Unfortunately, as much as your cravings tell you otherwise, there are a few dietary changes you should make during pregnancy (unpasteurized cheeses and smoked fish, for example, are a no-no), but what about that morning latte? Can you continue to drink coffee when you are pregnant?
It’s a common concern many parents-to-be have, ditto when it comes to other caffeinated beverages like tea or energy drinks. To clear things up, we asked Lesley Bland, a registered midwife at My Expert Midwife, for information on all things coffee and caffeine in pregnancy-related.
Is it safe to drink coffee when you are pregnant?
According to Bland and NHS recommendations, yes it is safe to drink a small amount of coffee but it should be limited to 1 to 2 cups a day (maximum). The latest NHS advice states that “pregnant women should limit their intake to no more than 200mg of caffeine per day, as some studies have linked caffeine consumption of more than 200mg per day during pregnancy to low birth weight babies and other complications”.
As for that actually looks like like (read: as to what you might want to consider ordering from a coffee shop when you’re pregnant), the NHS suggests the following amount of caffeine is present in each of these drinks:
- 65mg in a single espresso
- 125mg in a double espresso
- 100mg in a mug of instant coffee
- 140mg in a mug of filter coffee
- 75mg in a mug of tea (green tea can contain the same amount of caffeine as regular tea)
“Freshly brewed, roasted ground coffee usually has more caffeine than instant coffee, but this depends on how strong you brew your own coffee at home,” adds Bland, which is important to note. “Espresso contains the highest caffeine content by volume, but since espresso is often consumed as a much shorter drink, the actual caffeine content may be lower – or comparable to a larger cup or mug of freshly brewed coffee. So your latte, cappuccino and other milky drinks bases of espresso are still well within your daily allowance.”
Why Should Caffeine Be Restricted During Pregnancy?
“During pregnancy, people can become more aware of their diet, as it is known to affect their own well-being and that of their baby – and that includes what they drink,” explains Bland. “Staying well hydrated is key and this can include not only water, but also juices, milk and hot drinks.”
She adds that in general coffee is safe during pregnancy, but it’s important to consider the amount of caffeine in each cup.
“The recommended guidelines are a maximum of 200mg of caffeine per day, as increased consumption is associated with having a smaller birth weight baby and other complications. This roughly equates to about 1 to 2 cups of coffee,” notes Bland. “Drinking decaffeinated coffee and tea is safe and your obstetrician or doctor will recommend it at your antenatal appointments.”
Is it better to switch to decaf during pregnancy?
Not necessarily, says Bland, as the term “caffeine-free” can be somewhat misleading (for example, if you drank a whole ton of “caffeinated” drinks a day, you could theoretically still exceed the recommended intake of 200 mg of caffeine per day). .
“Many decaffeinated teas and coffees still contain small amounts of caffeine (up to 10-15mg per average serving),” she says. It’s also important to note that green tea, often considered a healthy option, still contains a similar amount of caffeine to regular black tea. Energy drinks are often high in caffeine, as well as sugars and other empty calories and possibly stimulants, so you should be avoided during pregnancy.”
This article is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health care professional if you have any questions about a medical condition.