Coffee during pregnancy: Will I harm my unborn child?
With a positive pregnancy test, thousands of new questions suddenly arise. Many of these revolve around nutrition, as the expectant mother no longer eats just for herself. We answer questions about drinking coffee during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
We answer these questions for you in this blog:
- What are the general scientific recommendations for the amount of coffee that can be consumed during pregnancy?
- What consequences can the consumption of coffee during pregnancy and breastfeeding have on the child's sleep quality?
- Can the child have a premature birth, miscarriage or ADHD if coffee is consumed during pregnancy?
1. Recommendation for drinking coffee during pregnancy and breastfeeding
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the recommendation for a healthy pregnant or breastfeeding mother at no more than half the maximum amount of caffeine for a healthy adult1. The guideline corresponds to a maximum intake of 200 milligrams of caffeine throughout the day, i.e. around two cups of coffee. To ensure the safety of the newborn, no more than 2 cups of coffee should be drunk per day, although the exact amount should always be discussed with the doctor.
2. Effects on newborn sleep
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers often don't want to go without their daily coffee. We completely understand that, but does the child's sleep suffer as a result? A Brazilian study of moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding found no effects on sleep in infants at 3 months of age.
The results of the study raise questions because the caffeine concentration in the blood of the fetus is the same as the concentration in the pregnant woman, as caffeine can pass through the placenta unhindered. It is unclear why even high caffeine consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding had no effect on the sleep of the children in the study. A possible reason could be that the unborn child has developed a tolerance to caffeine if it is regularly exposed to it in the womb. In addition, scientists do not yet agree on how much caffeine ultimately reaches the child through breast milk3.
3. Possible negative effects on the unborn child
One study found that newborns were at higher risk of developing ADHD or other hyperkinetic disorders when consumed in large amounts of caffeine, well above the recommended maximum amount. It should be noted that other influencing factors also played a role. This study cannot therefore be transferred to individual cases4.
What does science say about coffee consumption during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there are still too few meaningful studies on the effects of coffee during pregnancy, so not all questions have been answered yet. According to the available studies and the recommendation of the EFSA, coffee does not seem to be completely taboo for pregnant and breastfeeding women, although it depends on the amount, the constitution of the mother and child and the medical assessment.
Other studies report that maternal caffeine consumption is associated with serious negative effects on pregnancy5.
The fact seems to be one thing…
If the expectant or breastfeeding mother consumes a lot of caffeine regularly per day, there are negative effects on herself and the child (e.g.b Sleep disorders, mood swings, early labor, birth defects and ADHD) cannot be ruled out.
If you don't want to take the risk and would rather be on the safe side, we recommend our Decaf capsules with 0% caffeine. By the way, we decaffeinate our coffee without using chemicals and use the Swiss Water process.
4Linnet KM, Wisborg K, Secher NJ, Thomsen PH, Obel C, Dalsgaard S, Henriksen TB. (2009): Coffee consumption during pregnancy and the risk of hyperkinetic disorder and ADHD: a prospective cohort study. Acta Paediatr; 98(1):173-9.