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  • Marina

Coffee intake during pregnancy and lactation

A cup of cappuccino

Coffee, one of the most beloved drinks in the world.

Is it another thing pregnant and lactating women should avoid?

Most of the recommendations say that a moderate amount of caffeine, up to 200 mg (approx. two cups of coffee) during pregnancy and lactation is safe and has no adverse effect on the fetus.

However, a recent study on caffeine intake during pregnancy showed that that might not be the case. It showed that even very small amounts of caffeine (for example, half a cup of coffee) could lead to a lower birth weight.

Of course, a low birth weight is undesirable, and can have consequences for the health of the baby.

It’s still not clear whether this lower birth weight due to caffeine intake has additional adverse effects, apart from, well, only a lower weight.

Personally, I adore coffee and would have a hard time giving it up during pregnancy. Pregnant women have to avoid so many things during pregnancy, now coffee as well?

Well ,it’s up to you, it’s your choice.

However, after reading this study, I know I would think twice before taking a sip of my favorite beverage.

How about breastfeeding?

Does caffeine pass through the milk? Does it affect the baby?

Some mothers avoid it during breastfeeding, some can’t survive the sleepless nights and long days without a cup of joe.

Caffeine does pass into the breastmilk, however, in a very small amount.

A normal caffeine intake (for example, two cups of coffee) has no adverse effects on the infant.

That said, young infants and premature babies are more susceptible to caffeine, they metabolize it slower, so the amount of caffeine the mom takes should be lower.

Once they are about 3-5 months of age, babies metabolize caffeine as quickly as adults.

So unless you are drinking 4 cups of coffee per day, or a few cans of red bull, it’s probably safe. And the baby is waking up often because that’s what babies do, not because of the caffeine in your milk.

To recap: During pregnancy, there has been some research that shows that the caffeine intake has an unwanted effect on the fetus. As there hasn’t been a ton of research done on that, take it with a grain of salt. As my pharmacology professor loved to say : “Sola dosis facit venenum”. “The dose makes the poison”, be conscious of the amount you drink, in case you do decide to continue drinking coffee/tee/soda.

During breastfeeding, the recommendation is to limit the intake to 300 mg of caffeine per day, which is plenty to give you that shot of energy and wake you up.

Please consult your doctor and/or midwife about caffeine intake and any other food restrictions during pregnancy/breastfeeding.

Enjoy your cup.

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