For many women, the excitement of pregnancy also comes with lots of questions about coffee and caffeine. Can I have caffeine while I’m pregnant? How much is too much caffeine during pregnancy? Should I drink decaf coffee when I’m pregnant?
Many of our customers are asking us these questions so we’ve sought out some expert advice to get the scoop on all things caffeine, coffee and pregnancy.
Savorista sat down with registered dietician nutritionist (RDN) and certified lactation educator (CLEC) Ryann Kipping of theprenatalnutritionist.com who works with pregnant women to plan their diet and nutrition for healthy pregnancies. We asked for her input on the best practices for pregnant coffee lovers! Below she breaks down how caffeine works differently in the body during pregnancy, how much of your caffeinated coffee is really okay for expecting moms, and her perspective on whether to cut out or reduce caffeine when baby is on the way.
1. What is the impact of caffeine during pregnancy?
First, Kipping shared that caffeine does cross the placenta barrier, so moms who drink caffeine do share that caffeine with their growing babies. For pregnant women, the body processes caffeine slower, so it remains in the body longer. Many women are more sensitive to caffeine when they are pregnant and find that they are jittery and struggle to sleep with even fewer cups of coffee.
Also, the developing baby doesn’t have the ability to metabolize caffeine which can cause a rapid heartbeat. In terms of the severity of the risk of caffeine, Kipping said that studies have shown different results. “In general, the biggest risks are for ‘extreme caffeine drinkers’ who are having 6 or more cups per day. Studies have shown low birth weights and even pre-term births in these extreme cases, but most moms don’t consume this much coffee, so this situation is rare.”
2. How does caffeine’s impact change by trimester?
Lots of moms are asking about the difference in drinking caffeine in the first vs third trimester. Kipping says, the first trimester is a crucial time when the baby’s organs are developing and this is when some studies show that the baby is most vulnerable to caffeine. Other studies show that the risk levels are the same at all times throughout a pregnancy. So, unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer!
3. How much caffeine is too much?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend drinking less than 200mg of caffeine per day when pregnant. Depending on how you brew it, this is about one 12 oz cup of caffeinated coffee per day
4. What do you recommend for pregnant moms?
Kipping says “I leave it up to the moms to decide whether they want to switch to decaf. I recommend drinking no more than one caffeinated cup of coffee a day while expecting. If they want more than that, I’d suggest decaf for the other cups.”
She added that women who are trying to conceive and currently drinking 3 or more caffeinated cups per day may want to start reducing their caffeine now to build good habits before pregnancy and to make the transition easier.
5. But, decaf? Can it taste good? What about Low Caf?
A big factor in why switching to decaf may be hard to swallow (pun intended) for moms-to-be is that most decaf coffee is terrible. Well, lucky for today’s pregnant mamas, Savorista is not your average decaf coffee. Savorista crafts “shockingly great” decaf coffee and delicious low caffeine coffee. If you decide to moderate your caffeine, Savorista will be there for you during your pregnancy and beyond, with coffee so flavorful, you won’t miss the caffeine.
A big thanks to Ryann for answering our questions! You can catch her at @prenatalnutritionist on IG and FB.
Questions for us? Reach out at @savoristacoffee on IG and FB or at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo thanks to @houseofturcotte)