Monday, May 10, 2010

When not drinking coffee is good for you - and your baby

Everyday Drugs & Pregnancy: How alcohol, tobacco, & caffeine can affect the (all-new) two of youThere are so many do's and dont's when a woman is pregnant, and while the gynaecologist reminds the would-be mother of most of these things, we also have our own cultural and ethnic beliefs about pregnancy.

That aside, there's one sure thing that is NOT good for pregnant women: CAFFEINE.

Read on...
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Excessive intake of caffeine during pregnancy causes miscarriage
By Pearlyn Tham, TODAY


Most mothers-to-be make some sacrifice or other during their pregnancy. For Lena Kwek, it was giving up her favourite cuppa.

The account director, a self-confessed "hardcore coffee drinker", used to drink up to four cups of the caffeine-heavy beverage every day. But when she became pregnant with her son now one-and-a-half years old she gave it up as she had read that excessive caffeine can affect the growth of the foetus and its heartbeat.

Although the 34-year-old's gynaecologist told her that having just one cup of coffee daily is "fine" for both mother and baby, she decided to give it up altogether.

"It was very difficult at first, especially when I was feeling tired and stressed. But I gave priority to my unborn child and I would only drink decaffeinated coffee once in a blue moon," Lena told TODAY.

Likewise, marketing manager Ashley Ng, 29, used to drink three cups of coffee "on stressful days" but gave up the habit when she became pregnant. She refrained from drinking coffee even during the 15 months when she was breastfeeding her baby daughter. Now, she drinks a cup of coffee daily.

Lena and Ashley's fears are not unfounded.

A paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported that expectant women who drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis in the early months of their term face an increased risk of miscarriage.

The researchers in the United States involved in this study noted that besides coffee, caffeine can also be found in tea, colas and even hot chocolate. They also indicated that the idea of caffeine consumption having negative effects on the foetus is not new.

Caffeine and Pregnancy - How Much Is Too Much?As to why the US researchers emphasised the fact that caffeine is particularly detrimental in the early months of pregnancy, Dr Chow Kah Kiong, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Raffles Hospital, said that any agent that can affect a pregnancy is often more dangerous in the first trimester when the important organs of the foetus are being formed.

Everyday Drugs & Pregnancy: Alcohol, Tobacco, & Caffeine

But what exactly is it about caffeine that may increase the risk of miscarriage?

Professor Christopher Chen, medical director of the Christopher Chen Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Gleneagles Hospital, explained: "Caffeine crosses the placenta into the foetus. But the foetus is unable to properly metabolise the caffeine because of its under-developed metabolic system.

"Caffeine also causes blood vessels to constrict, leading to a reduced flow of blood to the placenta. This, in turn, results in foetal under-nutrition. Scientific investigators believe that caffeine can cause premature birth or possible birth defects."

But what is an uninformed mother-to-be to do if she has consumed a lot of caffeine?

Dr Chow said that while there are no measures for "removing or reducing this perceived effect of caffeine on pregnancy", it is always wise to check with one's doctor if there is "significant bleeding from the vagina and unusual pain in the lower abdomen".

Caffeine's impact on pregnancy is uncertain.(Canada Wire): An article from: Winnipeg Free Press

To Prof Chen, "a lot of caffeine" means the amount of caffeine you get by downing about five cups of coffee. But he advised pregnant women to give up coffee entirely or, at the very worst, to consume no more than one to two cups daily.

He also pointed out that caffeine can be found in cola drinks and even some medication for headaches. So, "one should be careful and be aware of excessive consumption of these products".

During her pregnancy, marketing manager Ashley cut down on her intake of chocolate, too.

"I heard that chocolate contains a little caffeine. I knew that I was responsible for my baby's health. Limiting my caffeine consumption was something within my control, unlike some other risks to my health."

Drugs, Alcohol and PregnancyIf you are pregnant, err on the side of caution and avoid taking large amounts of the following:

Intake Of Caffeine And Other Methylxanthines During Pregnancy And Risk For Adverse Effects In Pregnant Women And Their Fetuses: Tema Nord 2004:565

• According to the US Food and Drug Administration guidelines, pregnant women should avoid foods containing Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause a serious infection called listeriosis. Such foods include hot dogs, luncheon meat, refrigerated pates, certain cheeses and refrigerated smoked seafood such as salmon, cod and tuna.

• Raffles Hospital's Dr Chow Kah Kiong cited herbs and foods with hormones and drugs as examples of what expectant women should steer clear of. "These can interfere with the metabolism of cells in the body."

• Eating more than 12 ounces of cooked fish and seafood with high levels of mercury a week is not advisable, said Professor Christopher Chen.

• Also, Prof Chen recommends that food should be cooked thoroughly to destroy bacteria harmful to the pregnancy. Hence, avoid raw fish and meat. For similar reasons, fruits and vegetables containing pesticides should be washed and cleaned well. - TODAY/ar

Do caffeine, hair dye pose pregnancy risks? (Urge Coffee Drinkers to Cut Back).(Brief Article): An article from: Family Practice News


Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
Excessive intake of caffeine during pregnancy causes miscarriage
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