Pregnancy is a difficult time in a woman’s life because she has to eat for two people, given the development of the fetus and her health together.

During this time, doctors tell women about things they can and cannot do.

That certainly makes women more careful about the food they consume and the activities they can do.

Illustration (shutterstock)
Coffee illustration. (shutterstock)
One such concern is whether drinking coffee will be more dangerous for its caffeine content, which has the potential to pose a risk to the unborn child.

Various guidelines about how much caffeine is acceptable for pregnant women to drink say that it is safe for women to consume between 200 to 300 mg every day.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia recommend not to exceed 300 mg per day, even if they have to wait for a review.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommend limiting caffeine intake to 200 mg or less per day.

According to the advice outlined by EPSA, three cups of instant coffee may be consumed by pregnant women.

However, EPSA says brewed coffee contains more caffeine, so it cannot be consumed in the same way.

The reason for this limitation is suggested because caffeine digests and metabolizes at a much slower rate in pregnant women.

The condition can potentially reach the fetus through the placenta and enter the bloodstream.

A baby who is still in the developmental stage will not be able to fend off the risks associated with caffeine absorption.

When exposed to caffeine, it collects in the body and brain of the unborn baby.

A review of studies analyzing how caffeine affects pregnancy shows a higher likelihood for low birth weight, early labor and miscarriage.

Treasure McGuire, associate professor (Pharmacology) at Bond University, said that all studies that show caffeine consumption can affect infant development are merely observational and incidental.

Therefore, a causal relationship is not possible with established pharmacological studies.

Hannah Dahlen, associate professor of obstetrics and associations, School of Nursing and Midwifery at Western Sydney University, said that women have a natural aversion to coffee during the early stages of their pregnancy.

This also happens when the possibility of miscarriage is at the highest level, making it easier for women to avoid drinking altogether.

Dahlen recommends decaf coffee and tea for women who still want their daily dose.

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