Caffeine and Pregnancy: Can you Have Coffee When Pregnant?

If you’re both a mom-to-be & a fan of coffee, you’re in the right place! We’re talking about coffee and pregnancy here. Is coffee good or bad for pregnancy? How much coffee can you drink? What are good coffee alternatives when pregnant? Read on to find out! 

Nothing can beat that first sip of coffee in the morning, right? This dose of magic kickstarts the day, and many of us can’t imagine our lives without it. Besides, caffeine can boast numerous health benefits – it’s been shown to protect the liver, relieve migraines, boost energy levels, improve concentration, and more. But what about coffee benefits and pregnancy? Is it safe to consume coffee when expecting? Should you hold off completely or there is a safe dose?

If you’re in your first trimester and dread the thought of giving coffee up during pregnancy, our post is for you! Keep reading to find out whether you still can enjoy this delicious stimulant throughout the day.

Is Coffee Bad for Pregnancy?

There is no short answer to this question! Many studies have been done, but they have conflicting evidence. Anyway, the good news is that you can have up to 200 mg of caffeine a day, this is equivalent to 1–2 cups of coffee. More than that, experts urge moms-to-be not to go cold turkey if they are addicted to coffee since abrupt caffeine withdrawal may cause symptoms like nausea, headaches, irritability, and difficulty focusing.

However, you should remember that not only coffee contains caffeine! The amount of caffeine you take in from various products during the day adds up! So, if you have a cup of java in the morning, you should significantly limit the following foods and drinks:

  • Tea
  • Coffee-flavored products (yogurt, ice cream, etc.)
  • Energy drinks
  • Softdrinks
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa
  • Some medicines

It would be wise to use a caffeine calculator to prevent over-consumption and avoid the risks we’ll describe below. 

What are the Potential Risks of Excessive Caffeine Consumption?

When you consume too much caffeine, it may lead to indigestion, increased heart rate, blood pressure, and the amount of urine the body makes, besides, it can cause sleep issues and make you feel jittery. 

Pregnancy makes you extra sensitive to caffeine since your body metabolizes it longer. So, caffeine stays longer in your bloodstream, making you nauseous and lightheaded. More than that, caffeine passes through the placenta which can be dangerous for the future baby.

Over-consumption of caffeine is linked to the following risks:

  • Miscarriage
  • Preterm labor
  • Low birthweight
  • Childhoodacuteleukemia
  • Behavioral problems in kids, including attention difficulties and hyperactivity.

As we touched on above, the results of the studies are conflicting, and, let’s face it – some women consume much more caffeine than it’s recommended without any consequences. However, Evelyn Harper, one of the experts on Top Mom knows that it’s better to be safe than sorry! So, do limit your coffee consumption or find quality coffee alternatives for a safe pregnancy. 

What About Decaf Coffee?

Some experts recommend taking in as little caffeine as possible during pregnancy or switch to decaf altogether. It seems like a great alternative, but decaf coffee still has trace amounts of caffeine. So, how many cups of decaf coffee can you have when pregnant? On average, a cup of decaf contains 2-12 mg of caffeine which means you can enjoy plenty of this drink before you hit the 200-mg limit.

While decaf is a safer option for future moms, you should do the research behind the brand before brewing. That’s because some decaf products contain a health hazardous chemical – methylene chloride which is associated with asphyxiation, cancer, and cognitive impairment. It’s also linked to liver, kidney, and reproductive toxicity.

When you are choosing decaf coffee, opt for a certified organic product to lower the risk of exposure.


Ideally, a woman should whittle away her caffeine consumption before she gets pregnant. However, if you’re a coffee fan and just can’t do without it, have 1-2 regular cups of freshly brewed java a day and you’ll be fine or switch to quality, organic decaffeinated coffee. 

If you’re still unsure of whether you should drink coffee or how much to take in, talk to your health care provider so you can both make the right decision for you and your future baby. ​


Author’s Bio: Rae Hudson is a mother to two kids, she loves spending time with her littles. Rae is a freelance copywriter and writes articles on topics related to pregnancy, motherhood, kids’ growth, and development. She enjoys supporting new moms through her writing.

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