I am a big coffee lover. I do not necessarily need fancy coffee beans and I do not pretend to be a very knowledgeable coffee drinker. But I do enjoy my cup of coffee a couple of times a day.
There was a period in my life when I was basically living on coffee. It was the first thing I had to do when I woke up and I drank 5-10 cups a day. The caffeine had absolutely no effect on me anymore. But that is a long time ago and for a few years now, I try to stick to one caffeinated coffee in the morning and decafs for the rest of the day.
When I got pregnant with my son, I was astonished by the amount of does and don'ts related to pregnancy diets. Coffee being on the top of the list together with alcohol.
Alcohol was no issue for me. I am aware there are studies saying some amount of alcohol was ok, but for me that was not acceptable. No judgement here if you made a different conclusion, but for me, drinking alcohol just was not worth it. I didn't need it, I didn't miss it, all was good.
Coffee on the other hand was quite a different story.
I read basically all pregnancy books that were available, especially if they included a nutrition section - which most of them do. I did quite extensive research and as per usual in nutrition science, the results were not really conclusive.
I love Michael Pollan (you might know that if you read my eBook). I think his books are brilliant and his natural and normal approach to food and nutrition is so refreshing!
In his book Food Rules: An Eater's Manual he compares nutrition to surgery. The nutrition science is about two hundred years old, so somewhere where surgery was in the 17th century. It is very promising, but you might be a bit sceptical is a surgeon from the 17th century wanted to perform a surgery on you.
So nutrition science is definitely on a good way, we are just not quite there yet. And this is why you can sometimes find so many contradicting information on the internet when it comes to nutrition.
But let's get back to coffee in pregnancy. The scientific evidence more or less proves that some smaller amount of coffee (somewhere around 200mg a day) should be ok. It’s not a 100% strong yes, though.
What can help you make the decision about your coffee intake in pregnancy is to consider the science mentioned above in relation to you as an individual person. As I like to say, there is no one-fit-all solution in nutrition. Everyone is different and everyone needs something else to strive and be their best selves.
Firstly, look at your coffee drinking habits. If you are not a big coffee drinker anyway, it is probably better to avoid coffee during your pregnancy as well. You might not crave it anyways and since your body is not that used to caffeine, it might be unnecessary stress for your body if you drink one.
On the other hand if you are a heavy coffee drinker, total withdrawal can be hard both mentally and physically, so you would probably choose to stick with the same recommendation of no more than 200mg per day.
One more thing which you want to consider is your mental state. In pregnancy, more than any other time in life, your well being and inner happiness is extremely important. Are you going to suffer mentally if you do not have your morning cup of coffee? Is it going to be extremely difficult to not drink coffee? Then go ahead, enjoy your morning coffee and try to stick with decaf for the rest of the day.
For me I decided I will try to live without coffee. Well the caffeinated version. I was still drinking decaf. And it was not as hard as I expected. Maybe for a week or two I felt like I could use some caffeine, but after that not drinking coffee became a new normal. And I did not get back to drinking caffeine coffee until I stopped breastfeeding.
How do you feel about coffee and pregnancy? Did you drink coffee during your pregnancy? And how much? Or did you stop and was it challenging?