Do you miss your morning cup of Joe? You don’t have to anymore. Once you read this article you will know how to get back that morning energy back without risking the baby. So jump on to read your complete guide to the amount of caffeine during pregnancy and breastfeeding:
What does the study (studies) say?
There have been several studies to determine the safe amount of caffeine for pregnant women. However, the latest study which concludes that 200 mg should be the upper limit, has been considered the most reliable, even though this data remains debatable. This study was done on pregnant mice.It was found that the embryos of those with high caffeine content had decreased cardiac function and therefore a thinner layer of tissue separating some of the heart’s chambers. According to researchers, the biological effects are the same on human fetuses as well.
Another study shows that women consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine content increase the risk of miscarriage to 25% which is double the amount of non-caffeine drinkers.
Moreover, pregnant women who are more sensitive to caffeine takes a longer time to break it down in their body.
An additional concern is that the caffeine could cross placenta thus hindering the development of the fetus. This is what one study has to say:
“Caffeine is rapidly absorbed and crosses the placenta freely. After ingestion of 200 mg caffeine, intervillous blood flow in the placenta was found to be reduced by 25%. Cytochrome P450 1A2, the principal enzyme involved in caffeine metabolism, is absent in the placenta and the fetus.”
Due to different studies, many experts have different thresholds depending on the credibility they grant to various research content some say less than 100 mg and some 50 mg.
Caffeine’s effects on human body –
Let’s notice the effects of caffeine on a normal human being when you cross the limit of 400mg per day:
Effect on our central nervous system: makes it more alert, contributes to anxiety and sleep disorders, Digestive system: increases stomach acid, acts as a diuretic, Circulatory and Respiratory system: makes your blood pressure go up for a short period of time, Skeletal and Muscular system: interfere with absorption and metabolism of calcium.
Caffeine’s half-life increases during pregnancy. In infants, when it passes through breast milk, it can stay for up to 160 hours.
There is a ready passage of caffeine through placenta which affects, even though in a minimal amount, fetus’s heart rate and breathing patterns when caffeine is consumed in moderate amounts. This is because of the fetus’s inability to detoxify itself from it.
Caffeine ≠ Just Coffee. Huh ?
A lot of beverages other than coffee have a significant amount of caffeine in it like tea, cola drinks, energy drinks.
Even chocolates have a huge amount of caffeine.
100 gms of cocoa powder has about 230 mg of caffeine content. So take a step back next time you slip into your mouth your favorite Lindt 90 dark chocolate.
A 70% dark chocolate bar has about 40 mg of caffeine per ounce. An ounce looks like this.
Milk chocolate has only 4-5 mg of caffeine an ounce.
Drinking hot chocolate is fine, though. 1 tbsp of cocoa powder has around 20-25 mg of caffeine. So a cup or two is okay to have in a day.
Even ice creams with high chocolate or coffee flavor can have a lot of caffeine. So try to go for light or mixed flavors.
Tea also has a high amount of caffeine even though less than coffee. The difference is however very small.
- White Tea – 30-55 mg
- Green Tea- 35-70 mg
- Oolong Tea- 50-75 mg
- Black Tea (Indian Chai)- 60-90 mg
- Caffe Latte- 80 mg
All are mentioned for an 8oz cup. Here’s how it looks like:
Since even 8 oz of cafe latte has 80 mg of caffeine other types like cappuccino, mocha or espresso is definitely more.
Here are the major differences between a latte, cappuccino, and mocha:
- Cappuccino – 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 foamed milk.The espresso is toned down with milk, but the coffee taste is still featured.
- Latte – 1/6 espresso, 4/6 steamed milk, 1/6 foamed milk.This is a milk based drink with just a little coffee.
- Mocha – 2/5 espresso, 2/5 chocolate, 1/5 steamed milk.A strong coffee with a chocolate flavor.
- Flat White – 1/3 espresso, 2/3 frothed milk.Very similar to the cappuccino, but the milk is micro-foamed and it doesn’t have the dry foam top.
- Mocha latte – 1/8 espresso, 5/8 steamed milk, 1/8 foamed milk, 1/8 hot chocolate.A latte with a hint of chocolate.
- Mochaccino – 1/3 espresso, 1/3 steamed milk, 1/3 frothed milk, 1 tbsp chocolate syrup. A cappuccino with a hint of chocolate.
A complete caffeine guide of Starbuck’s fans here. This site also has valuable information for many other coffee stores and drinks.
What amount of caffeine can I take then?
In order to prevent any complication, we would suggest reducing your caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day or take the caffeinated drink once every alternate day. Or try decaf Coffee like one here. It has great reviews too.
There is a list of herbal teas which are a much safer option and will also be beneficial to you. Read this list here.
What about when I am breastfeeding?
The limits specified for breastfeeding is 300 mg for breastfeeding mothers.Unlike wine which leaves your system after 4-5 hours so that you can bottle feed your little one for one or two sessions. Caffeine works in a very different way.
It’s half -life is 4-5 hours so if you have had 100mg of caffeine after 4 hours it will be 50mg in the next 4 hours it will be 25mg. However the amount of caffeine which enters in your milk is very less (~1%), so you don’t have to worry about it until you are having less than 300mg of caffeine.
There are many effects of caffeine noticed in newborns which include less feeding, more fussiness etc. However, each baby is different and we can’t give a definite conclusion for each mom. As long as you are limiting your intake it wouldn’t affect your milk supply or your baby. How much coffee did you have while you were pregnant/breastfeeding? Or A better question to ask would be how did you handle your caffeine craving? What substitute did you use ? Tell Toothless community in the Comments section below.