Caffeine During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know

When you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it seems like everything you do and eat is up for debate. Should you be drinking coffee? What about tea or soda? Are there any foods that are off-limits? It’s enough to make your head spin! One of the most common concerns for pregnant and breastfeeding women is caffeine intake. Many women wonder if they can still enjoy their morning cup of joe, or if they need to give it up altogether. Here’s what you need to know before reaching for your daily dose of caffeine.

Caffeine During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know

Written by: Jessica Diamond, MPH, RDN

“I want to have a baby and drink my coffee too!” This is a common sentiment for so many of us, whether we enjoy a cup of joe for taste, energy, or ritual. So, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, here’s what you need to know when reaching for your daily dose of caffeine.

It’s important to limit caffeine when pregnant or breastfeeding: Overall, there’s insufficient data on caffeine while pregnant and breastfeeding. What does that mean? Sticking to the recommended limit of 200-300 mg per day is a good idea. This is equivalent to 1-2 cups of coffee (12 ounces total) or one large latte from your favorite coffee shop. One way to decrease the caffeine amount in your cup of coffee is to opt for ½ decaf and ½ regular beans in your latte to make sure you don’t overdo it. If you’re consuming coffee just for the flavor or ritual, then trading in your caffeinated version for a caffeine-free version is a great idea. 

Coffee isn’t the only beverage with large amounts of caffeine: Espresso, caffeinated tea, matcha tea, some soda, energy drinks, and guarana also contain large amounts of caffeine and should be limited during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Many women opt to eliminate caffeine during pregnancy and breastfeeding: If you find yourself in this camp, make sure to wean off of caffeine to avoid any withdrawal symptoms. 

Here’s the caffeine amount in popular beverages: 

  • 8 ounce brewed coffee: 96-165 mg caffeine 
  • 8 ounce latte: 64-126 mg caffeine 
  • 1 ounce espresso: 50-64 mg caffeine 
  • 6 ounce green tea: 45 mg caffeine 
  • 8 ounce matcha (made with 1 scoop or ½ teaspoon of powder): 70-80 mg caffeine

As with anything in pregnancy and breastfeeding, it’s always best to check in with your doctor or healthcare professional to find out what they recommend for your specific circumstance. 

If you’re wondering what else to eat and avoid while pregnant, check out our articles, The 10 Best Foods to Eat When Pregnant and Morning Sickness Remedies: Our Top Natural Remedies to to Survive Morning Sickness, for more info!