Update: The New Coffee Rules for Pregnancy
Sometimes all of the jokes about coffee and motherhood are a tad bit annoying, aren't they?
Or at least they might be annoying to me if they weren't all completely and 100% true. [insert sheepish face here]
Yes, it's true. I am definitely one of the stereotypical yoga pants-wearing, coffee-chugging mothers of the modern era, and I'm really OK with that. But while my coffee consumption has only increased proportionally with the number of children I have had (currently at four, which usually equates to about two cups of coffee a day), I definitely try to cut back on my coffee intake when I'm pregnant.
Luckily for me, I tend to lose the taste of coffee when I'm pregnant (it makes me nauseated), but in times of desperation, I have longed for its magical powers.
For the most part, doctors have taken a moderate approach to coffee consumption during pregnancy. One cup is OK, decaf is probably better, and swapping out coffee completely for straight-up water is obviously the healthiest choice ever. Overall, unless a woman was very high risk or just worried about it, coffee has been considered one of those things about pregnancy that doesn't cause much uproar.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a non-profit advocacy group in Washington, D.C., is pushing really hard to get the guidelines for safe caffeine consumption during pregnancy changed — in a major way.
Right now, current guidelines state that pregnant women can drink up to 200 milligrams of caffeinated beverages a day, but not an ounce more. The CSPI, however, says that 200 milligrams is too much and that even drinking as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine a day has been linked to horrible consequences, such as increased rates of leukemia in their children, stillbirth, and low birth weights.
How much is 100 milligrams of caffeine, you ask? Depending on how strong you brew it, the CSPI says an at-home cup of coffee can contain up to 150 milligrams, so it could be as little as just one cup of coffee a day. Bottom line: the CSPI thinks that pregnant women should cut out caffeine. Period.
“Pregnant women deserve accurate advice about the risks caffeine poses to their healthy pregnancy and have been badly misinformed,” said CSPI chief regulatory affairs attorney Laura MacCleery. “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans shouldn't compound this problem by conveying an impression that 200 milligrams per day is some kind of red line below which caffeine is safe and above which caffeine is dangerous. Instead, the science indicates that even lower levels of caffeine can increase the risk of serious problems, including for only a cup or two of regular coffee per day.”
For me, like anything else in pregnancy, I do believe that moderation is the key. Personally, I don't drink coffee on a regular basis when I'm pregnant, but a cup here and there wouldn't be cause for alarm for me. But as with all things, be sure to speak with your health care provider if you're a regular coffee drinker when you get pregnant, because you may want to consider alternatives just to be safe.
What about you? Do you drink coffee during your pregnancy?