Remember being a kid and having your parents tell you what you can and cannot eat? It was the worst!
But good news, now you are an adult and make all your own decisions on the foods you are allowed to eat, even if your tastes have evolved from wanting rocky road ice cream to a fine chianti. And now you are pregnant! And it’s not your parents, but your doctor telling you what foods you can’t have and all of a sudden you are that little kid again.
Luckily you have matured greatly from your childish self and are now responsible. So responsible that you are able to completely give up these foods for the next nine whole months, good for you! But it’s important to know why those mean doctors “parents” are telling you to not consume these things. They, like your parents were, have your best interest at heart.
It is common knowledge that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a bad idea. This leaves many women in the role of designated driver for 9 months, helping to lower spending on Uber, taxis, or Lyft rides.
In addition to the savings on transportation, avoiding alcohol during pregnancy protects your baby from many severe complications. Alcohol can lead to low birth weight, damage to the babies nervous system, miscarriages, as well as something called fetal alcohol syndrome.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a syndrome that can cause birth defects as well as result in mental retardation. Many beverages are obvious to avoid during pregnancy such as wine, beer, champagne, and hard liquors.
However there are other foods that contain alcohol that few realize. Non-alcoholic beer still has 0.5% alcohol and fermented beverages such as Kombucha can also contain trace amounts of alcohol.
Caffeine, a staple in many wake up regimens, is a stimulant, which is why it helps you wake up and get to work in the morning! What is a stimulant for you is now a stimulant for your baby. Caffeine is found in coffee, black teas, chocolate, soft drinks, and energy drinks. Excessive caffeine intake can be harmful to your developing child, leading to low birth weight and possible birth defects. However, small amounts of caffeine are considered perfectly safe for moms and their babies during pregnancy. Moms should consume no more than 200mg of caffeine. A cup of black coffee contains between 95-200mg of caffeine, black tea has about 50mg, and a dark chocolate bar has about 50mg. If you usually consume 5 or more cups of coffee a day, try switching to decaf, which still contains 2-12mg of caffeine per cup, so make sure to keep track of your daily cups even if it is decaf!
Pregnant women deserve an award for having the willpower to abstain from these common beverages for nine months. Here’s to you!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol Use in Pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fasd/alcohol-use.html
American Pregnancy Association. Caffeine Intake During Pregnancy. Retrieved from: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/caffeine- during-pregnancy/