Can you drink coffee when pregnant? Important facts to know

Whether you’re expecting or are simply curious about pregnancy after watching fave celebs like Kylie Jenner and Khloé Kardashian go through their nine months, you might have some questions regarding the pregnancy process. An expectant mother must change her lifestyle and diet to better her baby. With this in mind, you caffeine-heads might be wondering: Can you drink coffee when pregnant? And how much caffeine can you have while pregnant? We have some good news and some bad news.

Can You Drink Coffee While Pregnant?

Dr. Felice Gersh — a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, and the Director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine — told us that coffee should be avoided during pregnancy. Although, small servings shouldn’t have an impact on an unborn baby.

So the good news is that yes, you can drink coffee while pregnant. But, the bad news is that your regular four-cups-a-day routine will have to be drastically cut down. Sorry, coffee-holics, but limiting your caffeine intake is best for baby.

How Much Caffeine Can You Have While Pregnant?

Dr. Gersh said that a pregnant woman should have no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.

"One standard cup contains 90 mg [of] caffeine," Dr. Gersh told us. "2 or fewer cups haven't been shown to [cause] harm." She continued, "A large takeout coffee is equal to 200 mg [of] caffeine."

And for you tea-drinkers out there, the Mayo Clinic reports an 8-ounce cup of brewed tea contains about 47 mg of caffeine. If you’re more inclined to sip soda, a 12-ounce (355 milliliter) cup of cola contains about 33 mg of caffeine.

Keep in mind that all coffee and tea blends are different. Therefore, one blend or brand may contain more caffeine than another. So when in doubt, stay on the safe side and consume a smaller amount or none at all. You can also use the March of Dimes caffeine guide below to help determine how much caffeine your favorite beverages may contain.

Depending on an expectant mother’s health situation, a doctor might suggest avoiding caffeine altogether. Make sure you have clear communication with your healthcare provider about coffee intake throughout your entire pregnancy.

How Does Caffeine Affect a Fetus?

Caffeine intake directly effects an unborn baby because the caffeine a mother consumes passes through the placenta. Dr. Gersh told us that drinking six or more cups of coffee or similarly caffeinated beverages per day can result in low birth weight, which is very dangerous for a baby.

"Drinking 5 or more cups tends to yield babies who gain more body fat (have higher BMI) from age 6 months to age 6," Dr. Gersh explained. "There are some studies suggesting [caffeine has] a negative impact on the developing brain." She also added that in early pregnancy, high intakes of caffeine increase the rate of miscarriage.

Furthermore, too much caffeine can cause a baby’s heart rate to rise, which can lead to arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat — a condition that can be detrimental to the baby’s health, as The Bump explains. Babies can also become addicted to caffeine if mom consumes too much during pregnancy. When born, a caffeine-addicted baby will have to be weened off and might exhibit withdrawal symptoms.

Again, these issues can occur if mom drinks coffee in excess while pregnant. Following your doctor’s orders and recommended consumption amounts is key to keeping the baby as healthy as possible.

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