The Deal on Coffee During Pregnancy
Let's just get one thing clear. I love coffee. The ritual of having my cup or two of java in the morning is maybe my favorite part of the entire day. Saying adios to my daily caffeine habit is, quite frankly, upsetting. As I prepare for pregnancy, I've done some digging into the research to get to the bottom of the coffee debate. Here's what I found:
1. Moderate coffee consumption does not appear to effect fertility
In a 2017 review on diet and fertility, researchers from Harvard State found that the ability of caffeine to negatively impact fertility seems much less likely than we once thought. There are equally as many studies showing fertility benefits with moderate caffeine intake as there are publications noting deleterious effects of caffeine on the time it takes to conceive.
This being said, once you conceive there is solid evidence that limiting caffeine intake can significantly reduce the risk of miscarriage.
My recommendation: If you are actively trying to make a baby, scale back your coffee intake to 1-2 cups per day.
2. Caffeine intake >200 mg per day is contraindicated during pregnancy
The Journal of Clinical Epidemiology published a systematic review in December of 2017 showing spontaneous abortion (aka miscarriage) was 37% more likely in pregnant women who consumed 300 mg caffeine per day, while pregnant women drinking 600 mg/day caffeine had an almost 2.5 times increased risk for miscarriage.
My recommendation: Stick with your 8-oz cup o' joe in the morning if you need to, but then switch to decaf.
3. You might be drinking more caffeine than you think
Who likes their coffee strong? If you are raising your hand, that makes two of us. I was surprised to learn that my robust home-brewed coffee likely has close to 200 mg of caffeine per cup. As a comparison, 8 ounces of Starbucks Pike Place Roast contains 155 mg. And, let's be honest, I usually refill my mug, meaning I probably slug down an average of 400 mg of caffeine per day. Woah!
Moral of the story, I consider myself a moderate caffeine drinker. A few cups of coffee in the morning and I'm good to go. However, taking a closer look at the research this past week has me trying out new solutions to replace my morning ritual.
My recommendation: Matcha!! Matcha is a powdered green tea that is whisked with hot water into a deep green beverage and can be enjoyed hot or over ice. When drinking matcha, the entire leaf gets consumed, meaning you reap the benefit of high antioxidant and phytochemical intake. Matcha contains L-theanine + low amounts of caffeine which, in combination, have been shown to improve alertness and focus.
Matcha contains about 35 mg of caffeine per 1/2 tsp which is typically the amount in 1 cup. This means you can enjoy 2-3 cups without worry AND conquer your day.
More questions about caffeine during pregnancy? Please let us know if the comments below or shoot us an email. We love to hear from you!