Coffee and Pregnant Women

So you’re a regular coffee drinker, who one day realizes you’re pregnant. You’ve got your own share of cravings, aside from caffeine, but then it hits you: You’ve got to have a cup of coffee. What does drinking coffee mean for you and your unborn baby?




There have been numerous studies on the damaging effects of caffeine or coffee on pregnant women and their babies, but new evidence paints a different story.

Old Theories 

It has long been said that caffeine and caffeinated coffee in any amount is harmful to pregnant women and their unborn children, that caffeine causes abortion or miscarriage of babies, that even decaffeinated coffee is a risk to pregnant women, that coffee causes infertility, and that heavy coffee drinkers run the risk of giving birth to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

New Evidence 

Does Caffeinated Coffee Cause Miscarriage? – According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), one or two cups (8 ounces each) of caffeinated coffee daily play no part in whether or not a woman miscarries during her pregnancy. Other factors are to blame.

Does Caffeinated Coffee Harm the Unborn Child? – Birth weight and preterm births are apparently not affected by 1 or 2 cups of caffeinated coffee daily. However, it is unknown whether caffeinated coffee will affect the unborn child’s development in larger amounts.

Caffeinated vs. Decaf – Decaffeinated coffee is a safer choice for pregnant women, because it’s the caffeine in coffee that can cause problems. Absent of caffeine, it’s a pretty harmless drink in moderate amounts. However, a study conducted by the State Department of Health and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) uncovered startling evidence that 3 or more cups of

decaffeinated coffee consumption daily in the first trimester may cause miscarriage or at least increase the risk of miscarriage almost 2 ½ times that of those who don’t drink decaffeinated coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee also increases one’s risk for developing heart disease, and since pregnant women naturally have elevated blood pressure, this is one factor they could do without. Caffeinated coffee may create yet another craving that pregnant women shouldn’t have to contend with during pregnancy (since caffeine can be addictive), so even in small amounts it could be enough to keep them wanting more. Studies have shown, however, that 1 or 2 cups of caffeinated coffee every now and then doesn’t have much effect on pregnant women.

Does Caffeinated Coffee Cause ADHD in Children? – Evidence now proves that children born to regular caffeinated coffee drinkers are not at risk for developing ADHD. Other factors unrelated to coffee consumption are at the root cause of ADHD.

Does Caffeinated Coffee Cause Infertility? – That is a bold statement that has not been proven, but there appears to be an undeniable link between the two, according to recent studies.

So the bottom line then is that pregnant women should only drink caffeinated coffee in very small amounts – no more than 16 ounces (2 cups) per day – and decaffeinated coffee is fine in moderate amounts, keeping in mind that no more than 3 cups of decaf per day in the 1st trimester is considered safe. Remember, the baby’s safety is paramount and moms also need to be healthy so that the baby is too, so “drink” responsibly.

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