Is Coffee Safe During Pregnancy? Drinking Coffee During Pregnancy

Is Coffee Safe During Pregnancy? Drinking Coffee During Pregnancy

Update: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revised its guidelines about drinking coffee and caffeinated beverages in July of 2010. The new guidelines say that up to 200 mg daily of caffeine does not increase the risk of miscarriage or preterm birth. The new guideline was published in the August 2010 issue of “Obstetrics and Gynecology” and is based on a comprehensive review of all published studies on caffeine risks during pregnancy.

According to the ACOG’s Committee on Obstetric Practice, there is good evidence to show that having a cup of coffee a day doesn’t affect the risk of miscarriage or premature births. Dr. William H. Barth Jr., chairman of the committee, told U.S. News & World Report, “Finally, we have good evidence to show that having a cup of coffee a day is fine and it poses no risk to the fetus.”

can you drink coffee while pregnant? Yes, and No:)
Researchers studying the effects of drinking coffee during pregnancy found that -coffee in moderation is safe during pregnancy image copyright

For reference, an 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee contains about 137 mg of caffeine, while a cup of instant has about 78 mg of caffeine. If you’re pregnant, you should also be aware of caffeine intake from other beverages and foods and count that against your caffeine for the day.

The committee didn’t make any statement about whether caffeine during pregnancy restricts fetal growth or has other effects on the growing fetus.

Caffeine in Pregnancy and ADHD

An early study suggested that there may be a connection between coffee during pregnancy and ADHD. A study found that children whose mothers had taken the equivalent of 10 cups of coffee a day during pregnancy had three times the risk of ADHD. Once the researchers adjusted the results to account for other factors, however, they found the increased risk was statistically insignificant — that is, they determined that even at that level, children born to mothers who drink coffee have no more risk of having ADHD than those born to mothers who don’t drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks.


It seems that the connection between coffee and pregnancy may not be as simple as most people have always believed. A few recent studies show that drinking moderate amounts of coffee during late pregnancy may not be as bad for you as we’d thought. On the other hand, there seems to be a definite link between coffee and infertility.

Drinking coffee during pregnancy has been one of those automatic no-nos for a very long time, so a study released in January by the British Medical Journal may come as a surprise. Researchers studying the effects of drinking coffee during pregnancy found that “coffee in moderation is safe during pregnancy”. But is it really?

The effects of coffee during pregnancy is extensively researched – and the results of the various studies into the effects of caffeine and coffee on pregnant women, fertility and the development of the growing baby are contradictory at best. This latest study suggests that women who take in less than 300 mgs of caffeine per day are not endangering their babies. That’s widely been reported as ‘about the same amount of caffeine as three cups of coffee’ – and that’s where things get sticky. Is that a cup of home brewed drip coffee? An espresso at your favorite coffee bar? A sixteen ounce latte? A cup of instant? Each of those has a different amount of caffeine – and it’s not always easy to guess which coffee drinks are the most loaded with caffeine.

Another study in Denmark back in 2003 found that women who drank more than eight daily cups of coffee during pregnancy increased their risk of miscarriage or stillbirth by as much as 300%. The researchers suspected that the reason may be that caffeine constricts the blood vessels, meaning that less blood gets through the placenta to the developing baby. They also suggested that the caffeine in coffee may directly affect the baby, whose developing system is far more sensitive to caffeine than the mother’s. Other studies suggest that up to five daily cups of coffee during pregnancy is safe for your baby.

According to most medical experts, the bottom line on drinking coffee during pregnancy is this: pregnant women should reduce their intake of caffeine during pregnancy to about the amount found in 1 to 2 cups of coffee a day.

What about decaffeinated coffee and pregnancy?

There’s far less research into decaffeinated coffee and pregnancy. Since caffeine is the major culprit in the ill effects of drinking coffee during pregnancy, it stands to reason that during pregnancy decaf coffee is fine. There’s no suggestion that decaf has any ill effects on pregnancy at all. In other words, if you must drink coffee during pregnancy decaf coffee is the way to go. Caffeinated coffee should be limited to no more than one to two cups of coffee per day.

The Good News About Coffee in Late Pregnancy

The Danish study reported in January studied the intake of coffee in late pregnancy – the last trimester. It showed that in over 1200 women, those who drank no more than 300 mgs of caffeine a day showed no difference in birth weight or premature births with women who drank strictly decaffeinated coffee during pregnancy. If you really need that shot of caffeine, you might try replacing a few cups of coffee a day with decaffeinated coffee during pregnancy.

Related studies:

A study of 5,144 pregnant women by scientists at the State Department of Health, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research and UCSF turned up some surprising results. The study found no significant increased risk for spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, associated with caffeine consumption. Even among women considered heavy caffeine consumers (300 milligrams or three cups of coffee a day) miscarriage risk increased only slightly — about 1.3 times the risk as noncaffeine users. The Study also found that women who drank three or more cups of decaffeinated coffee a day in the first trimester had 2.4 times the risk of miscarriage as those who did not drink decaf.

Read the full study at:

Also on BBC: Decaf coffee linked to heart risk

Drinking decaffeinated coffee could increase the risk of heart disease, a study has suggested.
It could lead to a rise in harmful cholesterol levels, the US National Institutes of Health study found.

Read the article at:

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  1. GD says

    I come from a coffee drinking culture, my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother etc.. ALL DRANK COFFEE WHILE PREGNANT. However, in Latin America especially in Guatemala everyone has cofee 2 times a day usually medium or coffee with Milk, (cafe con Leche) not as strong as a latte. No one in my family coming from my great grand mother had a pre-term, nor did they have any children with mental or physical disabilities, I think that coffee itself is not bad at all, it’s about the moderation, I honestly cannot bear to take more than 2 cups a day in a medium blend or with milk but each person is subject to their own opinion, I honestly think the stance of saying “coffee is simply bad during pregnancy” is ignorant and misinformed, if that was the case everyone in Latin America must be pre-term, Sigh….

  2. loice says

    I crave filtered
    Double espresso and clay (as in soil) can there be something healthier to substitute with! I’s ±2months pregnant please help me!!!

  3. Aanchal says

    Hi… i am 17 weeks preganant and likes coffee very much before pregnancy. till now i had not taken any coffee but now i sometimes get craving for a cup of coffee. what should be the ideal amount in case pregnant women wants to intake. since every individual is different and so the case of pregnancy is different with all. please advice…

  4. MaKitty81 says

    Hi Everyone,

    I wonder if a woman drink a lot of coffee for a month before knowing she is pregnant what are the risks to the unborn child?

  5. AniaWhoLovesCoffee says

    i study nuitrition and i love coffee and am planning to get pregnant so i did a research on coffee. on you will find an article about drinking coffee while pregnant. they say that having a cup of coffee equals to running to catch a bus. in both cases your heart rate goes up, so does your matabolism. they also say that considering this one or two cups should be fine.
    as love coffee,and want to stay healthy,i prepare it at home from freshly ground organic coffee beans, and i only use filtered water. i use home coffee machine and krups coffee grinder, britta water filter. i drink about 2-3 cups a day. i would not recommend drinking regular decaf, because of the processes the coffee goes through. i think i would try to go off coffee, or at least drink week organic coffee. good quality coffee has lots of antioxidants. should not be drunk with sugar or milk.
    one last thing – not everyone is affected by coffee/caffeine in the same way, so bear that in mind. if someone drunk 8 cups of coffee during her pregnancy and had healthy baby this may not be safe recommendation for sombody else.
    i would say, everyone should limit ( or stop drinking if u can ) their coffee/caffeine intake,and should only buy organic. they are some good brands.
    happy pregnancy!

  6. Cali says

    What about organic coffee? Limited of course to 1-2 cups a day. I’m asking because I simply love coffee and cannot think straight without it.

  7. Ebonee says

    At my 7 month ultra sound scan my babies heart was racing and thumping way louder than normal. My mid wife asked if I could think of anything that would cause it. I could only think that I’d had two caffeinated coffees,one at 7am and one at 11.30am. I was shocked and a little ashamed that my poor wee girls heart was still working overtime at 4PM! I didn’t drink anymore coffee while pregnant after that, its simply not worth it.

  8. JJ says

    I owned a coffee shop and let me tell you specialty drinks do NOT HAVE MORE CAFFEINE than a regular cup of joe. That is incorrect. yes, espresso contains more caffeine per volume, but an espresso shot is very small compared to a 8oz,120z, 16oz or 20oz of coffee. So per volume your “regular cup of joe” has alot more caffeine in it.
    I’m currently pregnant myself and I do not drink any caffeine, I have never been a soda drinker so that’s not a problem. I have had one iced latte with half caf espresso. This has far less caf than a regular cup of coffee. Then there comes tea which has less caffeine as well. People need to look into their information correctly before misinforming people. My dr/midwife advised that one cup of regular coffee a day would be fine but no coffee the first trimester at all. Again,I’m almost in my third trimester and have only had one iced latte last week. So, I say you need to decide for yourself what risks you are willing to take and you need to talk to your Dr/midwife before deciding to consume something. I find the study interesting on the decaf coffee side of things, makes sense though as the process that the beans go through to make them decaf.

  9. ilovecoffeetoo says

    wow did any of you catch the last part of this article??? all you people saying to switch to decaf are clearly not reading this through.

    “The Study also found that women who drank three or more cups of decaffeinated coffee a day in the first trimester had 2.4 times the risk of miscarriage as those who did not drink decaf.”

    miscarriage was 1.3 times in CAFFEINATED coffee, nad 2.4 in decaf. which one is clearly safer? let them drink it if it doesnt exced a dangerous amount, but dont tell them to switch to decaf when it causes more problems

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