You’re tired and there’s a lot to do today. Can you drink coffee while pregnant?
Yes, you can, within limits. Like everything during pregnancy, you’ve got to do it in moderation. Let’s talk about the guidelines for how much caffeine is safe.
- 1 What happens if you have coffee while pregnant?
- 2 What happens if I drink a cup of coffee while pregnant?
- 3 Can I drink coffee in the first trimester?
- 4 Can coffee cause miscarriage in the first trimester?
- 5 Can I have Starbucks while pregnant?
- 6 Can a pregnant woman take coffee with milk?
- 7 Are there benefits of drinking coffee while pregnant?
- 8 How much caffeine is safe when you’re pregnant?
- 9 The downsides of drinking coffee while pregnant
- 10 How to give up coffee during pregnancy
- 11 Hidden sources of caffeine to watch out for
- 12 Can you drink coffee while breastfeeding?
- 13 What’s the best coffee for pregnant women?
- 14 Conclusion
What happens if you have coffee while pregnant?
Will caffeine affect the baby? Probably, because it passes through the placenta. Since it’s not ethical to experiment on pregnant people, there isn’t a lot of information about what happens.
However, one university study monitored babies for three months after birth. They found that the children of women who consumed caffeine during pregnancy didn’t seem to have problems sleeping. That may put your mind at ease about the long-term effects of drinking coffee while pregnant.
On the flip side, mothers who had ten or more cups of coffee per day while breastfeeding had fussy babies with poor sleep patterns. They also had less iron in their milk. (1)
What’s interesting about pregnancy is that it takes longer for your body to metabolize caffeine and leave the body. That’s one of the reasons why the American Pregnancy Organization reminds expectant mothers to consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day (2).
What happens if I drink a cup of coffee while pregnant?
One mug of brewed coffee (8 ounces) has about 137 mg of caffeine. It’ll probably give you a boost of energy that lasts for a few hours. It may also make you pee more!
Furthermore, coffee has a tendency to aggravate heartburn and cause the jitters. Unfortunately, being pregnant may make you more sensitive to these unfortunate side effects.
Lastly, it may make you poop more. But if you’re experiencing pregnancy constipation, that may not be a bad thing.
Can I drink coffee in the first trimester?
If you were able to drink coffee before your pregnancy, you should be able to still drink it during the first trimester and throughout the following months.
Still, it’s smart to talk to your doctor or OB/GYN about whether it’s okay for you personally to have caffeine. You and your baby’s specific health situations may set limits on what you can do.
Can coffee cause miscarriage in the first trimester?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that small amounts of caffeine don’t lead to preterm birth or miscarriage. They recommend limiting caffeine to 200 mg per day. That’s a cup and a half of brewed coffee or about 12 ounces (1).
Can I have Starbucks while pregnant?
So, you noticed that explanation about 12 ounces of coffee? That would include a Starbucks tall cup but not a grande (16 ounces). But be careful – some Starbucks drinks are much more caffeinated than others. They may have a significant amount of sugar or fat that can throw you off your diet.
Can a pregnant woman take coffee with milk?
Yes, you can drink coffee with milk. Diluting the coffee doesn’t remove the caffeine, of course. On the bright side, it may make it easier for you to cut back on your regular fix.
If you’d like to cut down on how much caffeine you drink, make a latte. Use half the coffee you normally would.
Are there benefits of drinking coffee while pregnant?
Having a small amount of caffeine daily during pregnancy might keep you from developing gestational diabetes. This was discovered during a study at the University of Pennsylvania.
Moreover, low to moderate amounts of caffeine aren’t linked to high blood pressure or preeclampsia for expectant mothers.
How did researchers come to this conclusion? They reviewed data from over 2500 pregnant people at 12 different clinical centers over the span of 4 years. The participants reported how much coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks they consumed each week. Then, they measured how much caffeine was present in the expectant mothers’ plasma. Lastly, they monitored them for diagnosis of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and hypertension.
That’s how they discovered that consuming up to 100 mg of caffeine daily seemed related to a 47% reduction in diabetes (3).
How much caffeine is safe when you’re pregnant?
I was happy to find that someone’s already done the math. If you can have up to 200 mg of caffeine per day, that’s equivalent to:
- a mug and a half of brewed or filtered coffee
- 2 cups of instant coffee
- approximately 5 cans of caffeinated soda, depending on the brand
- 2 or 3 cans of energy drink, depending on the brand
- 4 cups of black tea
- more than 10 cups of decaf coffee (yes, it has caffeine)
It gets a little more complicated if you take your coffee from pods. Some brands have 130 mg of caffeine per cup but others have only 75 mg. It might be safest to limit yourself to one in the morning and have a mug of tea in the afternoon.
Chocolate can also give you a boost, and it’s not just the sugar. The very dark chocolate (70%) has up to 26 mg of caffeine per ounce. That’s more than a cup of white tea!
The downsides of drinking coffee while pregnant
Since caffeine is a diuretic, coffee may have you running to the bathroom more often. It may also loosen your bowels.
Since pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body, you might find that a cup of coffee gives you the jitters or heartburn more easily.
And if you are anemic or have low iron levels, caffeine may make it worse. This is sad because some people drink coffee to compensate for the fatigue that comes from being anemic. Talk to your doctor about your hemoglobin levels – it’s a simple blood test.
How to give up coffee during pregnancy
Take it slow. If you are caffeine-dependent, don’t go cold turkey unless you’re prepared to deal with headaches, irritability, and other nasty side effects. Instead, cut back. Fill in the gap with lower-caffeine options like tea or chocolate.
There’s nothing like a mug of green tea with a bit of dark chocolate. The bitter flavors together cancel each other out and it ends up being quite tasty.
Another idea is to try sparkling water if you’re used to caffeinated soda. Include snacks with energy-boost foods like nuts and dried fruit but stay away from sugary foods and drinks. The crash after the rush just isn’t worth it.
Hidden sources of caffeine to watch out for
Coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate are the obvious ways to consume caffeine. However, some medications contain caffeine and so do some herbal products. For example, did you know that guaraná and yerba maté have natural caffeine? Check those labels because your new favorite herbal tea might have a hidden buzz.
Can you drink coffee while breastfeeding?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that it’s safe to have a couple of cups of coffee per day when you’re breastfeeding. Just remember that the caffeine gets into breast milk. If you have too much, your baby may have trouble sleeping or act fussy (2).
What’s the best coffee for pregnant women?
Decaf might be the best coffee for pregnant women as it’s ultra-low in caffeine. But I bet you’d prefer something a little stronger.
I’d recommend any brand certified by the Rainforest Alliance. That’s because certified coffee comes from farms with sustainable practices that pay fair wages. Here’s one example:
The Original Ground Decaf Bulletproof Coffee, Medium Roast
Can pregnant women drink decaf coffee? You betcha – and no, it’s not caffeine-free. Almost, but not quite.
What’s the big deal with Bulletproof coffee? First, it’s tested for impurities and certified clean. That’s right, it has no mycotoxins.
Second, it’s certified by the Rainforest Alliance as it comes from farms that respect the environment and local communities.
And third, it’s made from hand-picked coffee beans so you get only the best with maximum flavor. The decaf coffee is a medium roast with hints of cinnamon, orange, plum, and cocoa hazelnut. Yum!
It’s ground, so all you need to do is add 2 and a half tablespoons of coffee to 8 ounces of water and brew.
But if you’re cutting back on the caffeine, try switching to black tea instead of coffee.
Organic Black Tea by FGO
This black tea is certified USDA organic and packaged in hemp fiber paper bags. The fiber is unbleached and free of adhesive, dye, and glue. The bags don’t even have strings and they come in a resealable Kraft bag. It’s all minimum waste and as pure as possible.
One mug of black tea has about as much caffeine as half a mug of instant coffee. You can make it even more delicious with milk, honey, lemon, or cinnamon.
Pro tip: follow the directions for how long to brew the tea. If you let it sit too long with the bag in the water, it becomes bitter.
Newmans Own Organics Royal Green Tea
Green tea has a ton of health benefits. Not only does it help your brain function better, but it also helps the body burn fat and prevents diabetes and heart disease.
One mug of green tea has about 30 mg of caffeine so you could have 6 cups per day and stay under the 200 mg limit.
This particular brand of green tea is certified USDA organic and packaged in chlorine-free hemp bags. It’s produced by a brand that gives a lot of money to charities, too.
Still, the lowest amount of caffeine is found in white tea.
Buddha Teas Organic White Tea
I love the floral taste and smell of white tea. Did you know it is made from young leaves? It is the least processed tea out of the Camellia sinensis family.
It also has the least amount of caffeine out of all the caffeinated teas. One cup may have as little as 15 mg (or as much as 30 depending on how long it’s steeped).
Again, this is organic tea packaged in unbleached bags. I wouldn’t recommend anything less to an expectant mother. It also happens to be Kosher and packaged in an environmentally-friendly box.
But you don’t have to drink tea or coffee to get caffeinated.
DOVE PROMISES Dark Chocolate Candy
Out of all the types of chocolate, dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa has the most caffeine. It also has the most antioxidants which are good for your body. Therefore, you have every reason in the world to enjoy this treat.
Dove has even packaged the candies individually so that you can portion out the right amount. (I love the cute little messages on the wrappers, don’t you)?
Numi Organic Tea Rooibos Chai
If you’re ready to cut back on caffeine, it’s time to try rooibos tea. It makes a delicious chai because it’s blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, clothes, ginger, allspice, and cardamom. Add milk or almond milk and oh my goodness! (If you really want to go next level, drink this with a slice of pumpkin pie).
Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free and enjoyed in many African countries like Botswana and South Africa.
This brand sources the tea from organic farmers in South Africa. Some of the profits support schools and more in the local communities.
I hope I answered your questions today about drinking coffee during pregnancy. If you’ve been relying on caffeine to get you through the day, it may be time to cut back. Not to worry, your body will adjust. Just go easy during the transition.
Pregnancy is a great time to explore healthier options like green tea and dark chocolate. You’ll find that you have the ability to resist temptation and choose better things for yourself and your baby.
I wish you and your little one the best of health and happiness in the future.
1. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/caffeine-and-pregnancy-how-does-caffeine-affect-my-baby/ How Much Caffeine Is Safe During Pregnancy? published October 23, 2020
2. https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/eating-well/week-4/caffeine-during-pregnancy.aspx Can You Drink Coffee While You’re Pregnant? by Alanna Nuñez, Medically Reviewed by Alexandra Paetow, M.S., R.D.N. on April 26, 2022
3. https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2021/november/moderate-amounts-of-caffeine-not-linked-to-maternal-health-risks Moderate Amounts of Caffeine Not Linked to Maternal Health Risks, published November 11, 2021