Is It Safe To Drink Decaffeinated Coffee When Pregnant?

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Coffee is a stimulating beverage that pregnant women often crave. But since caffeine intake during pregnancy isn’t advisable, many consider switching to decaffeinated coffee while pregnant.

Decaffeinated coffee or decaf has almost the same flavor as regular coffee but contains 97% less caffeine (1). This unique quality of decaf makes it a good choice for people who react badly to even small doses of caffeine.

Read on to know more about decaf coffee, how safe it is for pregnant women, and its potential side effects for the mother and fetus.

Is It Safe To Drink Decaf Coffee During Pregnancy?

Since decaffeinated coffee contains less caffeine, it is a good choice for individuals who habitually drink coffee but wish to avoid caffeine (2). Pregnant women could drink decaf coffee to satiate their coffee cravings while also avoiding excess caffeine. However, it’s important to note that decaf coffee still contains some caffeine.

Caffeine clearance from the body slows down during pregnancy, increasing the risk of receiving too much caffeine if you drink too much decaf coffee (3). Therefore, pregnant women must consume decaf coffee in moderation.

How Much Caffeine Is Present In Decaf Coffee?

A cup (eight ounces) of brewed decaf coffee usually contains two to five milligrams (mg) of caffeine (4). However, this amount could vary based on the brand and the type of coffee beans used. A few decaf coffee brands may have as much as 15mg of caffeine per cup (eight ounces) (5). Therefore, check the packaging or the manufacturer’s website to know the exact amount of caffeine in the decaf coffee.

How Much Decaf Coffee Can You Drink During Pregnancy?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends pregnant and breastfeeding women consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day (6). In most cases, you may stay within the safe limits of caffeine consumption with decaf coffee.

You may keep your decaf coffee consumption limited to two to three cups per day. Remember to check the caffeine content of the decaf coffee before consumption. Do not overdrink coffee just because it is decaffeinated. The reason is that there are several other caffeinated food items, such as chocolate, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks, which you may consume in a day. If you consume other sources of caffeine, you may cut down your decaf coffee servings to stay within the safe caffeine intake limit.

What Are The Side Effects Of Excess Decaf Coffee Consumption During Pregnancy?

Excess decaf coffee consumption may raise several health concerns due to excess caffeine intake. Here’s a list of adverse effects that excess caffeine intake may cause(5) (7).

Caffeine can pass through the placenta to the baby, accumulating in the baby’s tissues. Excess caffeine may cause complications, such as low birth weight, preterm birth, stillbirth, and miscarriage, as babies lack enzymes to metabolize caffeine.

Excess coffee consumption, including decaf coffee, may cause caffeine dependency. If you try to cut down your coffee intake, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, reduce coffee intake gradually and keep an eye on the following withdrawal symptoms.

Decaffeinated or decaf coffee is a coffee type that tastes the same as regular coffee but contains less caffeine. While consuming decaf coffee is highly unlikely to cause any adverse effects, its excess consumption should be avoided. Check the caffeine content in a decaf coffee brand and keep consumption under moderation to avoid any adverse effects on your and your baby’s health.


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Swati Patwal

Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist and toddler mom with over eight years of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children. Then she worked as a nutrition faculty and clinical nutrition coach in different organizations. Her interest in scientific writing... more