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Coffee During Pregnancy: How Much Is Okay?

Can coffee harm my baby? How many cups are ok during pregnancy and breastfeeding? What about energy drinks? Here we answer all your questions about coffee during pregnancy and give tips on how you don't have to go without the energy boost in the morning.

At a glance

  • Pregnant women shouldn't consume more than 200 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day.
  • Two to three cups of coffee (150 ml) or four cups of black or green tea are allowed and will not harm the unborn baby.
  • Increased caffeine consumption (from 300 mg) is suspected of reducing the birth weight of the baby and increasing the risk of miscarriage.
  • Smoothies, mint tea and, for example, gentle alternating showers give a healthy and caffeine-free energy kick.

Can I drink coffee during pregnancy?

Everyday life without coffee? Difficult to imagine for many people. But now you are pregnant and are wondering whether you have to do without the pick-me-up completely for the sake of your baby? First we can give the all-clear: drinking coffee during pregnancy is not forbidden. The only important thing for you as a pregnant woman is to make sure that you do not consume too much caffeine. Increasing the amount of caffeine each day can affect your pregnancy and your baby's growth. According to the European Food Safety Authority EFSA, 200 milligrams of caffeine per day are considered safe for you and your unborn child. This is roughly equivalent to two to three cups of coffee (150 ml) or four cups of black or green tea.

Is coffee harmful to my baby during pregnancy?

If you, as a pregnant woman, regularly drink more than two to three cups of coffee a day, this could stress your baby. His butt absorbs just as much caffeine as yours, but the unborn child can break it down much more slowly. Important enzymes (cytochromes), which are responsible for breaking down caffeine, are still missing or not available in sufficient quantities in your baby. Some studies suggest that pregnant women who regularly drank a lot of coffee during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to children with low birth weights. What is even more worrying, however, is that the risks of miscarriage increase if more than 300 milligrams of caffeine a day are consumed, according to a Danish meta-analysis from 2017. The meta-analysis was developed in collaboration with several institutes at Aarhus University and several hospitals. You should therefore avoid drinking more than two to three cups of coffee a day. It is important for you to know that just like you, caffeine also inhibits the iron absorption of your unborn baby, accelerates the heartbeat and constricts the blood vessels. By the way: after you've had a cup of coffee, it takes about an hour for the caffeine to reach your child's bloodstream.

Which drink contains how much caffeine?

Average caffeine content of beverages
(according to EFSA 2015)

200 ml filter coffee

approx. 90 mg

60 ml espresso

approx. 80 mg

200 ml of black tea

approx. 45 mg

200 ml of green tea

approx. 30 mg

250 ml cola drinks

25 mg / 330 ml (can approx. 35 mg)

250 ml energy drink (1 can)

about 80 mg

200 ml cocoa drink

about 8 to 35 mg

Always keep an eye on the total daily amount of caffeine!

Two cups of coffee in the morning, a large cola at noon and another black tea in the afternoon? If you add up the caffeine values ​​for the whole day with the help of the table above, you will easily see: This is too much, at least if you consume these amounts of caffeine more often.
You should now completely avoid energy drinks. The reason: They contain a lot of caffeine, mostly together with the substances taurine, inositol and glucuronolactone, often in high concentrations. All soft drinks with a caffeine content of more than 150 mg per liter, including energy drinks, for example, must meet the information requirements of the EU Food Information Regulation and the warning “Increased caffeine content. Not recommended for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women "wear, followed by the actual caffeine content per 100 ml.
By the way, even dark chocolate can hide a lot of caffeine, namely 80 mg in a 100 gram bar.

Which pick-me-ups can I drink instead of coffee?

Granted, the effects of caffeine are not that easy to replace. But maybe these morning rituals will also get you going:

  • A mug of allowed mint tea, best spread on fresh leaves
  • Homemade juices and smoothies.
  • Fruits and vegetables with a high vitamin C content, such as oranges, peppers, sea buckthorn and kiwis
  • A walk in the fresh air. It also works like an oxygen shower for your baby!
  • A favorite song to dance to on the headphones and just dance around the apartment
  • A round of yoga
  • Especially with low blood pressure: gentle alternating showers for the legs, stop with cool water!

Can I drink coffee while breastfeeding?

Even after your baby is born, it is important to watch your caffeine intake. When breastfeeding, just like during pregnancy, two to three cups of coffee are allowed a day. However, you should note that caffeine passes into breast milk and can cause restlessness, sleep disorders and stomach ache in your child. In addition, a newborn baby needs up to three days to break down the caffeine it has absorbed. Quite a long time, which can also be unnecessarily exhausting for you.

Tip: It is best to drink your coffee immediately after breastfeeding, then the effect is definitely less until the next time you breastfeed. So you don't have to go without your daily coffee and your child will notice less of the effects. But if no other drink besides coffee is an option for you, you can switch your preference to decaffeinated coffee.

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