December 16, 2017
Pregnant Woman And Husband Having Breakfast In Kitchen
Ask the Experts

Caffeine in Pregnancy

by Leslie Goldman  

Q: Is caffeine safe during pregnancy? How much?

A: It is, provided your intake is moderate—up to about 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG. (For reference, drip coffee brewed at home contains 80 to 135 mg per 8-ounce cup; a tall Starbucks coffee, which is 12 ounces, delivers 235 mg. Note that caffeine content can vary widely depending on who’s doing the brewing.) There’s some evidence that daily intakes of more than 200 mg may put a pregnancy at risk, possibly by decreasing blood flow to the fetus (caffeine is known to constrict blood vessels), though the findings have been inconsistent. For example, a study of 1,063 pregnant women in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that those who consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine a day were more than twice as likely to miscarry as those who consumed no caffeine. But another study published around the same time, involving 2,047 women, found no relationship between caffeine intake and miscarriage risk.

If you’re pregnant and need to lower your caffeine intake, try switching to decaf, ordering a “half-caf,” or switching from coffee to a latte with a single shot of espresso (about 75 milligrams in a Starbucks “tall”). And don’t forget to count less-obvious sources of caffeine, such as dark chocolate, tea, coffee ice cream, and certain pain and cold medications toward your daily total.

Finally, for a natural energy jolt, try exercise: It will build your endurance and muscles, easing your adaption to pregnancy.

See also: Weight Gain in Pregnancy.