Is caffeine safe during pregnancy?


Caffeine during pregnancy

The common recommendations for caffeine intake during pregnancy is 200 mg/day which equals about 2 cups of *black* coffee (if you add milk you can likely get away with 3-4 cups depending on how much coffee is actually in your mug).



Caffeine has an interesting effect on both the fetus and the child as he grows. Women who consumed large amounts of caffeine (more than 300 mg/day) increase the likelihood of their baby being born with a low birth weight while also increasing the likelihood of excess infant growth rates up to 8 years. 

So basically, if you drink a ton of coffee while pregnant you can have a baby who is small at birth and gains weight very quickly once born.

Additionally, there is plenty of research available to suggest that large amounts of caffeine can lead to an increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as a decrease in  sleep quality and quantity. 

Now, these “large amounts” of caffeine are VERY large. We’re talking 400 - over 1000 mg/day in these studies which is equivalent  to about 5-13 cans of Red Bull. 

If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression, I suggest keeping caffeine consumption under 100 mg/day. That’s about 1 cup of coffee/day or a handful of dark chocolate. Otherwise, 2 cups of coffee/day (or 200mg of caffeine/day) should be fine for pregnant mamas to have healthy babies.

With anything, it’s important to consider your unique needs and your diet and lifestyle as a whole - not just pinpoint different pieces like caffeine consumption. I work with mamas who are trying to conceive, pregnant and postpartum to ensure the healthiest possible mama and baby. We dig deep in to food, exercise, lifestyle and behaviors that allow you to thrive during all stages of motherhood.  

Consultations are always complimentary.
Email me to schedule a call to see if Nutrition Therapy is right for you.


  1. Brian J. Distelberg, Andrea Staack, K'dee D. Elsen, and Joan Sabaté.Journal of Caffeine Research.Jun 2017.ahead of print

  2. Jin, J. Yoon, C. H., Ko, H. J., Kim, H. M., Kim, A. S., Moon, H. N., & Jung, S. P. (2016). The Relationship of Caffeine Intake with Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and Sleep in Korean Adolescents. Korean journal of family medicine, 37(2), 111–116. doi:10.4082/kjfm.2016.37.2.111

  3. Richards, G., & Smith, A. (2015). Caffeine consumption and self-assessed stress, anxiety, and depression in secondary school children. Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England), 29(12), 1236–1247. doi:10.1177/0269881115612404

  4. 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 one, 10(7), e0132334. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0132334

  5. Papaopoulou E, Botton J, Brantsæter A, et alMaternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and childhood growth and overweight: results from a large Norwegian prospective observational cohort studyBMJ Open 2018;8:e018895. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018895