Can I have my daily coffee?
Along with planning healthy and wholesome meals for pregnancy, many women wonder what is – and what isn't – safe to drink while they are expecting, particularly where alcohol and caffeine are concerned.
At a glance
- Caffeine doesn't have to be ruled out entirely during pregnancy
- Mums-to-be can have up to 200mg of caffeine a day
- Alcohol should be avoided altogether
For most of us, that kick-start cup of coffee in the morning is what motivates us to get out of bed in the first place, and the good news is that it doesn't have to be ruled out entirely for pregnant mums. Although high caffeine levels can cause an increased risk of miscarriage in pregnancy and low birth weight in babies, the current advice is that mums-to-be can have up to 200mg of caffeine a day – so a couple of cups of coffee will be fine.
Remember that tea contains caffeine as well, so don't forget to count your cuppas too! Decaffeinated tea and coffee could be your best friend if you really cannot get through the day without sticking the kettle on regularly.
You probably won't feel like drinking early in your pregnancy anyway, but there could be special occasions – weddings, christenings, birthdays for example – later in your pregnancy where you might wonder if you can have a glass of champagne or wine to celebrate.
Obviously, it is entirely up to you, but new guidelines from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists say that there should not be any alcohol consumption during the first three months of pregnancy while one or two units a week after are a 'safe amount'.
Spokesman Dr Pat O’Brien said: “If nobody drank any alcohol in pregnancy there would be no Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and no Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. But on the other hand if you look at all of the evidence there appears to be a safe level of alcohol intake in pregnancy.”
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ current advice is this: 'Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid alcohol altogether. However, if they do choose to drink, to minimise the risk to the baby, we recommend they should not drink more than 1-2 units once or twice a week and should not get drunk.'
Similarly, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises healthcare professionals (GPs and nurses) to tell women that, 'if they choose to drink alcohol while they are pregnant, they should drink no more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week'. They add that there, 'is uncertainty about how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy, but at this low level there is no evidence of any harm to their unborn baby.'