No safe level of coffee drinking for pregnant women, study says | Pregnancy
Pregnant women should cut out coffee completely to help avoid miscarriage, low birth weight and stillbirth, according to a study of international evidence about caffeine and pregnancy.
In contradiction to official guidance in the UK, US and Europe, there is no safe level for caffeine consumption during pregnancy, according to a peer-reviewed study published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.
It analysed more than 1,200 studies of the drug’s effect on pregnancy and found “persuasive confirmation of increased risk … for at least five major negative pregnancy outcomes: miscarriage, stillbirth, lower birth weight and/or small for gestational age, childhood acute leukaemia, and childhood overweight and obesity.”
But the study was dismissed by the coffee industry, which urged consumers to stick to the public health advice in the UK, US and Europe that daily caffeine intake equivalent totwo cups ofmedium-strength cups of coffee (200mg) is safe for pregnant women.
A large majority of pregnant women consume caffeine, which is also found in energy drinks and at lower levels in cola, chocolate and tea. Britons drink an estimated 104m cups of coffee per day, up from 70m in 2008.
The World Health Organization has acknowledged studies that suggest excess intake of caffeine may be associated with restricted growth, reduced birth weight, preterm birth or stillbirth. It recommends that pregnant women consuming more than 300mg per day should cut back.
The new research by Prof Jack James, of Reykjavik University, found that “current advice … is not consistent with the level of threat indicated by biological plausibility of harm and extensive empirical evidence of actual harm.” It concluded that health recommendations needed “radical revision”.
“The cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine,” the report said.
James said eight out of every nine studies on caffeine and miscarriage reported “significant associations”. Some suggested consumption increased the risk by a third, and others said the risk increased with every extra cup of coffee.
Four out of five observational studies on stillbirth – the loss of an unborn child after 20 weeks – reported increased risk related to caffeine, with the risk increasing by as much as five times in women consuming high doses. Seven out of 10 studies on low birth weight reported a link.
The British Coffee Association, whose members include Costa and Caffè Nero, said James’s study did not establish cause and effect, and it urged pregnant women to stick to existing guidelines.
“The current evidence given by the NHS is based on a comprehensive review of all the scientific evidence available on coffee and health, which shows that pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to 200mg per day or less, and at these levels does not increase the risk of reproductive complications,” said a spokesperson.
“This new study is an observational study, so importantly does not show any direct cause-and-effect link and also is subject to confounding factors such as cigarette smoking and wider dietary issues, which may limit its ability to draw clear conclusions. ”
James said causation was likely because of the observed relationships between the amount of caffeine consumed during pregnancy and the risk of negative pregnancy outcomes.
He said the research was notable for the “effort that has been invested in the search for and control of potential confounders”. Variables including body mass, age, pregnancy history, alcohol use and exposure to pollutants had all been considered.
Two years ago the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in England and Wales updated its advice to urge complete abstinence from alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy because it may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
The Food Standards Agency said: “Based on current scientific opinion, the FSA advises pregnant and breastfeeding women not to have more than 200mg of caffeine over the course of a day, which is roughly two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of filter coffee.”
Public Health England has been contacted for comment.
Caffeine during pregnancy | Pregnancy Birth and Baby
Caffeine during pregnancy | Pregnancy Birth and Baby beginning of content
Consuming large amounts of caffeine during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage or low birthweight, so it’s best to limit your intake of caffeine.
Caffeine is a chemical found in many foods and drinks, including coffee, tea and cola. It affects the nervous system and can cause irritability, nervousness and sleeplessness.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consuming up to 200mg a day is safe for your baby.
The approximate amounts of caffeine found in food and drinks are:
1 cup of instant coffee: 60mg
1 shot of espresso coffee: 100mg
1 cup of plunger coffee: 80mg
1 cup of tea: 30mg
375ml can of cola: 49mg
250ml can of energy drink: 80mg
100g bar of milk chocolate: 20mg
Decaffeinated varieties contain little or no caffeine.
Energy drinks are not recommended during pregnancy as they may contain high levels of caffeine, and other ingredients not recommended for pregnant women.
Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine. Talk to your midwife, doctor or pharmacist before taking these remedies.
For more information about the caffeine content in food and drink visit Food Standards Australia.
Australian Drug Foundation (Caffeine), Food Standards Australia New Zealand (Caffeine), The Royal Women's Hospital Melbourne (Food safety during pregnancy), Australian Breastfeeding Association (Breastfeeding and maternal caffeine consumption), Australian Healthy Food (How much caffeine is in that drink?)
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Last reviewed: August 2020
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Is it possible for pregnant women to have coffee? TEA.RU
Coffee is, without a doubt, one of the most popular beverages that people drink almost all over the world. This is an axiom that does not require proof. For many of us, coffee has long become a tradition, and for some, it is an integral part of our lifestyle. There are people among us who cannot imagine the morning without a cup of strong aromatic drink. If we don’t get the “next dose” of caffeine in the morning, it seems to us that the world around us has lost its colors, the mood is hopelessly spoiled, and in general the day didn’t work out initially.
According to statistics, women drink coffee more often than the strong half of humanity. And then the day comes when a woman finds out that she is pregnant. For many, the question immediately arises as to whether it is possible to drink coffee during pregnancy, how an invigorating drink can affect the health of the child and mother. Is it possible to drink coffee during pregnancy - this is a rather difficult question that has long been of concern to scientists around the world. Opinions on this matter are very different, many scientists study the use of coffee during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is still no clear answer to this question. But there are certain studies, the data of which will help to understand this issue.
If we delve deeper into this problem, there are many more questions:
• Is it possible for pregnant women to drink natural coffee or is it better to give preference to an instant drink? • What kind of coffee can pregnant women drink, and in what cases? • Should coffee be avoided early in pregnancy or is it necessary later? • If there is a ban on this drink, why not coffee during pregnancy? • How much coffee can pregnant women, if the doctor allows?
And these are far from all the questions that a woman asks herself when she finds out about her “interesting position”. After all, many do not want to give up the morning charge of vivacity, but not a single woman would definitely want to harm the unborn baby, which is natural. So, pregnancy and caffeine - let's try to figure it out.
Coffee during pregnancy: yes or no
The question of whether it is possible to drink coffee during pregnancy can only be answered by a doctor who observes her. The fact is that coffee as such has some “contraindications”. Both in early pregnancy and later, and indeed for women, even if they are not in a “special position”, coffee is not useful if:
• history of chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as gastritis, hyperacidity, peptic ulcer, and others; • there is a tendency to high blood pressure, which is already characteristic of pregnant women due to natural physiological reasons; • Pregnancy occurs during the hot summer months, as drinking caffeinated drinks can lead to dehydration. • coffee in early pregnancy is contraindicated if a woman has early toxicosis, accompanied by dizziness and nausea; • a lady "in position" was diagnosed with high cholesterol levels in the blood and in some other conditions. Thus, drinking or not drinking coffee can be decided only after the pregnant woman is fully examined and registered for pregnancy. Timely early visit to the doctor is the key to the health of both mother and baby.
Examination will allow you to choose the way of life that will be as healthy as possible and contribute to the easy bearing of a child at the very beginning of the journey. The effect of coffee on pregnancy can be different, depending on the general health of the expectant mother and some other factors.
Can I drink instant coffee during pregnancy?
What is instant coffee? Good instant coffee is prepared using sublimation processes and other technologies from natural coffee. The result is a drink rich in micro and macro elements, beneficial nutrients and other compounds. This coffee has all the useful qualities of the original product, polished taste and aroma.
It is worth noting that instant coffee, in comparison with natural coffee, has a lower caffeine content. Accordingly, if there are no contraindications, then instant coffee is possible for pregnant women, but without much fanaticism. If 1 cup a day will not hurt the expectant mother and baby, then 5-6 cups of instant coffee during pregnancy are strongly not recommended by experts.
Natural coffee during pregnancy
According to research, natural coffee contains 30-40% more caffeine than its soluble counterparts. Because of this, natural coffee has a more pronounced effect on the nervous system of the human body, has a pronounced stimulating effect and can affect the development of the fetus.
Scientists have conducted a number of studies on the long-term effects of coffee on pregnancy. In the course of these studies, it was found that natural coffee during gestation affects the formation of certain brain structures, which can lead to behavioral abnormalities. Such deviations may not appear immediately, not in infancy, but at the age of 9-10 years.
This may be hyperactivity or even aggressive conduct of the child. There is also evidence that in the future a child whose mother abused caffeine-rich drinks during pregnancy is prone to the development of malignant hypertension and various metabolic disorders.
If the pregnancy proceeds without complications, and there are no additional contraindications, then natural coffee in a volume of up to 200 ml is acceptable and does not harm either the mother or the fetus. Can pregnant women drink coffee with milk? Definitely yes! And the more milk you add to your usual drink, the more benefit and less harmful effects on the body of the mother and fetus.
Can I drink decaffeinated coffee during pregnancy?
We have already said that there are cases when coffee during pregnancy is strictly contraindicated. In this case, many coffee drinkers mistakenly assume that decaffeinated coffee can be an alternative. Such a drink is in the assortment of almost every specialized store. Moreover, sellers often recommend such a product to women "in position."
Please note! Doctors do not categorically recommend using decaffeinated coffee, since, among other things, such a product contains substances in large enough quantities that are in no way useful when carrying a fetus: • essential oils; • fineness; • resins; • cafestol, etc. These substances are able to very quickly "wash out" calcium from the body of a woman, which is so necessary for the formation of the bones of the fetal skeleton. Thus, decaffeinated coffee during pregnancy is not the best solution and not at all a harmless drink. Its amount should not exceed 1 cup per day if your doctor has allowed you.
When can pregnant women drink coffee?
In some cases, it is worth noting in fairness, pregnant women can drink coffee and a drink can even be useful. These are the cases when: • the expectant mother has a low level of hemoglobin, which is confirmed by the results of laboratory tests; • with confirmed iron deficiency anemia; • with chronic hypotension, that is, if a pregnant woman has low blood pressure; • there are some deviations in cardiac activity that require correction. In this case, the ideal option is latte during pregnancy. It is better to cook it like espresso from a coffee machine, to which a large amount of natural milk is added, which replenishes the deficiency of calcium, potassium and other substances useful for the body of the pregnant woman and the fetus.
How coffee affects pregnancy is still being studied by many scientists, and each time more and more contradictory data are found. It follows from this that there is no complete picture of how coffee affects pregnancy in modern medical science. Is coffee allowed during pregnancy is a question that only your doctor can answer, but in this case you yourself must realize and take full responsibility for all possible consequences. Why take risks if herbal teas, drinks made from natural berries and many other tasty and healthy things can be useful for the health of the unborn baby. A habit is a powerful thing, but it differs in that it can be abandoned at any time if it becomes irrelevant or harmful. And tea ceremonies can be an excellent alternative for you, because it is not only tasty, but also very interesting.
Coffee during pregnancy: a complete guide to all the do's and don'ts
When a woman sees "two lines" on her test, her life begins to change that same day. In this life, there are more good habits (timely sleep, proper nutrition, moderate exercise) and less bad habits (alcohol, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy food). Coffee as a potentially dangerous product, around which there is a lot of controversy, often falls under the barrier of prohibitions.
Even without any pregnancy, coffee often raises a number of questions and concerns in people, so the debate around this drink is quite understandable and justified. But our task is to separate myth from reality and figure out when restrictions make sense and when they are a pointless obstacle to a fulfilling joyful lifestyle.
How does coffee affect the body of a pregnant woman?
Before talking about some special effect of coffee on a pregnant woman, let's refresh our memory of what generally happens to us when we drink coffee:
remember, is responsible for a good mood. This hormone of joy very willingly “jumps out” in response to a shot of espresso or cappuccino and makes us feel good.
Under the influence of dopamine, it is easier for us to play sports, we become more enduring and notice less pain in the muscles. It also improves overall performance.
If there is too much caffeine (read - dopamine), the suppression of serotonin production begins. This leads to increased anxiety and can provoke depression.
In parallel, under the influence of caffeine, adrenaline is released, another hormone that is responsible for our good mood and cheerfulness.
In most cases, coffee stimulates our heart to beat faster. The rhythm of the heartbeat accelerates and at the same time the pressure rises.
The theophylline contained in coffee acts on the intercostal muscles and muscles of the diaphragm, as a result of which our breathing becomes more relaxed and easy.
The excretory systems (diuretic and intestines) are stimulated - under the influence of caffeine we feel the desire to visit the restroom faster.
Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system. The peak of this action occurs in the first hour or two after drinking coffee, then for an average of 3-4 hours the breakdown of caffeine in the blood occurs, at which time many people have difficulty falling asleep.
What changes when a pregnant woman drinks coffee? In addition to the above phenomena, the following important parameters should be additionally indicated:
the process of removing caffeine from the woman's body slows down;
increased fetal heart rate;
increased fetal activity;
Excessive use creates possible risks for the child.
It is the last item on this list that is cause for concern and doubt about the admissibility of coffee in the diet of a pregnant woman. Below we describe in detail what these risks are and in what cases concerns can be justified.
Can pregnant women drink coffee?
Let's start with a high-profile peer-reviewed study published in the BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine. Professor Jack James from Reykjavik University in Iceland conducted a series of studies in 2020 and concluded that there is no safe level of caffeine intake for pregnant women: even the smallest amount can negatively affect the development of the fetus. However, Mr. James' colleagues from other countries categorically disagree with him. The National Health Service, the European Food Safety Authority, and the American and British Colleges of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend limit but not eliminate caffeine intake during pregnancy . The research paper was deemed "too panicky" and inconsistent with the accepted evidence.
“There are so many do's and don'ts associated with pregnancy, and the last thing we want to do is cause unnecessary worry. After all, women need to be sure that caffeine can be consumed in moderation during pregnancy,” says Dr. Luc Grzeskowiak, a pharmacist at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
Most doctors around the world agree that drinking up to 200 mg of caffeine per day (1-2 cups of coffee) is a completely acceptable limit that will not harm either mother or child.
Thinking about the amount of caffeine consumed per day, it is very important to remember that it is added not only from your cups of cappuccino, but also from other products (energy drinks, tea, cola, chocolate, cocoa).
The World Health Organization confirms that excess caffeine consumption may be associated with problems (fetal growth restriction, birth weight loss, preterm birth or stillbirth).
Is coffee allowed in early pregnancy (first trimester)?
The first trimester is the time when the foundation of the future life is laid, the most exciting and unpredictable. It is during this period that most miscarriages occur. And if we talk about coffee, then, according to studies, such miscarriages in the early stages are indeed more common in women who drink this drink often and a lot. However no one can say for sure whether high caffeine intake is a threat to the fetus or whether constant coffee consumption is a marker of a failed pregnancy (increased aversion to coffee, along with nausea and vomiting, is a feature of a healthy pregnancy).
Thus, we conclude that for a healthy woman with a healthy pregnancy, moderate coffee consumption is quite acceptable .
Can I drink coffee during the second trimester?
The second trimester is the calmest time for a future mother: by this moment the most dangerous milestones have been passed and there is no need to be afraid for the child's viability. Often it is during this period that all those strange and unexpected taste preferences of pregnant women fall, and coffee often becomes such an object of desire. If you do not have strict medical contraindications, you can continue to drink your favorite drink without any worries. The main thing is not to get carried away (remember about 200 mg of caffeine per day). To be completely calm, dilute coffee with milk. To minimize risks, doctors recommend drinking your coffee in the morning.
Is coffee allowed in late pregnancy (3rd trimester)?
The last trimester again increases the risk that the baby will leave the mother's body earlier than necessary, so if you are not sure about your health and the health of the fetus, it is better to reduce coffee consumption to a minimum at this time. Many studies indicate that in the third trimester of pregnancy, coffee had a negative effect on the condition of the child (premature birth, miscarriage). On the other hand, scientists tend to assume that mothers who drink a lot of coffee in late pregnancy also allow themselves other questionable products (alcohol, tobacco), and this greatly distorts the picture of research.
Benefits and harms of coffee for pregnant women
As we have already found out, many studies have shown that it is unwise to drink coffee (or in general any caffeinated drink) during pregnancy in large quantities. Unfortunately, the publication of this information at one time gave rise to a lot of rewritten materials in which it was no longer possible to trace the connection with the original and see the important mention of the amount of caffeine. Meanwhile, in the case of coffee and pregnancy, the most important thing is not to overdo it (as, indeed, in many other areas of our lives).
Benefits of coffee during pregnancy
Coffee has many pleasant and beneficial effects that do not disappear when a pregnant woman drinks it. So, for example, coffee for pregnant women with low blood pressure might be a good idea. Thanks to the effect of caffeine, the pressure rises and the well-being of the expectant mother improves.
Coffee with milk will also benefit pregnant women: it is a good source of calcium, which is so necessary for the harmonious development of the child and maintaining the health of the mother. Latte is an ideal coffee drink during pregnancy: milk takes up more cup volume, which simultaneously reduces the effect of caffeine and replenishes calcium stores.
Coffee is an effective remedy against edema characteristic of pregnant women (diuretic effect).
Do not forget that it is useful for pregnant women to be in a good mood, and coffee certainly helps to lift it.
Harm of coffee during pregnancy
As we remember, there is a version that caffeine consumption during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of infertility, birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and fetal growth retardation. However, this version is not sufficiently proven.
What we know for sure is that coffee will be harmful to pregnant women who are prone to hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), as well as to those who are deficient in calcium, potassium and phosphorus (caffeine does little to flush out these elements). Also, coffee is contraindicated in women with hypertonicity (additional stimulation with caffeine can really cause a miscarriage).
Another unpleasant consequence of pregnant women taking coffee is additional stimulation of the excretory systems. Not a very pleasant thing, given that a woman in position already wants to go to the toilet more often than usual. However, any drink stimulates our kidneys to work more actively, so this is a controversial argument "against".
Which coffee is safer during pregnancy?
If you are not ready to give up coffee, but want to minimize the possible risks, it is worthwhile to figure out in advance which type of coffee is best for you.
Natural bean coffee
Classic coffee made from beans has the highest caffeine content, especially if the coffee is made in Turkish and the blend includes a high percentage of Robusta (this type of coffee has almost twice as much caffeine as Arabica). It is worth drinking no more than one cup a day, and also pay attention to the content of the blend (the ratio of robusta to arabica).
A standard cup of Americano (70 ml.), Espresso (30 ml.) or Cappuccino (180 ml.) contains about 50-70 mg of caffeine (they use the same amount of coffee - 1 shot).
Instant coffee contains less caffeine in most cases than coffee beans. Doctors believe that a pregnant woman can afford up to two servings of such a drink. 1 teaspoon (without a slide) of instant coffee contains 30–50 mg of caffeine.
Perhaps the safest option for those who value fragrance and ritual more than the effect produced. In decafe, caffeine is removed by 97-99%, which means that any risks are reduced to almost zero.