Ahhhh… coffee and pregnancy… one makes you tired, one keeps you awake!
Are you pregnant, and dying to find out whether you need to abstain from coffee, or simply reduce the amount of coffee you drink each day?
If your morning latte is the only thing that stops you falling asleep on your desk, you may be worried about the idea of giving it up.
Nine months is a lot of meetings to sleep through, after all.
Coffee and Pregnancy
So, can coffee and pregnancy go together?
How Much Coffee Can I Drink During Pregnancy?
Some women choose to abstain from coffee and other caffeinated drinks during pregnancy.
Caffeine can travel through the placenta and reach your developing baby.
However the news is good: coffee and pregnancy can be friends!
Unlike alcohol, you are able to continue consuming caffeine throughout the pregnancy, if you wish.
Experts recommend you should limit your daily consumption to 200mg of caffeine a day.
In coffee terms, this works out at about two cups of instant, or just one cup of filter coffee.
This is assuming you are drinking from average sized coffee mugs, not the bucket-sized cups at your local coffee bar.
The 200mg recommendation includes all of your caffeine sources, not just coffee.
Fizzy drinks, black tea, green tea and chocolate also contain caffeine and should be counted in your daily allowance.
Use the following average caffeine content information to keep track of your intake:
- 1 mug of instant coffee – 100mg
- 1 mug of filter coffee – 140 mg
- A mug of tea – 75mg
- 1 mug of green tea – 50 mg
- A can of cola – 40 mg
- 50g plain chocolate – 50mg
- 50g milk chocolate – 25mg
It’s important you count all of the above sources, so you can be sure you aren’t exceeding the recommended daily allowance of 200mg.
Risk Of Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy
After you consume caffeine, you may notice an increase in your baby’s movements. This is because the caffeine has travelled across the placenta and has affected your baby.
Researchers have discovered that caffeine consumption exceeding 200mg per day is linked to low birth weight and miscarriage.
According to this study:
“Caffeine is rapidly absorbed and crosses the placenta freely. After ingestion of 200 mg caffeine, intervillous blood flow in the placenta was found to be reduced by 25%. Cytochrome P450 1A2, the principal enzyme involved in caffeine metabolism, is absent in the placenta and the fetus.”
BMC Central published research in 2013 which again produced results showing caffeine is implicated with low birth weight.
The researchers found for a baby expected to be of average birth weight (3.6kg), it equated to a loss of 21-28 grams per 100mg of caffeine consumed per day.
Caffeine also extended the length of pregnancy by 5 hours per 100mg of caffeine per day. However caffeine intake originating from coffee was associated with an even longer pregnancy – 8 hours longer for every 100mg of caffeine per day.
What Can I Drink Instead Of Coffee?
- Decaffeinated coffee – this is the easiest switch because it maintains the great taste you love. However some coffee makers decaffeinate their coffee beans with nasty chemicals. Try this decaffeinated coffee instead.
- Fruit teas
- Herbal teas
- Milk (try almond milk and oat milk for something dairy free – chocolate almond milk is divine!)
- Water – your body needs more water during pregnancy and when breastfeeding too. You should be drinking eight glasses a day, so water is a great choice for a drink to replace coffee. If you’re not great at drinking water, try adding a slice or two of lemon and/or lime, or keeping a water bottle on hand and taking sips, or have a straw in your glass and sip. Filtered water tastes much better than most tap waters – you really notice the difference!
Check out our article Tea During Pregnancy – Teas To Drink And Teas To Avoid for more suggestions of teas that you can enjoy during pregnancy.
Going Caffeine Free
Some women choose to give up caffeine completely during pregnancy. If you choose to do this, you may suffer from the nasty headaches that come with caffeine withdrawal. So cut back gradually. Start with one less cup per day.
Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal should disappear within a week, but can be quite uncomfortable.
- Difficulty concentrating.
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