Coffee 101: What to Know About Coffee and Pregnancy
Coffee can do wonders for our body, but is it safe during pregnancy? Here’s what you need to know.
Is it Safe to Drink Coffee While Pregnant?
We already know that coffee is both safe and beneficial to many areas of our life. We feel more awake, attentive, and happier. To our bodies, coffee also gives us a variety of health benefits. However, as with all things, moderation is key and the same principle applies during pregnancy.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest that one’s caffeine consumption remains below 200 milligrams per day if you are pregnant. Going over that amount may be risky as it will increase your chances of low birth rate and miscarriage.
So, what exactly does 200 mg of caffeine look like in coffee? Well, it depends on the coffee brew and the way of preparation. You can find the full breakdown in our previous articles, but generally speaking...
An 8-oz cup of brewed coffee typically contains around 70-140 mg of caffeine, while an 8-oz cup of brewed decaffeinated coffee can contain up to 10 mg of caffeine. Yes, decaffeinated coffees actually also have some level of caffeine in them.
If you prefer cold brew, then you might find around 150 mg to 240 mg of caffeine in a 12-oz cup of cold brew coffee. If you’re concerned about caffeine intake during your pregnancy, it would be best to avoid cold brew.
Instant coffee tends to contain less caffeine than a typical cup of brewed coffee. It varies by brand, but usually instant coffee contains about 30-90 mg of caffeine in a 8-10 fl oz cup. Waka Coffee’s instant coffee, for example, contains about 70 mg.
In addition to brew, different methods of preparation also affect the caffeine content within your drink. For example, there is 115 - 175 mg of caffeine in drip coffee while 80 - 135 mg of caffeine in French Press.
Also important to note that you can find caffeine not only in coffee, so you need to make sure to count the entire daily caffeine intake. Caffeine can be found in tea, chocolate, some breakfast cereal, medications and more. Better to stay safe and avoid drinking coffee as much as you can.
What Does Coffee Do to My Body?
When we drink coffee, the caffeine enters our bloodstream, which can occur in as little as 10 minutes. The caffeine then binds and replaces the adenosine receptors within the brain. In the brain, adenosine is a depressant that naturally lets us know when we're tired. So, with caffeine replacing the adenosine, the result is that we feel less tired and more stimulated.
This extra stimulation then causes the release of adrenaline, which gives us that energy boost we all know and love. Lastly, caffeine prevents dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical, from being reabsorbed in the brain, which raises our mood.
In a 2008 study, particularly aimed towards women, it was also found that too much caffeine can reduce breast size. Carried out in the UK, researchers looked at 300 women who took part in the study and questioned them on how many cups of coffee they drank on an average day in addition to measuring their breast size.
According to the results, women who consumed more than three cups of coffee a day had an average of 17% smaller breast size than those who drank less than three cups a day. However, researchers also found that caffeine intake can have a positive impact on breast health. In the study, those who drank caffeine regularly had a reduced risk of breast cancer amongst volunteers who were specifically picked from high-risk bloodlines for the disease.
Caffeine During Pregnancy
Specifically, during pregnancy, you might experience more of caffeine’s negative side effects. While these side effects may have had a brief presence throughout your coffee drinking journey, you should expect these to be more noticeable during your pregnancy.
This is because, during pregnancy, the body’s ability to process and break down caffeine is slower. Thus, the caffeine within your body remains within your bloodstream for a longer amount of time.
Additionally, caffeine also contains compounds that can make it more difficult for your body to absorb iron during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body can increase its blood volume by 30%-50%. Iron is especially important because it allows red blood cells to transport oxygen to the tissues within our bodies. If a significant amount of oxygen is not carried into the body tissues, you can experience anemia, which can result in fatigue, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, and an increased risk of premature delivery and low birth rate.
Unique Coffee Alternatives
If you still want to have that coffee taste during your pregnancy, you can consider the following items:
1. Frontier Co-op Chicory Root Roasted Granules
Being grown mainly in northwestern Europe, Chicory is a plant that is widely used as a substitute for coffee due to its similar notes and flavor profiles. In addition to being a rich source of inulin, a water-soluble fiber, it is also caffeine-free!
2. Kiss me Organic Organic Rooibos Tea Bags
Pronounced like “roy-boss”, this herb is grown in South Africa. While it is not exactly a “tea,” when this plant is dried, it can be brewed into a reddish-brown herbal drink. What really makes this herb unique is that it contains antioxidants and, you guessed it, is also caffeine-free!
3. Waka Coffee Quality Decaffeinated Instant Coffee
Want the same aroma and taste as coffee? We get it. Decaffeinated Coffee, or ‘decaf’ for short, is a great alternative to your regular cup of coffee. However, take note that decaf may contain small amounts of caffeine. In fact, an 8-oz cup of brewed decaf coffee can contain up to 10 mg of caffeine.
4. FGO Organic Green Tea Bags
Though an 8-oz cup of green tea can contain up to 50 mg of caffeine, you can continuously brew the same leaves throughout the day. Doing this will progressively reduce the caffeine levels in your brew.
5. Taylors of Harrogate Afternoon Darjeeling
Coming from the Darjeeling district in West Bengal, India, this black tea features light to medium fruity and floral notes. Since this is a black tea, an 8-oz cup of brewed Darjeeling will contain around 50 mg of caffeine. While this tea contains less caffeine than other black teas, like Assam, it can contain more than green tea.
If you found this article super interesting, we just wanted to say... Congratulations! :) Like with anything else, understanding your body and the consequences is key. If you want more information, ask your doctor and drink coffee responsibly!