For pregnant women, decaffeinated coffee is a much safer alternative to caffeinated coffee and, though it still contains a little amount of caffeine, it is still a lot safer than caffeinated coffee for pregnant women.

Can you still drink decaffeinated coffee while pregnant?

First of all, the reason why caffeine can be potentially dangerous for pregnant women is that caffeine particles take longer to break down in the blood stream, which results in placenta crossing and hence, caffeine can potentially enter the bloodstream of the growing baby where the breaking down process is not possible.

The exact reasons for this are unknown, however, there are a few studies that show that high caffeine intake during pregnancy can cause low birth weight, miscarriage, premature birth, and restricted foetal growth.

So, caffeine has been associated with negative pregnancy outcomes and a number of studies have investigated its effects on the foetus, but more research is needed to elucidate the relationship between caffeine and negative pregnancy outcomes.

For example, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston wrote a study entitled ‘Maternal Caffeine Consumption during Pregnancy and Risk of Low Birth Weight’ in 2015 and their main conclusion was that “high caffeine intake during pregnancy is associated with a significant increase in the risk of low birth weight and this risk appears to increase linearly as caffeine intake increases”.

Many internationally recognised health experts, such as the NHS, recommend that pregnant women should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day.

So, how much caffeine is in decaffeinated coffee?

Well, the amount of caffeine in decaf coffee varies. At a minimum, decaffeinated coffee has 97% of caffeine removed from it when it undergoes the decaffeination process.

Some decaffeination processes, such as the premium Swiss Water Process, which uses water (no chemicals) to decaffeinate the coffee is certified 99.9% caffeine free.

And, how much decaffeinated coffee is safe to take during pregnancy?

Even though there are no official studies suggesting the accurate intake of decaffeinated coffee during pregnancy, due to the incredibly low caffeine levels in decaffeinated coffee, it is logical to assume that decaffeinated coffee is a much safer option for pregnancy.

So yes, decaf coffee, if taken in moderation, can be consumed during pregnancy.

But, it’s important to note that more research is needed and some studies have shown that even women who had decaf coffee during pregnancy were at a slightly increased risk of miscarriage.

For example, a previous study by entitled “Caffeinated beverages, decaffeinated coffee, and spontaneous abortion”, by the Department of Health Services at Emeryville in the USA, found out that women who had 3 cups of decaf coffee during their first trimester exposed themselves to the risk of miscarriage 2.4% times more than those women who didn’t drink coffee. However, it must be noted that the researchers were not still not sure of the results and added the following disclaimer:

“Although we could not demonstrate this with available data, we suspect that this association was due to bias resulting from the relations among foetal viability, symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea, and consumption patterns during pregnancy.”

Drinking decaf coffee during pregnancy is safer for both mother and baby than drinking caffeinated coffee. For instance, just replace your morning cup of caffeinated coffee with decaffeinated coffee?

IMPORTANT: This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. Nothing in the content or products should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs.

November 06, 2022 — Guy Wilmot

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