Can Pregnant Women Drink Coffee?

If you've been frantically Googling things like "caffeine during pregnancy" and "can pregnant women drink coffee," take a deep breath and brew a cup. Just limit your caffeine to this amount!

I’ll never forget the first time I experienced caffeine-shaming as an expecting mother. I was in the middle of a 12-hour shift as a nurse and decided to treat myself to a small latte. I ordered, and the woman behind the counter stared at my bump, then asked if I really wanted to give a latte to my baby.

Can Pregnant Women Drink Coffee?

When it comes to nutrition during pregnancy, especially with caffeine, there are a lot of misconceptions. For most pregnant women, a small amount of caffeine each day is safe. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, consuming 200 milligrams of caffeine (about 12 ounces of coffee) or less is safe during pregnancy. Not all coffee brands have the same caffeine content, so be sure to read the label or check out the nutrition facts at your favorite spot.

This recommendation is the same for each trimester of your pregnancy. Some women find that the acidity of coffee adds to morning sickness or heartburn; never drink it on an empty stomach and listen to your body.

Can You Drink Too Much Coffee?

Expecting moms are advised to not go over 200 milligrams of caffeine in a day because of potential dangers to your baby. The caffeine in coffee raises your blood pressure and heart rate. That being said, experts are still not clear on why drinking too much caffeine has been linked to miscarriage and stillbirth. Stick to a small coffee and sip it throughout the day to keep your energy up without reaching for another cup.

Breastfeeding mothers can safely consume about two to three cups of coffee per day. If your little one seems more irritable or isn’t sleeping, it might be best to cut back on the coffee and see if that makes a difference.

How About Decaf?

Decaf coffee still contains caffeine but has much less than regular coffee. A cup of instant decaf coffee has about five milligrams of caffeine. If you miss the ritual of multiple cups of coffee throughout the day, decaf may be the way to go. Most herbal teas are a great option, too.

You’ve given up enough during your pregnancy. If you’ve been pining over that morning cup of coffee, go for it and savor every sip!

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Carrie Madormo, RN
Now a freelance health and food writer, Carrie worked as a nurse for over a decade. When she isn't hunched over her laptop with a baby in hand, you will find her cooking her grandmother’s recipes, lacing up her running shoes or sipping coffee in the bathroom to hide from her three young children.