Coffee during pregnancy – what you need to know

A steaming cup  of coffee  at the breakfast table or a latte macchiato on the way to work is a must for many people in the morning to start the day. At the beginning of a pregnancy, however, expectant mothers are often unsure whether they should do without the popular pick-me-up drink. With our following tips and hints, we shed light on how coffee drinkers should behave during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Caffeine: Safe in small amounts

In contrast to alcohol, the consumption of which is completely discouraged during pregnancy, there are no clear guidelines for pregnant women when it comes to drinking coffee. It is known that the caffeine contained in coffee passes the placenta and thus enters the unborn child’s circulatory system. But whether a high dose could have a harmful effect has not yet been fully researched.

According to the current state of science, there is no increased risk of  miscarriage  or premature birth in expectant mothers who drink coffee during pregnancy. However, a Norwegian study found evidence that higher amounts of caffeine could lead to reduced birth weight. Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends pregnant women not to consume more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. This corresponds to a maximum of two cups of coffee. Note, however, that cocoa, chocolate, green and black tea and some  soft drinks already  contain caffeine.

Limit coffee consumption while breastfeeding

Since caffeine is ingested by infants through breast milk, breastfeeding mothers should  only  drink coffee in moderation . The German Society for Nutrition (DGE), like the WHO, recommends a limit of 300 milligrams of caffeine per day for breastfeeding. Higher doses may cause restlessness, abdominal pain and  sleep disorders  in the child. It is also best to enjoy your coffee immediately after breastfeeding so that as much caffeine as possible is broken down by the body before you breastfeed your child the next time.

Try tasty alternatives

Even if you don’t have to give up coffee completely during pregnancy and breastfeeding, it’s worth trying out alternatives to the stimulating hot drink. We have put together tasty ideas for you on how you can get through the day without coffee:

  • Smoothies made from seasonal fruit and  milk  or yoghurt provide energy and vitamins in the morning. However, make sure to only use pasteurized milk. Because raw milk can contain bacteria that can be dangerous for pregnant women.  
  • Rooibos tea is caffeine-free and contains many valuable ingredients such as trace elements and flavenoids. It is also said to have antihypertensive and antispasmodic effects.
  • A glass of warm water with a dash of lemon juice right after getting up gets your circulation going and can help against morning  sickness  .
  • A soluble substitute coffee made from  barley , malt and rye can serve as an alternative to caffeinated coffee. It contains no caffeine and is more digestible than coffee.

Coffee varieties such as cappuccino and latte macchiato, on the other hand, are  not suitable alternatives  to classic coffee, because they contain caffeinated espresso and should therefore only be enjoyed in moderation. Energy drinks are also not a recommended alternative to coffee for pregnant women.

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