I’m Pregnant, Can I Drink Coffee?
There are all sorts of things you shouldn’t eat or drink while pregnant; alcohol, grease, a lot of sugar, etc. This list goes on and on, but what about coffee? Can a woman drink coffee safely while pregnant? It’s a good question that deserves a straight answer. Let’s take a look, shall we?
It’s no secret regular coffee contains caffeine. It’s also no secret that decaffeinated coffee has little to none. There are small traces of caffeine in this coffee, but not like regular coffee. Most people drink coffee in the morning to start their day, while there are some people that drink it all day long. Personally, I’m not sure how they do that and still sleep at night. We’ll save that for another article!
If you’re pregnant, a little coffee won’t hurt you. We wrote an article about how much caffeine you can expect to find in various types of coffee, see the article here.
Yes, you can drink coffee as long as it’s done with moderation. You can’t drink 3-4 cups a day. You should limit any caffeine intake to 200-300mg (equal to 1-2 cups) per day while pregnant. When you are pregnant, your ability to metabolize caffeine you drink slows during pregnancy. You may also want to keep in mind, it’s not just coffee that contains caffeine. Soda, chocolate and even a few ice creams on the market contain caffeine. They also contain a good amount of sugar. Most woman try to consume as little sugar as they can, as this can lead to weight gain and possible problems down the road.
While there are other alternatives you can check in to, certainly coffee is not something you would need to give up entirely, unless the baby has other plans and doesn’t allow you to drink it. Your body changes quite a bit when you are pregnant, so some items you could eat or drink before; you may not be able to drink now.
Gestational diabetes is also something to be aware of . Coffee has been known to cause issues with high blood presser which can put you at risk for gestational diabetes during pregnancy. We did some research about how French press coffee can have higher amounts of cafestol and kahweol which can lead to increased blood pressure.
Coffee has also been known to cause heartburn, so if it’s a “go-to” drink for you, you may want to switch gears until after the baby is born.
What about Decaf Coffee while Pregnant?
Decaffeinated coffee is a great alternative to regular if you crave the taste, but it won’t do much in the realms of energy for you. There’s really no evidence, at all, stating caffeine has any real benefits during pregnancy, though. It’s fine to have a little caffeine if you must have it, but please be mindful of how much you drink. Learn more about decaf coffee here.
Things to Consider
Keep in mind, any amount of caffeine can (and will) cause changes in the baby’s sleep pattern. Normal movement patterns are also affected in the later stages of pregnancy. Caffeine is a stimulant, so remember it can (and will) keep you both awake. Trying to sleep with a kicking baby is impossible. There is no need to put you or the baby, through all that. You will have plenty of coffee once the baby is born, and let me just say; you will certainly need that little added kick of energy at that point! However, IF you are breastfeeding, you still need to be careful about the amount of caffeine you drink. Just because you are no longer carrying your baby, doesn’t mean that the baby can’t be affected by it. Breastmilk is consumed by the baby, whatever you eat/drink is also consumed by the baby through breastfeeding. Take care not to drink too much until you are done completely.
Quitting Coffee Cold Turkey
It’s also not a smart move to go “cold turkey” on the caffeine either, once you find out you’re expecting a little bundle of joy. Being pregnant is exhausting most days, and doing no caffeine at all will most certainly shock your system. You will be grumpier than usual, possibly getting headaches too. Caffeine headaches are not easy to get away from, and being pregnant can sometimes intensify that feeling. You can do this gradually, and safely. Start out with reducing one cup a day. Instead of 3-4 cups of coffee, have 2- 3. Keep going down until you are at the 1 cup mark, or completely done with it. This is a much easier way to ween yourself off of the caffeine and a lot safer for everyone around you during this transition!
Trust the Doctor
“It’s difficult to get good and accurate studies on pregnant women,” says David Elmer, M.D., an OB-GYN at Nantucket Cottage Hospital in Nantucket, Massachusetts. “It isn’t ethical to give 1,000 pregnant women an unknown substance and see how many have complications.”
There is no more truer statement than that above, from Dr. Elmer. I don’t know one pregnant woman that would do this, just to see what happens. Being pregnant is a miracle, and being able to carry a healthy baby to full term is even more of a miracle. Doing anything (or drinking anything) that could jeopardize the well-being of that child and the mother is unhealthy for all involved. As long as you drink your coffee in moderation, you will be alright. Don’t go overboard and drink an entire pot of coffee.
What is Methylene Chloride?
Brewed coffee can contain methylene chloride—a solvent that has been linked to cancer, asphyxiation, and cognitive impairment.
What Are The Coffee Brands for Pregnant Women?
Below are a few coffees’ you can have that don’t have any trace amounts of this and are safe to drink:
- Dunkin’ Donuts Decaffeinated Medium Roast
- Folgers Decaffeinated Classic
- Nescafe Decaffeinated House Blend
- Starbucks Decaffeinated House Blend
- Starbucks Decaffeinated Café Verona
There are more out there, but these are the most affordable. You can brew them yourself or buy it while you are out shopping for more baby clothes.
Do Some Research
Now, if your favorite brand isn’t on this list, you may look up coffees’ that have shown traces of methylene chloride. You can google them and a list will pop up on the most popular site looked at. If you find your brand is still not on there, you might want to look into their decaffeination process. Looking for “certified organic or water processed” products to lower your risk of exposure, which should be on the label. When I was pregnant, I was most definitely a “label reader”; not only for me but for my daughter I was carrying as well. You will be amazed at the information you find on those labels. I had charts, I had color-coding; you name it, I did it. I wasn’t taking any chances.
As you can see, coffee is not a taboo when pregnant but the amount of caffeine you drink is. Just remember to not stop all at once, as suggested above. Do it in moderation, slowly. Always be mindful of what you are eating and drinking while pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Remember, everything you eat, the baby eats. Before doing anything you are unsure of, please check with your doctor first. If you have any tips or information you would like to pass along on your own experience, we would love to hear from you. Leave a message for us. Good luck on your journey, wishing you all a safe and happy pregnancy!