Finding out you're pregnant can be a very exciting time! Few things change your life as much as becoming a parent. But, few things require as many adjustments to your life and lifestyle as pregnancy does. When you get that positive test and have it confirmed by your doctor, you'll find yourself staring at a seemingly endless list of things you can no longer do, from having a glass of wine or two with dinner to relaxing after a long day with a soak in the hot tub. One of the things many women worry about when they find out they're pregnant is whether or not they'll have to give up coffee. Plenty of us wonder if we can drink coffee while pregnant! However, the answer isn't as cut and dry as yes or no. Here's some important information about drinking coffee during pregnancy that can hopefully help you make the best decision for yourself and your growing baby.
Is it safe to drink coffee while pregnant?
This is a tricky question to answer, for several reasons. Coffee is a stimulant and diuretic, which means it increases your heart rate and blood pressure (not recommended during pregnancy) and causes you to urinate more frequently, which can reduce the fluid levels in your body. Coffee also passes from the placenta to your baby, so they're getting the caffeine in the coffee you drink during pregnancy, too. Developing fetuses cannot fully metabolize caffeine, and even a small amount can affect your baby's sleep and movement patterns in the later stages of pregnancy. Some studies have linked caffeine intake low birth weight, and there have been several conflicting and inconclusive studies addressing whether or not excessive caffeine intake can lead to miscarriage or birth defects.
Because there is no conclusive research on the effects of caffeine intake on developing fetuses, most medical experts advise that if you're going to drink coffee while pregnant, that you limit the amount of coffee (or other forms of caffeine) you consume.
How much coffee is too much?
The general consensus among health care professionals is that it's safe to drink coffee while pregnant, as long as you stay between 150-300 mg of caffeine a day. Moderate amounts of caffeine have not been linked conclusively to any negative outcomes for pregnant women or their babies. But it's important to remember that not all coffee is created equal, and caffeine can be found in many other foods and beverages you may be eating and drinking. For example, brewed coffee typically contains between 95-240 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces, whereas 8 ounces of instant coffee contains between 27-173 mg of caffeine. Caffeine can also be found in black and green teas, chocolate, and soda pop. So if you're hoping to still indulge in a couple of cups of coffee everyday, make sure you're paying attention to serving size and the type of coffee you're drinking. And watch your caffeine intake from other sources, so you stay within the recommended guidelines of 150-300 mg of caffeine per day.