Can I drink coffee while I’m pregnant?

pregnant woman holding a coffee

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |
Updated on

There's lots of lotions and potions, foods and drinks you may need to avoid or cut down on during pregnancy, and if you're crazy about coffee, you may be wondering whether it's still safe to get your caffeine hit.

According to the NHS, it's still safe for you to drink coffee (and caffeine in general), however you can't consume more than 200mg a day.

Below is a breakdown of how much caffeine is in your daily cup of coffee and other drinks/foods you may enjoy:

caffeine in pregnancy breakdown

If you usually opt for a coffee to up your energy levels, give some of these superfoods a go to try and beat the fatigue. You can also opt for decaffeinated drinks too, however, these aren't usually completely caffeine-free.

If you're concerned at all about your caffeine intake during your pregnancy you can always speak to your GP or midwife, or cutout caffeine altogether.

Related: The best decaf tea for a comforting cuppa

Can caffeine harm my baby?

While it's ok to consume the recommended amounts of caffeine during your pregnancy, consuming too much has been linked to pregnancy complications, such as low birth weight, miscarriage and stillbirth. However, research from Tommy's found the more caffeine you have the higher the risk of complications, which is why it's good to reduce your intake as much as possible, or cut it out completely. The risk is very low, but if you have any concerns be sure to reach out to your midwife or GP.

“Hurry up baby, I need a coffee!”

Cathryn Wood, 23, lives in Suffolk with her husband Dion and their daughter Edith, five months. Here she tells us how dreaming of a cappuchino motivated her through labour pains.

"I’ve always been a coffee-lover, especially cappuccino. Pre-pregnancy, hardly a day went by when I didn’t order one from our local café or make a cup or two at home.

"I was overjoyed to be pregnant, but it immediately dawned on me I wouldn’t be able to indulge in my favourite drink. I read the guidelines stating that 200mg a day is fine for pregnant women, but I didn’t want to do anything to risk my baby’s health.

"Giving up was hard, but when temptation struck I’d imagine the day when I could take our baby to the café. The thought of how good that first cappuccino would taste kept me going.

"I was six days overdue and feeling fed up, when I was woken in the night with mild period-like pains. It was 3am and I was too excited to try to go back to sleep.

"When I called the hospital at 9am they advised me to stay put and have a bath. As soon as I got into the water the sensations disappeared. I was distraught. All I wanted was to meet my baby and to have that longed-for cappuccino.

All I wanted was to meet my baby and to have that longed-for cappuccino

"I was already booked for a sweep that afternoon. The midwife said I was 2cm dilated, although my contractions still hadn’t ramped back up.

"That evening I had an early night, but woke at 11pm with an intense pain in my back. ‘This is what a proper contraction feels like,’ I thought. They came regularly after that. Dion drove me to the hospital at midnight, stopping to pick up my mum.

"For the next few hours I paced the floor, rocking through each contraction. With each one, I knew I was one step closer to meeting my baby.

"‘Not long until that cappuccino!’ Dion joked, which helped keep me focused.

‘Not long until that cappuccino!’ Dion joked, which helped keep me focused

"Finally, at 8am I was told I could start pushing. Lying on the bed, I followed my body’s instructions to bear down. Mum was on one side, holding my head up; Dion was on the other, whispering encouragement. He kept mentioning that cappuccino, and in between pushes I imagined having my first sip. It was a great motivator!

"After 45 minutes of pushing, I was given an episiotomy [small cut] to help the baby out. It worked. I felt the baby’s head moving down, then a huge pressure. In two more intense pushes the head, then the body, came out. The midwife handed our baby girl to me.

"‘Is she really mine?’ I gasped. Dion and my mum were crying and I burst into tears.

That first cappuccino in 41 weeks tasted amazing!

"Baby Edith was healthy and we went home the following day. Our first family outing was three days later – to the local café. That first cappuccino in 41 weeks tasted amazing! I’m sure that imagining that moment helped me stay mentally strong during labour."

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