How Much Caffeine Can You Have While Pregnant?

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There are plenty of things you can’t eat or drink during pregnancy. Some of them may be easy to give up, like certain foods you don’t eat often anyway. But some of them never feel more necessary than they do during pregnancy, like caffeine! Being pregnant takes a lot out of you, and some women may find it difficult to go without their morning coffee. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about consuming caffeine during pregnancy; some doctors will be fine with it, while others may encourage you to refrain. But if you’re one of the millions of people who need their pick me up, you might be wondering if you can still have it. So how much caffeine can you have while pregnant?

What’s the deal with caffeine and pregnancy?

Caffeine is a stimulant, so it will increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Which, during pregnancy, is something you want to avoid if possible! Caffeine can also cause frequent urination, which could (in some circumstances) lead to a reduction in your body’s fluid levels and dehydration.

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The most important thing to keep in mind is that caffeine does indeed cross through the placenta. So whatever amount you’re drinking, your baby is getting, too. Because your baby’s metabolism is still developing, they can’t fully metabolize it. In the later stages of pregnancy, it can even change your baby’s sleep and movement patterns, which may keep you up at night. And, ironically, increase your need for caffeine!

So how much caffeine can you have while pregnant? In a lot of ways, it depends on who you ask!

While some experts recommend that pregnant women refrain from any caffeine at all, prevailing wisdom says that moderate caffeine consumption is OK. Now, the definition of moderate is up for some debate. Experts say that anywhere between 150 – 300 milligrams a day should be what you’re aiming to stay at.

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For reference, 8 ounces of brewed coffee can contain anywhere between 95 – 165 mg of caffeine, depending on the bean and brewing method. But remember: caffeine can be found in other foods and beverages! Chocolate, green tea, black tea, and soft drinks all contain varying amounts of caffeine. So if you have that coffee in the morning, make sure you’re cutting back on some of those other things. Even some medications contain caffeine!

How much caffeine can you have while pregnant? It’s best to try to stay under 300 mg a day or less, if possible. And if you’re ever in doubt, make sure to talk about it with your doctor or midwife.

(Image: iStock/Dejan_Dundjerski)