For many people, decaf coffee is still heavily associated with being pregnant. At Decadent Decaf, though of course we welcome soon to be mums with open arms, we are also about widening the appeal of decaf coffee for the pure reason of taste and quality.
In particular, we really try to get out the message that you don’t just have to drink herbal tea at night – that you can have amazing coffee drinks without the caffeine. In any case, there is still a lot of confusion about how much caffeine pregnant mum’s can drink and this is what this post is all about.
According to the NHS, if you’re pregnant, you should really limit the amount of caffeine you consume to 200 milligrams (mg) a day, which is the equivalent of one cup of filter coffee or 2 cups of instant coffee.
This is where decaf can really come into its own. A lot of mums just decide to go completely decaf and often feel the benefits of living caffeine free and don’t go back. In some ways, it’s well worth considering going completely decaffeinated during the pregnancy because caffeine is found naturally in lots of foods, such as tea and chocolate. It’s also added to some soft drinks, energy drinks, and cold and flu remedies.
High levels of caffeine during pregnancy can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life. Caffeine can also increase the risk of a miscarriage.
That being said, you don’t need to cut caffeine out completely, but you should limit how much you have to no more than 200mg a day. Swapping your morning drink with decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or water, and definitely cutting out any energy drinks you have, as they can be high in caffeine.
Even soft drinks can contain high levels of caffeine, so make sure you read the ingredients. It’s also worth talking to your midwife, pharmacist or another healthcare professional before taking any medicines, including cold and flu remedies.
The amount of caffeine found in some foods and drinks is as follows:
- one mug of instant coffee: 100mg
- one mug of filter coffee: 140mg
- one mug of tea: 75mg
- one can of cola: 40mg
- one can of energy drink: up to 80mg
- one 50g bar of plain chocolate: most products on the UK market contain less than 25mg
- one 50g bar of milk chocolate: most products on the UK market contain less than 10mg
Sometimes, these warnings can sound overly scary, so don’t worry if you occasionally exceed the recommended limit, because the risks are quite small and it’s all about moderation.
Then, there’s the question of whether decaf is safe for pregnant women. This question mark harks back to the old days of decaf in the 1970s when strong chemicals were used to remove the caffeine.
These days, processes such as Swiss Water Decaf are very safe indeed and use no chemicals, as well as being 99.9% caffeine free, so please feel safe and healthy in drinking decaf coffee when pregnant!
For more information, check out our FAQ on Decaf & Conception, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding.