What’s The Rule on Coffee During Pregnancy?

Can you still drink coffee while pregnant?

You’ve created a routine. That cozy cup of caffeine jolts you into action in the morning, or helps you relax after a long day. Maybe your barista at Starbucks is giving you the side eye when you ask for a Frappucino with your newly exposed bump. 

What ARE the rules about drinking caffeine during your pregnancy? Should you avoid it all together?

Here are the facts:

Can I Drink Coffee While Pregnant?

The old rule used to be no caffeine consumption at all during pregnancy.

After numerous studies, both the March of Dimes and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have concluded that while caffeine should be limited, the intake of less than 200 milligrams per day is generally regarded as safe for pregnancy.  

From a 2010 ACOG Committee Opinion (Reaffirmed 2018 but subject to change):

Moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200 mg per day) does not appear to be a major contributing factor in miscarriage or preterm birth. The relationship of caffeine to growth restriction remains undetermined. A final conclusion cannot be made at this time as to whether there is a correlation between high caffeine intake and miscarriage.
— ACOG Committee Opinion - "Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy"

For reference, 200 milligrams would equate to an average 12 oz. cup of coffee.

You should note, however, that caffeine content can vary widely between brews and brands. For example, a “tall” from Starbucks can range between 193 and 270mg of caffeine - depending on the type of bean and roast.

*This article has some great graphics on the amount of caffeine found in different beverages.*

 
Caffeine content can vary widely between roasts and brands
 

Boosting Your Energy Without Caffeine

While caffeine is often sought for fatigue, which can be rampant in pregnancy, also look for other ways to up your energy. 

Water

Increase your water intake to the recommended 8 glasses a day to help flush your system and hydrate you, as caffeine can also hinder hydration.

Diet

Look to start your day with a balanced, even if small, portion of protein and fiber to assist in your overall feeling of health. 

Sleep

Make sure you’re receiving an adequate and restful night of deep sleep as well to help with the pregnancy fatigue, and that you're taking it easy and listening to your body at work and home when you’re feeling tired. 

Exercise

While it may feel like you can’t summon the extra energy, attending an exercise class, such as Fit4Baby, can help increase your overall energy and keep your muscles toned and strengthened as well. 

The added benefit? Increased support for your pelvic floor and other birthing muscles on hand for delivery!

Naps

While most of us can’t put our feet up and take naps all the time, if you get the opportunity to do so, embrace it! You are growing a human, after all, and it takes calories and energy! 

The Less, The Better

Bottom line, caffeine should be avoided in large quantities since most studies have reached conflicting results about the effects. 

However, if you are finding it hard to give up that one cup a day, go for it and don’t feel guilty! Self love and self care are about balance; pregnancy doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all of the good little perks from your day. 


Wondering what else you should be avoiding, adding, or managing during your pregnancy? A consultation with one of our maternity concierges or labor doulas can give you access to all the recommendations, myths, and more!