Expert Advice

Is it safe to drink coffee while pregnant?

Good news: your mid-morning latte isn’t banned just yet!

By Fiona Wright

Health professionals recommend you limit your caffeine intake while pregnant as high levels of caffeine have been linked to miscarriage and premature birth.

The NSW Food Authority advises pregnant women to have no more than 200mg of caffeine daily – an amount found in three cups of instant coffee, one cup of espresso style coffee or four cups of medium-strong tea.

Experts say it is best to limit your caffeine intake while pregnant. *Image: Getty images.*
Experts say it is best to limit your caffeine intake while pregnant. Image: Getty images.

Be aware that coffee served at cafes can contain more caffeine than you'd expect, and remember that caffeine is also present in tea (including green tea), chocolate and some energy drinks.

One way to reduce caffeine is to drink de caffeinated coffee, but be aware that a cup of decaf usually still contains two to five milligrams of caffeine and sometimes more.

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Pregnancy is a fantastic opportunity to overhaul your diet and improve your eating habits so that you and your baby are getting all the vitamins and minerals you both need. Aside from cutting down on caffeine, follow these tips for a healthy pregnancy....

  • Avoid using your changing body shape as an excuse to overindulge in sugary and fatty snacks, instead health authorities recommend eating two portions of fruit and five servings of vegetables every day.
  • Carbohydrates - the starchy kind found in bread, pasta, rice and cereals - are vital for pregnancy. You need a balanced diet for healthy weight gain, and, as they are your body's first source of ready energy, you'll find yourself craving them as your baby grows.
  • The calcium and other essential nutrients provided by dairy products - milk, yoghurt and cheese - are essential for your baby's development.
  • During pregnancy, planning a pregnancy or while breastfeeding, the National Health and Medical Research Council advises that the safest option for women is to avoid alcohol. Instead aim to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and constipation.
  • If you're a smoker, try to quit before you fall pregnant. Women who smoke throughout pregnancy are at an increased risk of miscarriage, while the danger of still birth or their baby dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is also significantly greater. Smoking during pregnancy can cause a low birth-weight baby, which can be life-threatening.

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