drink too much coffee during their pregnancy run the risk of miscarriages, still births, and preterm delivery. It also poses considerable risk to the baby; high intake of caffeine leads to congenital neurological disorders and impairs proper development of the baby’s bones and brain.
How much to drink?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that the pregnant woman’s recommended daily dose of coffee should be no more than 200 mg each day; it is recommended that you drink less than that to be safe. It would be a mistake to assume that drinking a little bit of strong coffee each day would amount to the same thing. In reality, it does not work that way. Different coffee brands have different amounts of caffeine, and you need to take less than 200 mg of caffeine each day.
How to choose the right coffee?
This can be pretty tricky. The strength of the coffee, which depends on its caffeine content, is dependent on pretty much the brand you are drinking. Different brands, even those that label themselves as ‘strong’ coffees, will have different caffeine content. We are generally tricked into thinking that we are taking the same amount of caffeine by our ‘knowledge’ of the caffeine content. Read through every label carefully to determine which brand has the correct amount of caffeine.
Most people also believe that decaffeinated coffee doesn’t contain any caffeine, but that is not true. Decaf usually has a much lower caffeine content, but like regular coffee, that varies from brand to brand. Check the caffeine content on the packaging before you go for a decaf, much like what you would do while buying regular coffee.
How to drink coffee?
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, the morning cup of coffee is absolutely fine. Just make sure that you do not take black coffee; take it instead with some sugar and cream. If you are not happy with the result, that is something you have to try to get used to. Your body will adjust to the change as soon as it realizes that the caffeine kick has not been completely withheld. Go for instant coffee instead of brews since they are lower in caffeine.
Instead of a tablespoon of coffee each morning, take only half a tablespoon. Make sure you are not drinking the coffee on an empty stomach; the caffeine will be extra harmful, and you might also feel queasy. If the queasiness persists even when you drink coffee with a full breakfast, stop and consult a doctor.
Also read: Can I eat honey during pregnancy?
Coffee is a ubiquitous drink, a strong contender of tea on the list of favorite beverages around the world. It is delicious, versatile, and a great way to bring a spring to your step in the mornings. However, things change during pregnancy, and you need to be very careful of what you are putting in your body. The safest thing to do would be to consult your doctor first as soon as you learn of your pregnancy, especially if coffee forms an inseparable part of your daily life. Every pregnancy is different, and the guidelines in this article are general.