There are many do's and don'ts when it comes to growing a baby, it can be an absolute minefield for many.
We already know there are numerous foods to avoid during pregnancy including blue cheese, raw or under-cooked meats and fish such as shark, marlin and swordfish due to their high mercury content but what about coffee?
For the many women who question whether you should quit coffee for good throughout pregnancy, the answer is simply no - and many medical professionals will agree.
There is so much conflicting advice on whether you can have a cup or not without affecting your baby but here is the good news - you don't need to cut coffee out completely, you just need to limit how much caffeine you eat or drink. Experts recommend you drink no more than two cups of coffee per day.
However, it is not just coffee you need to watch, caffeine can be found in various foods and drinks including tea, chocolate/cocoa, soft drinks, ice cream, energy drinks, medication, chewing gum, breakfast cereals and even some herbal teas such as green tea.
High levels of caffeine during pregnancy can result in a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life. Research also shows that too much caffeine has been linked to miscarriage.
According to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI), caffeine can be absorbed freely across the placenta, but cannot be broken down by either the placenta or the foetus meaning your baby will be exposed to the same amount of coffee you choose to drink.
For this reason, the FSAI recommends limiting caffeine intake to 200mg or less a day throughout pregnancy as there is sufficient evidence to suggest that too much caffeine may be harmful.
This equals about 1-2 cups of coffee or 2-4 cups of caffeinated tea. They also advise expecting mothers not to replace their coffee with unhealthy alternatives such as sugary drinks.
If you follow these simple daily guidelines, you will stay within safe caffeine levels:
- Two mugs of tea (75mg each).
- Two mugs of instant coffee (100mg each).
- One mug of filter coffee (140mg each).
- Five cans of cola (around 40mg each).
- Four 50g bars of dark chocolate (around 50g of caffeine each).
So there you have it, you can still enjoy a cup of coffee every now and then during your pregnancy, just make sure you don't drink more than 200mg of caffeine in a day or why not switch to a caffeine-free coffee? Its tastes just as good - without the added kick.