Many people like taking coffee, especially in the morning to increase their energy levels. If you rely on coffee to energize you or perk you up after sleeping deeply, you’ll wonder whether it’s okay to continue taking coffee while pregnant. In this article, you’ll learn whether taking coffee or caffeine-containing drinks is safe when pregnant and the amount of caffeine to take if safe to do so when pregnant.
Can you take coffee when pregnant?
If you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean that you should completely do away with coffee. Some years ago, it was advised to refrain from drinking coffee and any caffeine-containing drink when pregnant. However, recent research shows that it’s safe to take caffeine moderately when pregnant. Also, there’re certain precautions to take.
How much caffeine should you take while pregnant?
Current guidelines indicate that it’s safe to consume a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine daily while pregnant, which is an equivalent of a 12-ounce serving. Taking a higher amount than that daily may increase the likelihood of miscarriage, although evidence on this suggestion is inconclusive. However, coffee can pass through the placenta and get to the unborn baby. Thus, experts advise sticking to the recommended amount of caffeine.
If you don’t like taking coffee but you like other beverages such as tea or energy drinks, you should know that they also contain caffeine. However, the caffeine content per serving varies depending on the kind of beverage. Here’re some guidelines on average caffeine content in different drinks:
- Energy drink- about 100 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Regular drip coffee- about 137 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Regular tea- about 48 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
Remember that soda and chocolate also contain caffeine. Although you shouldn’t avoid caffeine altogether while pregnant, it’s important to be cautious of the amount of caffeine you’re consuming daily.
Since the exact caffeine content varies in different coffees, it’ll help to check for nutritional data and labeling on coffees from your local coffee shop.
What’s The Effect of Caffeine on an Unborn Baby?
It’s not yet clear what caffeine can do to an unborn baby. However, caffeine can pass through the placenta. Some studies indicate that consuming caffeine excessively increases the likelihood of miscarriage. However, there’re no conclusive findings on whether caffeine can cause miscarriage. Thus, stick to the recommended caffeine amount to be on the safe side.
What Effect Does Caffeine Have On Pregnant Women?
Although caffeine may not affect you while not pregnant, it’s likely that it may affect you while pregnant.
Generally, caffeine can give you the urge to poop. Thus, if coffee gives you this urge, you may avoid it while pregnant.
Although you may consume several coffee servings per day without any issue, you might experience jitters or shakes, or heartburn when taking even the smallest serving of coffee while pregnant. Some women find coffee tasting different while pregnant.
Besides, it’s worth noting that taking excessive caffeine when pregnant can reduce iron absorption. As a result, you’ll be at a higher risk of anemia or iron deficiency. If you’re already suffering from iron deficiency, consider avoiding caffeine completely when pregnant. Always consult your doctor when having any concerns.
Does taking caffeine while pregnant offer any benefits?
Generally, taking caffeine in moderate amounts is shown to promote alertness and improve energy levels. Also, it can make you feel lively, especially after waking up. However, there’s no scientific evidence linking caffeine intake to any benefits when pregnant.
Thus, it’s safe to take caffeine moderately when you feel the urge to take it while pregnant. Just ensure you limit the amount you’re consuming. Avoid taking higher amounts of caffeine than recommended. If you never liked taking caffeine before, continue avoiding it while pregnant.
Caffeine Content in Coffee Vs Tea
Generally, brewed coffee has a higher amount of caffeine than tea. However, tea often has a higher caffeine content than latte and other specialty coffees. Here’s the caffeine content of different teas, coffees, and other beverages:
- Decaffeinated black tea: 2- 5 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Regular black tea: 25- 48 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Green tea: 25- 29 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Decaffeinated coffee: 2- 5 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Regular coffee: 95- 165 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Mocha or latte: 63- 126 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Decaffeinated espresso: 0 mg of caffeine per 1-ounce serving
- Espresso: 47 – 64 mg of caffeine per 1-ounce serving
- Decaffeinated instant coffee: 2 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Instant coffee: 63 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
Soda and energy drinks:
- Energy drinks: 27 – 164 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
- Energy shots: 40 – 100 mg of caffeine per 1-ounce serving
- Cola: 24- 46 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving
Since caffeinated tea contains a lower amount of caffeine than regular coffee, if you like taking several cups of coffee daily, consider switching to tea. For instance, 8 ounces of coffee contains almost the daily limit of caffeine, which is 200 mg, while 8 ounces of regular black tea contains less than 50 mg of coffee. Thus, you can take two or three cups of black tea without exceeding the recommended caffeine intake per day.
How to Reduce Caffeine Intake When Pregnant
It’s always necessary to be extremely cautious about your caffeine intake while pregnant. Thus, consider taking not more than two small servings of coffee per day. If that’s too challenging to do, consider these tips:
- Known what you like best about caffeine
First, know what you crave most about coffee. If it’s the taste, you can switch to decaffeinated coffee to continue enjoying the taste of coffee without consuming a lot of caffeine. You can even get a decaffeinated espresso.
If you find it hard doing without carbonated drinks such as sodas, switch to sparkling juices, sparkling water, or caffeine-free types of soda. However, you should take them moderately, especially if they contain artificial sweeteners or sugar.
If you’re addicted to the energy kick that comes with energy drinks, switch to healthier energy boosters such as a snack rich in proteins and carbohydrates. In this case, consider snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, crackers, and cheese. Also exercise regularly. Even walking for about 10 minutes can boost your energy levels. Additionally, get enough sleep. However, avoid oversleeping as doing so might make you feel more tired.
- Know where caffeine is hiding
Caffeine could be hiding in several drinks. Caffeine is found in English breakfast, latte, and iced Americano. It’s also found in chocolate, coffee-flavored ice cream and yogurt, energy drinks, and sodas. When counting your daily caffeine intake, remember to include all caffeine sources in your math.
- Go gradually
It’s not advised to drop caffeine intake immediately. For instance, doing away with 5 cups of coffee to none within a day may give your system intense withdrawal shock. You might feel headachy, cranky, and exhausted. These are the last symptoms you’d want in addition to pregnancy fatigue. The best thing to do is to reduce your caffeine intake gradually. Start by eliminating one cup daily until you get to drinking one or two small servings a day. You can even reduce your caffeine intake entirely over time.
If you find this withdrawal too fast, consider taking the same amount of coffee but take more decaffeinated coffee and less regular coffee per day. Do it gradually until you’re able to do away with regular coffee and stick to decaf coffee.
You can also reduce your caffeine intake by making latte at home. In this case, reduce the coffee in latte by half and fill the rest of the cup with some hot milk.
- Get energy boost from healthy sources
Easting snacks and meals more frequently but in smaller portions is a great thing while pregnant. Doing so is especially great when decaffeinating your body. Besides, it’ll keep you energized since blood sugar will remain high throughout the day. You can also take prenatal vitamins to maintain your energy and stamina without relying on caffeine. After all, doing so will save you a lot of money in the long run that you’d otherwise spend on buying coffee.
Although the idea of reducing your daily coffee intake while pregnant can be quite frustrating, you’ll only be doing it for some months. You’ll eventually go back to your daily routine of taking coffee daily without any worries. You’ll surely need some coffee once your baby is born.
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