Being pregnant comes with a host of anxieties and unknown answers.
One of the most common revolves around caffeine consumption while pregnant.
Online forums everywhere have moms-to-be asking, “can you drink coffee while pregnant?”
What is most problematic is that everyone has their own opinion on the matter.
While one person says no, the next person will say yes.
This article will help clear the air surrounding the topic and provide insight into the reasons behind others’ opinions.
Can You Drink Coffee While Pregnant?
The short and fast answer to this question is yes – you can drink coffee while pregnant.
However, while you can consume the popular drink, you have to be mindful of the amount you take in while expecting.
What Do Recent Studies Say About Drinking Coffee During Pregnancy?
There are a variety of studies out there that extensively review the ramifications of drinking coffee and caffeine intake during pregnancy.
The angles associated with the studies surround the physical health of the baby as well as maternal health conditions.
While a recent article from the National Institutes of Health offers that even moderate caffeine consumption can lead to lower birth weights, Penn Medicine states that drinking a small amount of caffeine daily can decrease your chances of having gestational diabetes.
It is important to note that new studies and tests are being conducted all the time.
Therefore, what is true today may not be the case tomorrow if further research brings other data to light.
Your routine visits with your doctor or midwife will serve as opportunities to learn updated guidelines and information.
Effects of Coffee During Pregnancy
When you drink coffee or caffeine in excess during pregnancy, you may find that issues surface that affect both the mother and child.
How Does Caffeine Affect the Expecting Mother?
There are several ways in which caffeine can affect you as a pregnant woman.
Some of the most common include
- Increased levels of dehydration
- Fluctuations in anxiety
- Lesser chance of gestational diabetes
- Elevated blood pressure
While these issues will vary by individual, all of them listed can be related specifically to caffeine consumption during pregnancy.
While pregnant, a woman’s hormones are continually changing.
These changes can also lead to fluctuations in health – both mental and physical – that may or may not be impacted by the consumption of caffeine.
How Does Caffeine Affect a Fetus?
There are many different opinions when it comes to the ways that caffeine can affect a fetus.
While overall, it is safe to ingest while pregnant, there are certain circumstances where it isn’t recommended.
Is Coffee Safe for Baby?
In general, coffee is safe for babies.
There aren’t any ingredients within the product that are especially harmful to a baby in utero.
However, it does come highly recommended that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to 200mg per day to not affect the baby negatively.
Does Drinking Coffee While Pregnant Make Your Baby Hyper?
Anything you ingest gets passed down to your baby when you are pregnant.
Coffee is no exception.
While there is no correlation between the hyperactivity level of your baby after consuming caffeine, it can be common for you to notice heightened activity after eating, especially when you eat items high in sugar.
Therefore, if you add milk and sugar or coffee creamer to your caffeinated beverage, you may notice an increase in movement from the baby.
However, this is not an indicator of hyperactivity issues.
Are There Any Benefits of Caffeine During Pregnancy?
As mentioned previously, there have been recent studies by experts that speculate there are benefits to caffeine consumption during pregnancy.
While some say there is a correlation between caffeine and a reduced chance of gestational diabetes, caffeine has also been known to reduce anxiety.
Facts and Myths About Taking Coffee During Pregnancy
The stance on whether drinking coffee during pregnancy is acceptable or not will vary with every individual, doctor, and researcher you come across.
Along with differing opinions, you will find several myths associated with the act.
Caffeine Causes Birth Defects in Humans
You will often hear from people that if you drink coffee or caffeine-based beverages while pregnant, your child will be born with congenital disabilities.
While this was a valid concern at one time for those who consumed high levels of caffeine throughout pregnancy, it has proven to be a myth.
Studies have found no association between caffeine – even high levels – and children being born with any type of birth defect.
Caffeine Causes Miscarriages
It has long been a concern that drinking caffeine, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, can cause miscarriages to occur.
While there are different thoughts on this matter, it typically surrounds those who consume more than 200mg of caffeine in a day.
While most studies do not see risks associated with ingesting caffeine and miscarriage, it is the recommendation that you abide by the limit guidelines.
A Pregnant Woman Should Not Consume Any Caffeine
Although there have been significant studies performed and statements issued that say otherwise, there will always be individuals who stand by their opinion (or unwarranted myths) that a pregnant woman should not consume any caffeine.
While most medical professionals recommend that you limit consumption to 200mg each day, the consensus is that caffeine during pregnancy is safe.
How Much Caffeine Is Safe During Pregnancy?
As mentioned above, the general guidelines state that pregnant women should aim for 200mg or less of caffeine each day.
However, to stay at this level, you need to understand the different sources that caffeine shows up in outside of just coffee and pop.
How Much Coffee is Too Much During Pregnancy?
When you are abiding by the recommended level of 200mg of caffeine per day during pregnancy, you will need to have an accurate depiction of how much is in each coffee you drink.
While a standard cup of coffee has around 100mg of caffeine, other forms like espresso or instant coffee may have more or less.
Therefore, you may be able to consume two cups of coffee per day during pregnancy, but more than that if you choose a different preparation of the popular beverage.
What Are the Safety Precautions When Taking Coffee During Pregnancy?
The most important things to remember when enjoying coffee during pregnancy are to be conscious of the following
- Caffeine amounts within the drink
- Calorie and sugar levels in the drink
- Additional caffeine consumption throughout the day
- Number of coffee drinks consumed
Primarily, you need to be mindful of your caffeine intake as it relates to the big picture of your entire day.
While drinking one cup of regular black coffee in the morning is a non-issue, having several high-calorie coffees in addition to chocolate, sodas, and other items can be problematic.
Additionally, while it is rare, there are certain circumstances where even small amounts of caffeine can be detrimental to your unborn child.
For that reason, it is always beneficial to consult with your doctor or midwife for appropriate advice before consuming caffeine.
When Can I Resume Drinking Coffee?
If you were consuming large amounts of caffeine and drinking several cups of coffee per day pre-pregnancy, you will not be able to return to those levels until you are done with breastfeeding, if that is the route you choose to take.
While you can drink coffee and caffeine daily while pregnant and throughout your breastfeeding journey, it should be at a more limited level than what you took pre-pregnancy.
Foods and Drinks That Contain Caffeine
While we briefly touched on this above, it is necessary to emphasize further that there are more items than just coffee and soda that contain caffeine.
While you will also find the ingredient in beverages such as tea and energy drinks, it’s also prevalent in certain foods.
Some of those items include
- Snack bars with guarana
- Mocha and coffee-flavored yogurt and ice cream
- Decaffeinated coffee (sometimes up to 20mg of caffeine!)
- Perky jerky
- Flavored water and drink enhancers (some varieties)
- Certain breath fresheners
- Sunflower seeds (certain varieties)
- Sturm foods instant oatmeal
What Is the Amount of Caffeine in Common Foods and Beverages?
The amount of caffeine that you will find in different foods and drinks will vary depending on what you are consuming.
A can of Coke and a Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate bar will both contain 30mg of caffeine.
However, you will find 75mg in Perky Jerky, 95mg in a cup of coffee, and 140mg in one serving of energized sunflower seeds.
What Medicines Contain Caffeine?
The most commonly used medications that contain caffeine are pain relievers.
Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, Excedrin, and Aleve all have varying amounts of caffeine within their ingredients.
You will also find amounts of caffeine in Midol, which helps with menstruation relief.
Additionally, there is a fair amount of the product in many weight loss pills.
The inclusion of this ingredient helps to propel your energy level up and make you more productive and active.
There are also various prescription medications, such as Norgesic, Fiorinal, and Synalgos-DC, that include caffeine as an ingredient.
Frequently Asked Questions
When pregnant, the number of questions you might have regarding what you can and cannot do is astronomical.
There is never a shortage of inquiries.
Our frequently asked questions below will help curb your anxiety regarding caffeine consumption while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Is Caffeine Safe During Breastfeeding?
Yes, caffeine is safe during breastfeeding as long as it is not consumed in large amounts.
The general guidelines state that you can safely consume 200mg or less of caffeine daily while pregnant, and the recommendation is set at 300mg per day while breastfeeding.
It is important to remember that caffeine passes through your breastmilk.
If large amounts are consumed, it may cause agitation, poor sleeping, and weight gain challenges in your young infant.
Is One Coffee a Day OK While Pregnant?
Yes, it is okay if you consume one coffee per day while pregnant.
As long as the coffee is under 200mg of caffeine and there are no additional concerns that would require you to abstain from drinking caffeine while pregnant, one coffee is acceptable.
Ways To Cut Back on Caffeine During Pregnancy
For those who are in a routine where they consistently drink a certain amount of caffeine each day, it can be a challenge to reduce that amount once pregnant.
It is worth noting that quitting caffeine cold turkey, primarily if you are used to large amounts, can tremendously impact your body.
To avoid the downfalls of caffeine withdrawal, there are a few steps you can take to cut back gradually without too much shock on your body.
- Gradually mix decaf coffee into full strength
- Switch to tea for midday drinks
- Buy coffee flavoring to have the taste without the caffeine
- Go for short walks for bursts of energy
These substitutions and activities will help you wean off the full amount of caffeine that your body has adjusted to while working to keep your energy levels up.
When Can I Resume Drinking Coffee?
When pregnant or breastfeeding, you do not have to stop your coffee drinking habits.
While you should strive to stay within certain caffeine levels, you do not have to abstain from the beverage entirely.
However, if you were a heavy coffee drinker before becoming pregnant, you are likely looking forward to the day when you can resume that behavior.
If that is the case, you will safely be able to continue pre-pregnancy coffee drinking habits after you have given birth and completed your breastfeeding journey if you choose to go that route.
It is standard to wonder – can you drink coffee while pregnant?
However, it isn’t necessary to have anxiety surrounding the inquiry.
It is perfectly safe to consume coffee and caffeinated drinks and foods while pregnant so long as you stay within the appropriate guidelines.