Coffee During Pregnancy

What are the facts?

Andrea Rudy

10/17/20221 min read

Have you been told you need to stop drinking coffee while pregnant?

This is a very common recommendation from care providers and even family and friends. Have you stopped to wonder why you've been told this?

Here are the claims -

  • High caffeine intake during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or low birth weight. (Low birth weight is defined as 2,500 g or 5.5 lbs)

Here are the facts -

  • Caffeine is quickly absorbed and passes the placental barrier

  • Neither the placenta nor the baby has the enzyme required to break down caffeine effectively

  • Baby's system is exposed at a higher rate because caffeine stays in the mother's system longer during pregnancy

  • Caffeine can cause vasoconstriction, or narrowing and constricting of blood vessels, in blood circulation

What do studies have to say about it?

  • Observational studies found a correlation between the amount of caffeine intake and higher risk of low birth weight. The more caffeine was consumed, the higher the risk seemed to be.

  • MR studies argue that these may be inaccurate results because they did not take genetics into account, or whether the women in the sample also smoked or consumed alcohol.

The March of Dimes and ACOG suggest keeping your limit to 200mg of caffeine per day during pregnancy.

The WHO recommends under 300mg.

100 mg of caffeine is about equivalent to 1 cup of coffee, 5 cups of tea, or 3 cans of Coke.

Just like any decision, you need to understand the evidence and weigh the risks. What amount of risk are you comfortable taking?

Remember, you are in charge of your own pregnancy and birth. We all want what is best for our babies! So inform yourself and make your choices based on facts, not hearsay.

If you would like to read the studies I've referenced, I would be happy to send you the links!