There are many things that you probably miss during pregnancy, such as the occasional glass of wine or being able to fit into your favorite little black dress. Sometimes, cravings for certain things can become too overwhelming and you may find yourself giving into temptations. For example, it's not uncommon to hear of a woman having the occasional cup of coffee during pregnancy, although research has shown that it's a good idea to steer clear of caffeine while you're expecting. While drinking a couple cups of joe may not seem like a huge deal, recent research shows that it may lead to serious problems.
Scientists from Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have discovered that mothers who drink just two cups of coffee a day have an increased risk of having a baby with a low birth weight than those who do not indulge in this beverage.
The dangers of caffeine
Researchers examined 59,000 pregnant Norwegian women in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. They found that coffee intake was associated with a low birth weight, even if women followed the official medical recommendation that they limit caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams a day.
This is an important finding, since WebMD reported in 2010 that a position statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day won't increase their risks of miscarriage or preterm birth. However, these recent findings suggest that there may still be other dangers associated with consuming caffeine during pregnancy, such as low birth weights. Babies born at a low weight run the risk of experiencing a number of adverse health problems such as respiratory distress and bleeding in the brain.
If you've already had a few cups of coffee during your pregnancy, don't panic, since the researchers stressed that more studies need to be conducted regarding these findings.
"We need to stress that our study did not examine whether caffeine is the specific mechanism substance by which responsible for the fetus is being at greater risk of low birth weight," said researcher researcher Verena Sengpiel. "Nor did we look at whether these babies actually had special health problems during the neonatal period. Additional research is needed before we can say for sure what our finding actually means for pregnant women and their babies."
While more research needs to be done, you may still want to think twice before you reach for that morning cup of coffee.
What should you be eating?
It can be difficult to know what you should and shouldn't consume during pregnancy, since the research has fluctuated so much in the past few years. For example, WebMD points out that for years women were told to avoid fish while pregnant. However, not all fish is bad for pregnancy. While women should avoid seafood that is high in mercury such as swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel as well as raw fish, salmon and other fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids may actually be beneficial to you and your baby.
It's also important to remember that despite what you may have heard, you're not actually eating for two. Talk to your doctor about how many extra calories you should be consuming each day during pregnancy, and you may be surprised to learn how small this number is.
Out of all the things you gave up during your pregnancy, which do you miss most? What have you been told about caffeine during pregnancy? Comment on it all below!