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Can Pregnant Women Drink Decaf Coffee?

Written by:

Obi Obadike

Obi Obadike

Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert, CFT, SFN, M.S. Founder & CEO – Ethical Inc.
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Can pregnant women drink decaf coffee? The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine from all sources per day. One cup of black regular coffee contains about 96 mg of caffeine. So based on that information they shouldn’t consume more than 2 cups of coffee per day which is about 192 mg of caffeine.

Can pregnant women drink decaf coffee?

There are some studies that have shown that high caffeine intake is associated with negative birth outcomes. So that is why it is recommended for pregnant women to limit their caffeine to 200 milligrams daily.

Decaffeinated means that 97% of the caffeine is removed from the beans during the processing. Which means there is still is some lesser amounts of caffeine in there even in decaf coffee. One cup of decaf coffee contains about 2.4 mg of caffeine and a decaf expresso has about 0.6 mg of caffeine. So decaf coffee clearly doesn’t mean there is no caffeine in it.

Can Pregnant Women Drink Decaf Coffee? Photo credit: Viorel Kurnosov

There was a study that showed that commercial decaffeinated coffee has up to 14 mg of caffeine per 16 ounce serving. There was also a 1997 study that found that women who drank 3 or more cups of decaf coffee during the first trimester of pregnancy; that they had a 2.4 higher risk of miscarriage than women who drank none. There was another 2018 study that had striking comparable results.

The low amounts of caffeine in decaf coffee shouldn’t negatively affect a pregnant woman as they are safe. In general, if their caffeine intake is in moderation, it shouldn’t hurt or affect their pregnancy or baby.

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine from all sources per day.” Celebrity Fitness & Nutrition Expert Obi Obadike

The Bottom Line is decaf coffee contains a small amount of caffeine. And a pregnant woman drinking decaf coffee is safe and it shouldn’t affect her pregnancy. As long as she keeps within the 200 mg of caffeine per day then her risk of anything happening to her pregnancy is exceptionally low.

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References

  1. Fenster L, Hubbard AE, Swan SH, Windham GC, Waller K, Hiatt RA, Benowitz N. Caffeinated beverages, decaffeinated coffee, and spontaneous abortion. Epidemiology. 1997 Sep;8(5):515-23. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199709000-00008. PMID: 9270953.
  2. Gaskins AJ, Rich-Edwards JW, Williams PL, Toth TL, Missmer SA, Chavarro JE. Pre-pregnancy caffeine and caffeinated beverage intake and risk of spontaneous abortion. Eur J Nutr. 2018 Feb;57(1):107-117. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1301-2. Epub 2016 Aug 29. PMID: 27573467; PMCID: PMC5332346.
  3. McCusker RR, Fuehrlein B, Goldberger BA, Gold MS, Cone EJ. Caffeine content of decaffeinated coffee. J Anal Toxicol. 2006 Oct;30(8):611-3. doi: 10.1093/jat/30.8.611. PMID: 17132260.
  4. The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy | ACOG
  5. Rhee, J., Kim, R., Kim, Y., Tam, M., Lai, Y., Keum, N., & Oldenburg, C. E. (2015). Maternal Caffeine Consumption during Pregnancy and Risk of Low Birth Weight: A Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies. PloS one10(7), e0132334. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0132334
  6. Chen LW, Fitzgerald R, Murrin CM, Mehegan J, Kelleher CC, Phillips CM; Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study. Associations of maternal caffeine intake with birth outcomes: results from the Lifeways Cross Generation Cohort Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Dec 1;108(6):1301-1308. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy219. PMID: 30339199.
  7. Li J, Zhao H, Song JM, Zhang J, Tang YL, Xin CM. A meta-analysis of risk of pregnancy loss and caffeine and coffee consumption during pregnancy. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2015 Aug;130(2):116-22. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2015.03.033. Epub 2015 May 14. PMID: 26026343.
  8. Chen LW, Wu Y, Neelakantan N, Chong MF, Pan A, van Dam RM. Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of pregnancy loss: a categorical and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Public Health Nutr. 2016 May;19(7):1233-44. doi: 10.1017/S1368980015002463. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PMID: 26329421.
  9. Papadopoulou E, Botton J, Brantsæter AL, Haugen M, Alexander J, Meltzer HM, Bacelis J, Elfvin A, Jacobsson B, Sengpiel V. Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and childhood growth and overweight: results from a large Norwegian prospective observational cohort study. BMJ Open. 2018 Apr 23;8(3):e018895. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018895. PMID: 29685923; PMCID: PMC5914784.
  10. Qian J, Chen Q, Ward SM, Duan E, Zhang Y. Impacts of Caffeine during Pregnancy. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Mar;31(3):218-227. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2019.11.004. Epub 2019 Dec 6. PMID: 31818639; PMCID: PMC7035149.

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