Can I drink tea and coffee during pregnancy?

Can I drink tea and coffee during pregnancy?

Are you tea or coffee lover? Do you need that extra boost of energy to get you going in the morning, the one you can only get from a strong Yorkshire brew or an extra espresso shot?

Now that you’re pregnant, you may be wondering if it’s still possible to crank up the coffee grinder or flick that switch on the kettle. In this blog, we’ll answer whether you can still drink tea or coffee during pregnancy.

Caffeine and pregnancy

There’s good and bad news when it comes to consuming drinks with caffeine in pregnancy. Too much caffeine can increase the risk of complications. Therefore, if you are going to drink tea, coffee or any other drinks during pregnancy, it should be kept to a minimum.

According to the NHS, you can have no more than 200mg of caffeine per day. There is:

  • 100mg in a mug of instant coffee
  • 140mg in a mug of filter coffee
  • 75mg in a mug of tea (green tea can have the same amount of caffeine as regular tea)
  • 40mg in a can of cola
  • 80mg in a 250ml can of energy drink
  • less than 25mg in a 50g bar of plain dark chocolate
  • less than 10mg in a 50g bar of plain milk chocolate

So the good news is that milk chocolate is largely still on the agenda but when it comes to teas and coffee, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

How much tea and coffee can I drink when pregnant

That means, based on the stats above, you could still have that cup of coffee or tea in the morning. But it all depends. If you like your coffee strong and normally put more than the average spoonful or shot into your cup, then you should reduce the amount you put in there.
Similarly, for tea, you could have two cups per day, but the longer you brew the tea bag, the more caffeine will be infused into the drink. So it’s worth bearing in mind that a cup of tea shouldn’t be brewed for too long.

Caffeine free alternatives

Whilst you may not get that boost of energy normally associated with tea or coffee, many of the leading brands now offer caffeine-free options. You may not even notice that you’re missing the caffeine with the taste of drinks acting as a placebo. Other caffeine-free drink alternatives include:

  • Herbal teas, such as chamomile, mint, and ginger (some can contain small amounts of caffeine, check the label)
  • Sparkling water or flavoured water
  • Juice or fruit-flavoured drinks
  • Milk or soy milk

Food and drinks you may not know contain caffeine

It’s also worth noting that there are a lot of other foods outside of traditional drinks like tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks that contain caffeine. Watch out for the following:

  • Chocolate – Dark chocolate contains more caffeine than milk chocolate, with a higher percentage of cocoa solids resulting in a higher caffeine content.
  • Tea-flavoured and coffee-flavoured ice cream – These ice cream flavours are made with actual tea or coffee, which means they contain caffeine.
  • Energy bars and gels – Some energy bars and gels contain caffeine as an ingredient to give an energy boost.
  • Sunflower seeds – Some brands of sunflower seeds are coated in a flavour that contains caffeine.
  • Decaffeinated coffee – Even though decaffeinated coffee has had most of the caffeine removed, it still contains small amounts of the stimulant.

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