Mythbusting: Coffee in Pregnancy

July 27, 2019

WHY IT MATTERS

There is a lot of confusing and alarmist information out there on the internet about the safety of basically everything in pregnancy. We all want to be safe, but also to not be deprived of allofthethings for 9+ months. Coffee is one that is hotly debated. Here’s the breakdown of real evidence on the subject.

MYTH: YOU HAVE TO ABSTAIN FROM ALL CAFFEINE IN PREGNANCY

Coffee is important to some of us. I’ve personally been a coffee drinker from childhood (we lived in Portugal for a while where cafe au lait is a children’s drink). My first job was as a Starbucks Barista, so you better believe when I was a pregnant physician, I looked up all the information on this topic! I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to – even other doctors – who are under the impression people absolutely must stop drinking all caffeine the moment they conceive. 

There has been a lot of press about possible links to low birthweight babies, premature delivery and even childhood leukemia with caffeine intake in pregnancy, so many people choose to abstain so as to eliminate this risk entirely. However,  this Cochrane Review looked at the research available, and the best studies have shown no difference in pregnancy outcomes with moderate caffeine intake, only with high caffeine intake. What’s “moderate caffeine intake”? About 200mg caffeine daily. That’s one tall Starbucks brewed coffee or an espresso drink with 2 shots. Strong black tea has about 50mg per cup and regular or diet soda (which is bad for you for many other reasons….but) about 35mg. Energy drinks vary widely – if you want to look up your specific fave bev, check out Caffeine Informer

Bottom line, as long as you’re able to keep it moderate – under 200mg a day – you can still have that latte! Probably less is better. Watch out for getting dehydrated since caffeine is a diuretic (makes you pee). Also beware later in pregnancy that it may worsen heartburn or reflux. Of course, if it makes you feel bad – lightheaded, having heart palpitations, or more contractions – stop and check with your health care provider. 

BUT WHAT ABOUT….

There are other reasons you may want to abstain from caffeine in pregnancy. For personalized advice on this topic, talk to your health care provider and consider a consultation with Village Concierge Baby Planning! 

As with all posts, you should always consult your personal health care provider. This is meant to provide information, never as your own medical advice or treatment recommendations.

 

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