Is it Safe to Take Caffeine During Pregnancy?

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Caffeine During Pregnancy

Caffeine has been a vital part of our universal culture for many years now. Whether it is the early morning cuppa of the mid-day tea that helps you wash the sluggishness, caffeine consumption is fairly common, and many women have their minds and bodies tuned with it. But caffeine during pregnancy is not encouraged.

This stimulant has been most loved by everyone. However, now that you are expecting you have to ease or reduce the regular intake of certain delights and drinks, which contain higher levels of caffeine in them. This is because higher levels of caffeine intake during pregnancy can interfere with the health of the fetus. So how does caffeine intake affect your pregnancy and how much of it can you safely have? Read the article to know more.

In This Article

Effects Of Caffeine During Pregnancy

Caffeine is both a stimulant and a diuretic. It stimulates the heart and metabolic rate. It increases blood pressure, also keeps you attentive. Therefore, in a similar way, it affects your unborn child since it can get passed through the placenta to your baby.

High caffeine is not good for an unborn child, if consumed more than recommended there might be a risk of miscarriage or your child may be born underweight. More consumption of it may even cause certain changes in babies sleeping and movement pattern in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.

Many studies have linked over-consumption of caffeine with miscarriages, and a Denmark study has found that women who consumed 8 or more cups of coffee are twice likely to have a stillbirth from women who had none.

Caffeine also causes you to urinate more, and since pregnancy,  it has increased the frequency of urine, caffeine can just make the condition worse. If had before going to bed, you will need to get up to urinate many times during the night – and it can also cause dehydration.

Some Other Harmful Effects Of Caffeine During Pregnancy

    • Increase the chances of a miscarriage – twice as likely as women who do not have caffeine
    • Cause birth defects and preterm births – though no formal research has been done yet
    • Increases the risk of low birth weight offspring

How Does Caffeine During Pregnancy Affect The Baby?

pregnant woman with coffee

Since it is a stimulant, consuming it beyond the recommended level can keep you and your baby both alert and awake, which can in turn make you both uncomfortable. Although experts suggest it completely, yet, it won’t harm if you are having 1 or 2 mugs a day (i.e. Nearly 200 mg/day) which is within the recommended limit.

Caffeine does not get broken up easily by a sluggish digestive system, which is likely to be the case as your pregnancy progresses, and thus ends up staying in the bloodstream longer than when you were not pregnant. This means caffeine is more difficult to be broken down in the body when you are in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Your baby cannot process the caffeine either, but because it stays in the bloodstream, it ends up crossing the placenta. The baby can feel uncomfortable, and this is again a reason lactating or breastfeeding mothers are also advised to limit their caffeine intake.

[Read: Caffeine and Breastfeeding]

Some research has also shown that babies that are born to mothers who had more than 500 mg of caffeine had faster heart rates and an increased rate of breathing too. Caffeine has also been linked to colic in babies.

Being a diuretic, it makes you run to the bathroom more and more, as it pulls all the fluids and calcium from your body – which also means the baby gets deprived of the same. With nutritional value being nil, caffeine disrupts your sleep schedule and keeps you getting those mood swings more often, besides decreasing the iron absorption rates of the body as well.

Which Foods Contain Caffeine?

Caffeine is a naturally found substance. You can find in coffee, soft drinks, teas, chocolates, energy drinks, chocolate-flavored ice cream or yogurts, energy drinks, some desserts, etc. Certain tablets that cure cold and flu and headache, breath fresheners, and painkillers also contain some amount of caffeine. Some seeds, such as sunflower seeds, are also infused with caffeine.

How Much Caffeine Is Safe During Pregnancy?

Most experts agree that caffeine intake should be limited to 200 milligrams per day, which is about one to two cups of coffee. Though there is no hard evidence supporting the same, this amount seems to draw a general agreement. Below are some beverages that we consume frequently with their caffeine content:

Beverage Caffeine Quantity
8 oz Coffee Generic Brewed 95-200 mg
8 oz Coffee Generic Decaffeinated 2 mg
12 oz Coke 35 mg
8.3 oz Redbull 77 mg
1 oz Dark Chocolate 23 mg
8 oz Chocolate Milk 5-8 mg

How Can I Cut On Caffeine Now That I Am Expecting?

How Can I Cut On Caffeine Now That I Am Expecting_

It is not easy to stop it completely if you are a keen coffee or tea addict, hence you will have to cut caffeine in a gradual process. While for some women morning sickness does the trick, for others food aversions to things they like to eat or drink do help. Never try to go off caffeine in a jiffy if you are habitual, this will only give you headaches, and irritability and leave you cranky and sore.

  • Switch to instant from brewed
  • Try decaffeinated versions
  • Do not dip your tea bag for long, as it would help to reduce the caffeine content
  • Use more milkless coffee
  • Try herbal teas, but make sure to check the labels first
  • Snack up on foods that give similar energy kicks – like a slice of cheese on a cracker
  • Remind yourself and remember why you are doing this – you will not need another reason

Whenever you have coffee outside at any outlet, do not forget the content of caffeine is extremely high in espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos, hence merely having one cup could possibly reach your daily limit. Not all herbal teas are caffeine-free; they contain other herbs and condiments that may be harmful during pregnancy, therefore it is better to consult your doctor before you try something new.

It would be rather safe to avoid caffeine as much as possible. Milk, water, and fresh fruit juices are beneficial substitutes. The healthiest choice you could make for yourself and your baby is by consuming less caffeine!


1. How Does Caffeine Affect A Fetus?

Caffeine is thought to cause blood arteries in the uterus and placenta to tighten, reducing blood flow to the fetus and inhibiting fetal development, according to the study.

2. Can Caffeine Cause Birth Defects?

There is a 3-5 percent possibility of a birth defect in each given pregnancy. There is no evidence that caffeine use raises the risk of birth abnormalities.

3. Does Caffeine Affect A Baby’s Brain Development?

According to a new study, caffeine use during pregnancy might alter critical brain connections, perhaps leading to behavioral issues later in life.

4. Does The Baby Move More After Having Coffee?

After consuming coffee, you may experience an increase in fetal movement. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it may encourage your infant to become more active.


Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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