Can You Drink Coffee While Pregnant?

Many moms-to-be who are coffee lovers have been asking this question for many years. Can I drink coffee while pregnant? There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that one or two cups of coffee a day won’t harm your new baby, while drinking no more than 200mg of caffeine per day is considered within safe limits for your pregnancy.

How much Caffeine is Safe during Pregnancy?

While not a ‘recommended’ amount by some physicians, 200mg of caffeine per day is considered safe for expectant mothers. This is the equivalent of one to two cups of tea or one or two small cups of coffee. Two cups of coffee isn’t enough to make you feel like you’ve truly had a cup of coffee. That said, during pregnancy, two cups of coffee a day should be just fine as long as you don’t have any health issues.

Are there any Benefits of Caffeine during Pregnancy?

Caffeine has been shown to help to improve fatigue. Fatigue during pregnancy is a common problem and low caffeine intake is often identified as one of the possible causes of fatigue. The caffeine in coffee can help to improve sleep quality and can help alleviate morning sickness.

The Effects of Caffeine while Pregnant

High levels of caffeine in pregnancy can cause babies to have a low birthweight. Low birthweight is also associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes in later life.

In very large amounts, caffeine can induce labour and result in a premature birth. Too much caffeine during pregnancy could affect the baby’s blood sugar levels and have him/her jittery.

What is the Best Type of Coffee to Drink during Pregnancy?

Regular coffee has more caffeine than decaf, so if you just can’t bear the thought of no caffeine during pregnancy, try decaf. If you are having a hard time with caffeine withdrawal symptoms, try adding milk and sugar to your coffee. Both can reduce some of the withdrawal symptoms, making it much easier for you to stop drinking caffeine during pregnancy. Or you can try drinking decaf first and cut the caffeine loose gradually.

Which substances have caffeine in them?

Caffeine is found in some drinks such as tea and cola, and also in chocolate. Some medications also contain caffeine, including painkillers and some medicines for colds and flu. It is therefore important that you limit your coffee intake during pregnancy, especially if you consume these substances as well.

How much Caffeine is in Tea vs. Coffee?

Coffee is a more concentrated drink compared to tea. Generally, we use 5g of tea leaves to make a cup of tea and 10g of coffee grinds to make a cup of coffee. Coffee is also brewed at a higher temperature than tea, which means that the caffeine levels will be higher in coffee.

A 240ml cup of black brewed tea contains 47mg caffeine, whereas a 240ml cup of green brewed tea contains 28mg caffeine. A 240ml cup of brewed coffee contains 96mg caffeine.

What are the Symptoms of Coffee Withdrawal?

Coffee withdrawal typically presents itself with the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating

How can I cut back on Caffeine without going Cold Turkey?

There’s no need to go cold turkey. Limiting your caffeine intake gradually is key.

1. If you always have coffee in the morning, try switching to lemon juice with lemonade or orange juice with sparkling water. If you want hot liquid, you can boil water and add cinnamon, apple juice concentrate, anise, fennel, ginger, cinnamon, or other spices that give the same flavour as coffee without the caffeine.

2. Limit coffee to the first 3 months, after that you can switch to decaf.

3. Switch from 2 cups of coffee a day to 1 cup of coffee and 1 cup of caffeine free herbal tea and slowly decrease the amount of coffee over the course of the day to avoid getting headaches.

4. Sleep a little longer. Caffeine can disrupt the time spent sleeping to the point where the caffeine you consume in the day will make you feel more tired in the evening. So try getting 8 hours of sleep instead of 6 in the first 3 months of pregnancy.

5. Limit caffeine in the evening, sleep in, and cut back on caffeine the night before an arrival date to avoid delivering before the due date. By reducing stress and caffeine intake, you can increase the length and regularity of the contractions, thus increasing the chance of a healthier delivery.

6. Find a happy medium between coffee with milk and decaf. If you cannot eliminate one, try the other or find a blend.

7. Drink a lot of water. Coffee beans are made up of two substances, caffeine and chlorogenic acid. The more coffee you drink, the more it reduces the production of gastric juices needed for digestion, which means that you need to drink more liquids.

Summary

There’s nothing wrong with drinking coffee while you’re pregnant. Pregnant women should aim for 1 to 2 cups a day maximum. If you are concerned about the caffeine content of your coffee you can add milk or sugar to make it more palatable. For the first 3 months of pregnancy, you may want to limit your caffeine intake even further and switch to decaf.