Friday, January 11, 2013
Caffeine during pregnancy
Caffeine is one of the things which can cross the placenta and reach your developing baby, and the baby cannot metabolize caffeine like an adult can.
Significant amounts have been found in the amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood and appears in the urine of newborns. In addition, unborn babies and newborns do not have enough of the enzymes on their own needed to break down caffeine. For this reason, there is much controversy on how much caffeine is safe or if it should be avoided altogether. We know that the less caffeine consumed, the better it is for your pregnancy.
Here is a chart of the maximum recommendation of caffeine intake for different age groups from Health Canada.
The most common sources of caffeine are found in coffee beans and tea leaves but caffeine can be found in other plants such as cocoa beans (chocolate), yerba mate and guarana.
As a stimulant caffeine is sometimes used in pharmaceutical drugs (Excedrin®) or added to products to enhance the stimulating effect of the product. Soft drinks and energy drinks commonly have caffeine added to them in high doses to enhance the effects of taste and caffeine’s stimulating effects.
One last thing to keep in mind:
During pregnancy caffeine is metabolized much more slowly in the second and third trimester and may take up to 10.5 hours (from the normal 2.5 – 4.5 hours) to be cleared from the body.