Tap to Read ➤

Decaffeinated Coffee and Pregnancy

Smita Pandit Apr 16, 2019
Pregnant women often cut down caffeine due to its harmful effect on the fetus. If caffeine is to be avoided, is decaf coffee a safer alternative? Find out if there is any connection between the excessive consumption of decaffeinated coffee and pregnancy complications.
Most of us simply can't start our day without a cup of coffee in the morning. The stimulant effect of coffee is due to caffeine, which is an alkaloid which is found in seeds, fruit or leaves of certain plants. Since the absorption of caffeine takes place at a very fast rate, one can feel the effect in minutes.
However, excessive consumption of this beverage can cause certain adverse effects on the body. One may even become addicted. No wonder, women cut down on their intake of coffee or refrain from drinking this beverage when they are pregnant.

Is it Safe to Take Decaf Coffee When Pregnant?

Most pregnant women who are otherwise apprehensive about having this beverage due to the harmful side effects of caffeine on the fetus often wonder if it is safe to drink decaf coffee. What do the studies regarding decaffeinated coffee and pregnancy reveal?
Decaffeination does not remove caffeine in its entirety. Solvent method, Swiss Water method and Carbon dioxide method are some of the methods used for decaffeination. These processes involve the removal of the majority of caffeine content while retaining the contents that impart flavor to the drink. So, decaf does contain caffeine, but in smaller amounts.
Women who are pregnant should refrain from excessive consumption of regular as well as decaffeinated coffee. Here's why coffee should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It increases the heart rate as well as the blood pressure.
  • Since caffeine is a diuretic, excessive consumption of coffee can cause dehydration.
  • It is believed that excessive consumption of this beverage can increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • The fetus receives nutrients as well as oxygen through the placenta. Studies have revealed that coffee can cross the placental barrier. While adults can metabolize caffeine, the same cannot be said about the unborn child or the fetus.
  • In fact, high levels of caffeine can hamper the child's development.

How Much Is Too Much?

Just like the normal coffee, excessive intake of decaf is also known to cause certain health problems. The fact that decaf contains caffeine in smaller amounts does make it a safer alternative when compared to regular coffee, but since caffeine has not been removed completely, it is a choice you need to make.
Though some studies reveal that taking 2 cups daily might not cause any harm to you and your baby, the effect of caffeine may vary depending on the overall health.
For some women, lower doses might also lead to health problems. In fact, excessive intake of caffeine might also affect the baby directly. Since the baby's system is far more sensitive than the mother, care must be taken to avoid such problems. Excessive intake of decaf could cause:
  • Acid reflux
  • Heartburn
  • Heart problems
  • Osteoporosis
Excess of anything is bad, and that goes for decaf as well. If possible, avoid taking coffee during pregnancy. If you are unable to do so, restrict your intake to 1 or 2 cups. The life within you is far more important than any temptation. So, do cut down on your intake of coffee.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.