Coffee during pregnancy: will I harm my unborn child?
A positive pregnancy test suddenly raises thousands of new questions. Many of these revolve around nutrition, as the mother-to-be is no longer eating alone. We answer questions about the consumption of coffee during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
We will 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 sleep quality of the child?
- Can the child have a premature birth, miscarriage or ADHD if coffee is consumed during pregnancy?
1. Recommendation for the consumption of coffee during pregnancy and lactation
According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the recommendation for a healthy pregnant or breastfeeding mother with 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. about two cups of coffee. So, to ensure the safety of the newborn, no more than 2 cups of coffee should be drunk per day, and the exact amount should always be discussed with the doctor.
2. Effects on newborn sleep
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers often do not want to do without their daily coffee. We fully 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 effect on sleep in infants as young as 3 months.
The results of the study raise questions, because the concentration of caffeine in the blood of the fetus is the same as that of the pregnant woman, since caffeine can cross 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. One possible reason could be that the unborn child develops 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 adverse effects on the unborn child
According to one study, newborns had a higher risk of developing ADHD or other hyperkinetic disorders when consuming larger amounts of caffeine, well above the recommended maximum. It should be noted that other influencing factors also played a role. This study is therefore not transferrable to individual cases4.
What does science say about drinking coffee during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, there are still too few meaningful studies on the effects of coffee during pregnancy, so that not all questions have been answered. According to the available studies and the recommendation of the EFSA, coffee for pregnant and breastfeeding women does not seem to be completely taboo, depending on the amount, the constitution of mother and child and the medical assessment.
Other studies report that maternal caffeine consumption is associated with serious adverse effects on pregnancy5.
Fact seems to be one thing...
If the expectant or breastfeeding mother regularly consumes a lot of caffeine per day, there are negative effects on herself and the child (e.g.B sleep disorders, mood swings, preterm labour, birth defects and ADHD).
You don't want to take the risk and prefer to play it safe, then we recommend our Decaf capsules with 0% caffeine. Incidentally, we decaffeinate our coffee without the use of chemicals and use the Swiss Water process for this.
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.