Coffee and Health: Why is Caffeine Bad During Pregnancy?


People often frown upon women for enjoying a cup of coffee during pregnancy; the sight of a bump and a cup is seen as a careless situation. It’s a common belief that any amount of caffeine is not safe to consume during pregnancy but like most health concerns during pregnancy, it’s more complicated than that.

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Why Drinking Coffee During Pregnancy is Bad

What’s concerning about consuming caffeine during pregnancy is the fact that the baby will consume that caffeine as well. Much like you would not expect to give a small child an espresso (they don’t need more energy anyway, can you imagine how many kicks he will do to you), you would not want to give your baby one before its body is completely matured. Caffeine is a stimulant, so both you and your baby’s heart rate and blood pressure will increase with consumption. The baby is not able to metabolize the caffeine like a grown human can, so the baby will get overwhelmed by too much caffeine. This includes your favorite decaffeinated coffee too!

In the same way that coffee keeps you awake, it will do the same for the baby. They will get a surge of energy, leading to abnormal movement and sleeping patterns for not just the baby but the mother. That magic first kick from the baby will turn in to endless nights of the baby bouncing off the walls (AKA, you). Take a look at our article on how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee to learn more.

Will Caffeine Cause Birth Defects?

It is completely taboo not to give up particular things during pregnancy, like smoking and drinking, in order to avoid birth defects.

The question still stands of whether caffeine causes birth defects at all. Studies on animals have given warning of the kinds of possible birth defects from caffeinated beverages like coffee, energy drinks and others. but none of them have provided a definitive connection to caffeine’s impact on human birth defects. It is only safe to say that overconsumption is concerning for the health of the baby, both for during the pregnancy and for the beautiful life to follow.

It is scary to even think about putting the baby’s health at risk, but this does not have to turn the world of coffee in to a total war zone during pregnancy. Check out our article on these additional 5 Coffee Myths Debunked. Keep reading to learn about what can be consumed safely!

 How Much Caffeine is Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?

The American Pregnancy Association suggests a “moderate” amount of caffeine, which means between “150 mg – 300 mg a day”. The most important thing to consider about that amount is that coffee isn’t the only thing that has caffeine. A pregnant woman must also consider that teas, ice creams, and chocolates have varying levels of caffeine. This might be a good time to embrace decaf coffee, as it will have small amounts but not nearly as much caffeine as normal.

Here is a Caffeine Cheat Sheet:

  • The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is around 70–140 mg of caffeine
  • A small latte will have around 77 mg of caffeine.
  • a sixteen ounce cup of decaf coffee could have 4 to 12 mg of caffeine. 
  • Sodas seems to average around 50 mg of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces. 
  • Milk chocolate has 4 mg of caffeine for every 1 ounce, while dark chocolate has 23 mg of caffeine for every 1 ounce.

Caffeine intake is an important thing to track, as anyone gets ready to welcome a bundle of joy, and even after, if a mother chooses to breastfeed for any amount of time. It is during that period that caffeine can still be passed through the breast milk.

Stay Hydrated When Drinking a Reasonable Amount of Caffeine

On top of keeping an eye on your caffeine consumption during pregnancy, consider how much water you are drinking as well. Being that coffee is a diuretic, it will mean that you will find yourself needing to urinate more–on top of needing to do so more because you are pregnant. With all of that water being flushed out, it is important to drink more water so that you and your baby stay hydrated.

Thanks for reading our newest article on why is caffeine bad during pregnancy. Be sure to consult your doctor with further questions (really important). Beyond that, we can only hope your child will inherit your love for coffee!

If you think you’d have some difficulty with completely ridding coffee from your pregnancy-diet, give decaf coffee a try! We have some informative articles about the break down of decaf coffee. Check out What is Decaf CoffeeDecaf Coffee BenefitsHow Much Caffeine is in Decaf Coffee, and Best Organic Decaf Coffee! But for the post-pregnancy days when you REALLY need a caffeine kick, here’s High Caffeinated Coffees to help give you as much energy as your kiddos.

Be sure to share and join our coffee community by following @coffeesesh on Instagram and check out our daily coffee-inspiring videos on Pinterest! Also if you want to learn more about making coffee from people just like you, be sure to join our private Facebook group here at Daily Coffee Talk. You’ll be able to learn how to brew, how to roast and most importantly how to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee!

Brew ya later! ☕️

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