If you happen to be pregnant, you have to make sure that you and your unborn baby are both healthy and strong. Although it is very difficult, you have to be able to restrain yourself from doing such irresponsible habits such as consuming alcohol or smoking. It is also good if you can keep yourself from food and beverages that contain caffeine. It seems that there are several side effects of caffeine on fetus that you haven’t known before.
What is Caffeine?
If you haven’t realized it yet, caffeine is actually like a drug, similar to alcohol or nicotine. Caffeine is also addictive since many people tend to crave cola, coffee or any caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine is such stimulant which can be found in tea, coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, frozen deserts, gum, chocolate, and several over-the-counter medicines. It is mentioned by the Mayo Clinic that consuming caffeine more than 500 mg per day may lead to several health problems such as anxiety, headaches, muscle tremors, irregular/fast heartbeat, nausea or other grastrointestinal problems, irritability, restlessness, nervousness, and insomnia in adults.
Side Effects of Caffeine on Fetus and Unborn Babies
Besides these unhealthy effects on body, there are several others that may become the most dangerous consequence during the pregnancy. The chemical contained in the caffeine can bring lasting effects on the unborn babies growing inside the womb.
- Low Birth Weight
First side of effect of consuming caffeine during pregnancy is the low weight of the baby birth. Although The March of Dimes claims that caffeine brings very small effect on the birth weight, recent research shows that consuming too much caffeine during the pregnancy can reduce the baby’s weight. This low birth weight may lead to greater problem in the future for the baby as the low weight is always associated with the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Increased Risk of Miscarriage
From the study conducted in March, 2008 in “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology”, the pregnant women who consume caffeine more than 200 mg every day (equal to two cups of coffee) may double their risk to suffer from miscarriage. Several other studies on this matter also claim that drinking three or more cups of coffee each day may also increase the risk of miscarriage.
- Reduced Blood Flowing to the Fetus
As mentioned in the articles published in 2008, consuming too much caffeine may bring a vaso-constrictive effect on the pregnant women. It means the caffeine can reduce the blood flow to the fetus and the placenta. The improper flow of blood between the unborn baby and the mother can lead to neurological development, birth defects, or preterm delivery.
- Possible Leukemia Risk
From the study conducted on January 2009, as published on ScienceDaily.com, the large amount of caffeine being consumed during pregnancy may lead to the DNA alterations which are found frequently in newborns. These DNA alterations are highly likely to lead to the increased risk of leukemia in the future.
- Less Time Sleeping, Faster Heart Rate and Breathing
When caffeine is reaching the placenta, the effects on the growing baby will also be similar to those of adults. It is reported by OTIS (The Organization of Teratology Information Specialist) that pregnant women who consume caffeine more than 500 mg per day will have babies with tremors, faster heart rates, less time spent sleeping and increased breathing rate in the days after the birth.
These are all the caffeine effects on fetus for the pregnant women. So, if you want your babies to be strong and healthy, don’t consume caffeine for a while.