Decaf Coffee During Pregnancy

Most people need to have a cup of coffee in the morning to help them get started with their day. The coffee can help them wake up due to the stimulant effects of one of the ingredients, caffeine. Caffeine is an alkaloid and can be found in the leaves, fruit or seeds from certain plants. The reason that people enjoy coffee is that the caffeine can be absorbed by the body fairly quickly allowing you to feel a boost in energy within just minutes. The issue, however, is that consuming too much coffee (or any other food or drink with caffeine) can cause negative effects on the body and this is especially true when you are pregnant. Because of this many pregnant women avoid drinking regular coffee but wonder if decaf is safe. Here is the truth about drinking decaf coffee during pregnancy based on scientific research as well as some experiences and advice from some moms.

Limit of Drinking Decaf Coffee During Pregnancy

In order to make decaf coffee, the caffeine content is removed while the flavoring elements remain. There are three main methods to achieve this goal including the carbon dioxide method, the solvent method and the Swiss Water method and all will result in some caffeine being left, although a much smaller quantity than that found in regular coffee.

If you are pregnant you don’t have to worry too much about drinking decaf coffee. Most experts agree that as long as you don’t have more than 200 mg of caffeine a day (or two mugs of instant coffee), you should have a safe pregnancy without any increased risk of health problems for your baby (although some put the number lower at 150 mg). Keep in mind that almost all decaf coffee will still contain some caffeine so you still have to limit your intake and remember that you can also get caffeine from other sources (such as tea and chocolate) that would contribute to the daily total.

A normal decaf cup of coffee will have anywhere from almost no caffeine to 13.9 mg (although some larger ones from specialty chains will have a higher content). You can combine this information with the amount of caffeine you get from other sources to figure out how much decaf coffee you can have each day while pregnant.

Experiences and Advice from Other Moms

If it just gets to me and I feel like I can’t do without my coffee, I fill my cup halfway with decaf coffee and halfway with milk. A serving of decaf coffee will have between 3 and 4 milligrams of caffeine and people say you shouldn’t have more than 150 mg of caffeine a day while pregnant (but that includes tea, soda and chocolate as well). Based on that, my theory is that having moderate amounts of decaf coffee while pregnant is fine. The real issue in my mind is that coffee (decaf or regular) is a diuretic which means that it will make you have to go to the bathroom more, potentially leading to dehydration. I think that’s a much bigger concern than the caffeine and that if you have coffee while pregnant, you should always make sure to have plenty of water so both you and your baby are hydrated.

Posted by Arielle782 on 3/31/2010

When I’m looking at decaf coffee, I think the main problem is how they take the caffeine out of the coffee beans. Someone else mentioned that whenever they drink decaf they try to find beans that were organically processed, meaning by the Swiss Water method which only uses spring water and I agree. If you want to know how the caffeine was removed from your coffee you should find information on the company’s website. If you usually get your decaf coffee from a coffee house, ask your barista and she should know. My personal decision is to limit my consumption of decaf during pregnancy and only use beans that were processed with the Swiss Water method when I do have a cup.

Posted by tech girl on 3/23/2011

Risks of Drinking too Much Coffee During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, you should try to avoid consuming too much coffee and this includes both regular and decaf. Here are just some of the reasons that it is important to avoid coffee while pregnant.

  • Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system. This means that it can increase your blood pressure in addition to your heart rate.
  • Coffee has diuretic properties and this means that if you aren’t careful drinking excessive amounts of it may lead to dehydration.
  • During pregnancy, your fetus will receive oxygen and nutrients through the placenta and some studies have been done which showed that coffee is also able to cross this placental barrier. It is true that adults can metabolize the caffeine within coffee but that is not true of fetuses.
  • If the child is exposed to high levels of caffeine, it can harm their development.
  • Experts believe that consuming excessive quantities of coffee may increase your risk of having a miscarriage.

A recent study done in San Francisco took a look at 1,000 women who were in their first trimester of pregnancy. It found that when they consumed 200 mg of caffeine each day their rate of miscarriage doubled. That amount of caffeine is the same as having 2 cups of coffee that are small or five cans of soda with caffeine. (In particular the rate of miscarriage for women who didn’t drink caffeine was 12%; it was 15% for those who had 100 mg a day and 25% for those who had 200 mg a day.)

Because of this new study, most experts recommend having either just one small cup of coffee or a small can of soda (or tea) with caffeine each day. You should also pay close attention to other sources of caffeine such as energy drinks and chocolate.

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