Drinking coffee is not going to be a problem and should not affect both you and your growing baby unless you consume an excessive amount which would mean overconsumption of caffeine. Now that may increase the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight, so it’s best to limit your caffeine intake or avoid it as much as you can.
If your coffee consumption is within the average of 1-2 cups per day, then there is nothing to worry about, but if you are a heavy coffee drinker (which many of us are), you might want to tone it down a bit.
My personal experience with coffee during my pregnancy was different, thanks to pregnancy hormones. I was not too fond of the smell of coffee; what a great start.
Foods and drinks with caffeine
Caffeine is not exclusively found in coffee though so you might want to check this list of other foods and drinks that contain caffeine for you to moderate within the duration of your pregnancy.
- Coffee – A cup or 2 of coffee per day should not be a problem even when you are pregnant but different types of coffee contain different amounts of caffeine. 1 cup of instant coffee roughly has 60mg of caffeine, while 1 shot of espresso has 100mg, whereas decaffeinated coffee contains little or no caffeine. Foods that are coated with coffee or are coffee flavor might also contain caffeine.
- Chocolate – For every 100g of cocoa beans (where chocolate is made from) there is approximately 230mg of caffeine, so you need to watch out for chocolate cakes, chocolate bars, chocolate milkshakes, basically anything chocolate flavored. It’s not going to hurt your baby if you take a few bites here and there but excess consumption is not advisable. Not only regarding caffeine but also the high sugar content is not healthy during pregnancy.
- Green Tea – A cup of brewed green tea at around 8 ounces contains approximately 25-30mg of caffeine. Some people are not aware that some type of tea contains caffeine and might think it’s a safe drink for a pregnant woman. Again, it is not as dangerous as alcohol or smoking but with the excess amount, it could be a source of concern especially during the 1st few weeks of pregnancy when the baby must develop smoothly inside the mother’s womb.
- Energy Drinks – Caffeine is a chemical found in the leaves, beans, and fruits of more than 60 plants, including the leaves of tea plants, a natural stimulant that is consumed all over the world to boost alertness and fight fatigue so it should not come as a surprise that energy drinks have caffeine content in it. For every 8 ounces of this drink, there could be at least 80mg of caffeine, it could increase depending on the brand and the amount of a single serving can of energy drink that you consume.
- Soda – There are certain brands of carbonated drinks that don’t contain caffeine like most ginger ale brands, or root beers, but the crowd favorites like Coca-cola, Pepsi, or Dr. Pepper contain at least 34 up to 69mg of caffeine per can (usually 12 ounces). Drinking carbonated drinks while you are pregnant is fine but in controlled and moderated consumption.
Effects of caffeine during pregnancy
Every pregnancy and generally everybody is different, what may not be dangerous for you might be harmful to another, we also have different lifestyles and our body adapts to what we usually do or eat.
It’s essential that you listen to your body and keep in mind that during your pregnancy, you and your baby will share the same food and drinks and, therefore, the nutrients or the harmful effects if there are any.
- Increased risk of miscarriage or low birth weight – There’s not enough study to prove the amount of caffeine that affects miscarriage but according to research, caffeine consumption of more than 200 mg per day may raise the risk of miscarriage. Pregnant women metabolize caffeine much more slowly. It can take 1.5–3.5 times longer to eliminate caffeine from your body. Caffeine also crosses the placenta and enters the baby’s bloodstream, raising concerns that it can affect the baby’s health.
- Increased blood pressure and heart rate – Caffeine slightly increases your blood pressure and heart rate and the amount of urine your body makes, it may cause you to feel jittery since pregnant women are extra sensitive to caffeine. Both your blood pressure and your heart rate are being closely monitored during pregnancy because it could lead to some complications for you and your baby.
- Sleeping troubles – Depending on your lifestyle, the sleeping problems usually start by the end of the 2nd trimester when your baby is already big enough to occupy a large space in your belly and it’s difficult to sleep, to reach for things, even breathing is starting to become a struggle. Since one of the main side effects of caffeine is to keep you alert and energized and your body takes extra time to digest it, you might find it harder to get that precious sleep if you just finished drinking your coffee by late afternoon. Sleep is as important as food so you might want to consider that.
How much coffee is considered safe during pregnancy?
Any amount of caffeine that is less than 200mg per day should be safe for you and your baby. It should not make any harm as long as you moderate your caffeine consumption.
What to do if I’ve been drinking and smoking and suddenly found out I’m pregnant?
Go to your doctor. Let your doctor check your baby and if it is growing at the rate that it should. It is also going to be wise to stop doing any habits that might be harmful to your baby.
As of date, there are no studies in humans that could prove the harmful effects of caffeine during pregnancy, but multiple studies in animals have shown that caffeine can cause birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, reduced fertility, and increase the risk of low-birth-weight offspring and other reproductive problems.
It is better to be safe than sorry, so whenever you can avoid caffeine, it is best to do so. Your regular check-up with your doctor will also help you understand what diet you should be taking while being pregnant.
At 1happykiddo, we hope this article helped you answer some of your questions, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below for us to know your feedback, stay happy and healthy!