Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages throughout the world. And, also, one of the ones that generates the most doubts when looking for a baby. Is it good to drink coffee during pregnancy?
We have set out to answer this question by providing you with all available scientifically substantiated information so that you can make an informed decision. Can you come with us?
Caffeine: dangerous during pregnancy?
The truth is that most of the doubts about drinking coffee during pregnancy refer directly to the consumption of caffeine.
It is known that the intake of this substance should be reduced during pregnancy as it could cause different problems for the baby. Why? Well, simply because it is a stimulating substance. Not in vain do we consume it to stay awake or increase our concentration for a period of time.
Caffeine is present in many substances, including coffee, tea, yerba mate, guarana, cocoa, and even some cold and headache medications. Yes, as you read: chocolate also has caffeine.
Different studies indicate that excessive caffeine consumption is associated with restricted growth of the baby, low birth weight, premature labor and stillbirth.
Of course, the key to these studies is in the term “excessive consumption.” That is to say that the consumption of caffeine is not prohibited but must be controlled. So breathe easy because you can eat that piece of chocolate you want or drink some of your favorite infusion. But how much is “a little”?
Moderate consumption of coffee during pregnancy
So let’s talk about what is considered a moderate or restricted consumption because for one it can be a cup and for others, four, depending on their usual intake. In addition to the fact that a ristretto coffee is not the same as a cappuccino, nor is a 250 ml cup than an 80 ml cup.
Although the recommendations vary a little from one country to another, as a general rule it can be considered that the consumption of maximum 200 milligrams of caffeine per day is safe.
However, you must consider that this amount is total; that is, it includes coffee and all other beverages and foods that contain caffeine.
A 237 ml cup of coffee contains between 80 and 100 mg of caffeine. That is, you could consume two cups of coffee.
Of course, if you usually drink the strongest coffee, the concentration of this substance will be higher and your consumption should decrease to stay within the safe ranges.
An advice? Read the labels of your coffee to find out how many milligrams of caffeine it has and pay special attention to how you prepare it so as not to exceed the recommended limits.
If you like to eat a chocolate at night, do not drink more than a cup of coffee. Remember that you must take into consideration all drinks and meals. Think about your little one: he (or she) doesn’t have the ability to metabolize caffeine like you do; therefore, he is exposed to its effects for longer periods of time. Take care of it by paying attention to your caffeine intake.
Can I drink decaf coffee?
Of course. As we have already pointed out, caffeine is not prohibited during pregnancy, but its excessive consumption is discouraged. You can drink decaf coffee but do not forget the caution!
Although its name is “decaffeinated”, this does not mean that it does not have caffeine, but rather that it provides lower doses of this substance. Thus, a decaffeinated coffee can contain up to 30 mg per cup: much less than “normal” coffee but still a contribution that must be taken into account daily.
Precautions when drinking coffee during pregnancy
A high consumption of caffeine during pregnancy could have consequences for your child. To date, investigations have not reached 100% reliable conclusions; however, it is believed that this substance would cause all kinds of problems in the child when ingested in large doses. Premature births, miscarriage, and low birth weight are some of the consequences cited by scientists ( 5 ).
In addition to the effect of caffeine on the baby, it is necessary to consider whether drinking a lot of coffee can affect you during pregnancy. The answer is yes: caffeine consumption can have negative effects on pregnant women.
These include insomnia and sleep problems, nervousness and anxiety, upset stomach including nausea, headaches, dysphoria (a feeling of sadness that has no basis), and rapid heart rate ( 6 ).
In conclusion, you can drink coffee during pregnancy, but a recommendation could be not to exceed one cup per day. If you want to drink more infusions, opt for herbal or floral options that don’t have caffeine.
Of course, consult your doctor before starting the usual consumption of a certain infusion since some herbs are not recommended during pregnancy.