Caffeine Withdrawal During Pregnancy

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Studies show that there is an increased risk of miscarriage if a pregnant woman consumes more than 200 mg of caffeine per day, according to “Time” magazine. For this reason, and because caffeine can affect the development of a fetus, doctors generally recommend that expectant moms avoid caffeine during the first few months of pregnancy. In women who are used to consuming a lot of caffeine, this can cause the unpleasant symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.


Function

Caffeine is a stimulant. It increases the heart rate and blood pressure and makes you feel more alert. Too much caffeine may cause insomnia. Caffeine is known to cross the placenta and decrease blood flow to the placenta, although the specific ways it affects a developing fetus are not known.

Symptoms

Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include fatigue, headaches, an inability to concentrate and irritability. These symptoms are actually typical of women in early pregnancy who are not going through caffeine withdrawals, so quitting your morning coffee may just make your existing symptoms even worse.

Time Frame

Headaches and poor concentration usually vanish within two days of quitting caffeine, according to MotherNature.com. It may take up to a week for the rest of your symptoms, including fatigue, to dissipate.

Prevention/Solution

It’s impossible to avoid caffeine withdrawals, but you can reduce their impact. Instead of going cold turkey, gradually reduce the amount of caffeine you drink per day. Drink lots of water to flush the caffeine from your system, and replace your daily cup of joe with something equally delicious but caffeine-free and full of nutrients, such as a fruit smoothie.

Considerations

The risk of miscarriage is much less if a pregnant woman consumes under 200 mg of caffeine per day. For that reason, it is considered acceptable for a women to have 12 oz. cup of coffee (or the equivalent) each day, according to the March of Dimes, without risking the health of her baby. Note that caffeine can be found in many other foods as well as coffee, including sodas, chocolate and some painkillers.

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