Caffeine is a psychoactive drug act as a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee, cacao plants, chocolate and many beverages. It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, helping you to stay alert and preventing the onset of tiredness.
Research has shown that caffeine may have a number of health-promoting properties. Which include antioxidant activity, increase memory stimulate your brain, makes you awake, work as a painkiller and much more. These therapeutic benefits do NOT apply to pregnant women; however.
This article examines the latest research on caffeine and your health.
What is exactly the caffeine?
If we look at the Biochemistry of the caffeine we can see it is chemically
C8H10N4O2. Caffeine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant of the methylxanthine class.
The half biological life of caffeine is 3 -7 hours in adult and 65- 137 hours in an infant with duration of the action 3 to 4 hours and caffeine say goodbye to the body by urination. This little devil mimics adenosine and binds to the same targets in the brain. During the day, your working brain naturally builds up its levels of adenosine. When they reach a threshold concentration, they bind to special receptors that react by launching the instructions to make your body sleepy but caffeine binds to it first and Caffeine helps you stay awake by binding to adenosine receptors in the brain without activating them. This inhibits the effects of adenosine, leading to reduced tiredness. According to some research, caffeine may also increase blood adrenaline levels and increase brain activity of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine.
If you are pregnant beware of caffeine.
If coffee holds a bunch of health benefits then why there is the big NO for pregnant women. Well, it goes like that.
- Yes, caffeine stimulates your brain but wait you hold a baby. It not only stimulates your brain activity but also the metabolism of the fetus as Caffeine crosses the placenta to your baby.
- Caffeine makes you feel more energetic, it increases your blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are not recommended during pregnancy.
- Caffeine is a diuretic which results in the increased frequency of urination. This causes the reduction in your body fluid levels and can lead to dehydration which is not at all good for the baby.
- Your body is mature, you may be able to handle the amounts of caffeine you feed your body, but your baby cannot. Metabolism of the fetus is still maturing and cannot fully metabolize the caffeine. Any amount of caffeine may cause changes in your baby’s sleep pattern or normal movement pattern in the later stages of pregnancy. Remember, caffeine binds the adenosine receptor without activating them and can keep both you and your baby awake.
- Numerous investigations carried out on animals have shown that caffeine can cause birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, reduced fertility, and increase the risk of low-birth-weight offspring and other reproductive problems. Well, there is no data available for humans, but what’s wrong with playing safe.
- The less caffeine you consume, the better you live. Experts have stated that the moderate levels of caffeine have not been found to have a negative effect on pregnancy. The definition of moderate varies anywhere from 150 mg – 250 mg a day, Some experts say more than 150 mg of caffeine a day is too much, while others say more than 300 mg a day is too much
- According to the Yale’s Associate Chair of Pediatric Research and a senior researcher Caffeine During Pregnancy May Damage Your Baby’s Heart.
- Dr. Verena Sengpiel, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Sahlgrenska Academy of Sahlgrenska University in Goteborg, Sweden investigated caffeine consumption by nearly 60,000 women in the Norwegian study and found that the Coffee in Pregnancy Tied to Smaller, Later Newborns.
- Your caffeine consumption during pregnancy may enhance the risk of your miscarriage.
- You love caffeine, alright. But caffeine intake during pregnancy will cause risk of obesity in the baby.
have a happy baby and say goodbye to caffeine.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
- Organization of Teratology Information Services
- Williams Obstetrics Twenty-Second Ed. Cunningham, F. Gary, et al, Ch. 8.
- March of Dimes http://www.marchofdimes.com
- Maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage: A prospective cohort study. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 198, e1-8.. Weng, X., Odouli, R. & Li, D.K. (2008).
- Caffeine and miscarriage risk. Epidemiology, 19 (1), 55-62. Savitz, D.A., Chan, R.L., Herring, A.H. & Hartmann, K.E. (2008).
- Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of obesity in offspring: a prospective cohort study. Int J Obes (Lond). Apr; 39(4): 658–664.D. K Li, J R Ferber, and R Odouli. 2015.
- An update on the mechanisms of the psychostimulant effects of caffeine. J. Neurochem. May;105(4):1067-79. Ferré S. 2008.