Are you pregnant and wondering if you can still enjoy a shot of espresso in the morning? There are so many changes your body is about to go through so is giving up espresso something you need to do? Let us figure that out together!
We did thorough research to find out whether you can safely drink espresso while pregnant. Keep reading to get the information you need.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
Is Espresso Safe During Pregnancy?
Espresso is a concentrated, caffeinated type of coffee. So, the real question here is, is the amount of caffeine found in an espresso shot safe for you during pregnancy? It is when consumed in moderation. The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) confirms that less than 200mg of caffeine per day is safe to consume without any noticeable effect on the mom or the baby.
A single espresso shot has about 63 to 65 mg of caffeine, meaning, a double shot is still a safe choice. However, you need to be aware that caffeine is not only found in espresso. It is also present in:
- energy and sports drinks
- regular and decaf coffee
- chocolate and chocolate drinks
This means that you can indeed enjoy a delicious shot of espresso but you should not drink another caffeinated drink along with it.
What Happens If You Drink More Than That?
More than 200 mg of caffeine per day could have some negative effects during pregnancy. Studies have shown that caffeine can cross through the placenta and affect the baby’s health. In extremely high doses, it can affect the baby’s birth weight and even increase the risk of miscarriage.
Another thing you should be aware of is that, during pregnancy, women metabolic caffeine at a much slower rate. It can take up to 3 times longer for your body to eliminate caffeine from its system. As a result, the caffeine will circulate through your bloodstream much longer and can have a “stressing” effect on the baby. Extreme caffeine use during pregnancy can even lead to behavioral disorders in the baby later in life.
There are some unpleasant side-effects you can experience as a pregnant woman too. This also happens due to the slow metabolizing process. These side effects include:
- rapid heartbeat
- high anxiety levels
- high blood pressure
- dehydration and dizziness
- abdominal pain and diarrhea
Keep in mind that the 200 mg of caffeine is considered safe, however, we are all different and can handle different levels of caffeine. This is not to say that you should cross the limit, but, if you feel like even the safe limit is a bit too much for you, take it down a notch.
What If You Accidentally Drink To Manny Espresso Shots?
The best thing you can do is call your healthcare provider and ask what to do in this situation. It all depends on the amount of caffeine you consumed.
Is The Trimester Important?
Timing can be of importance when it comes to caffeine and pregnancy. Caffeine in the first trimester has a far greater impact on the pregnancy than consumption of caffeine in the second or third trimester.
The risk of miscarriage is much higher in the first and second trimesters, and larger caffeine consumption can even elevate it. There is also a very strong correlation between caffeine consumption during the first trimester and stillbirth and late miscarriage later during the pregnancy.
Even though there seem to be fewer risks in the last trimester, this does not mean that you should consume more than 200 mg of caffeine a day. You are still pregnant and need to be careful.
Are There Any Alternative Options?
Now, if you crave a large beverage and you want that kick you get from an espresso, go for a latte. It uses espresso as a base and is combined with enough steamed milk to ensure that you can sip on it for a long time.
What About A Decaf Espresso?
Decaf espresso sounds great, right? Well, the first thing you need to know is that even when the name has the “decaff” part in it, it still has some caffeine. It is present in a far less amount but is present. So, again, be careful not to exceed the limit of 200 mg per day. Moreover, check what the decaffeination process is about, some of them include chemicals that are harmful to all people, not only pregnant women.
As we said, decaf espresso is never caffeine-free. For it to be classified as decaff, it needs to have 97 percent less caffeine. Choose decaf coffee made by carbon dioxide method since it’s the only one safe method because it doesn’t include chemicals.
- Carbon dioxide method – this last option is used only for decaffeination of large batches of coffee beans. It dissolves and extracts all the caffeine without using any chemicals and without compromising the flavor of your beans.
- Indirect solvent – coffee beans are first soaked for a while. During this stage, the caffeine, flavor, and other nutrients are extracted from the beans which are then mixed with a solvent that bonds with the caffeine.
- Direct solvent – in this case, coffee beans are steamed until their pores open up. They are then rinsed with a chemical solvent that removes the caffeine by binding to it.
- Swiss water process – this process does not contain any chemicals but it is not used that often. The beans are first soaked so that the water removes caffeine molecules. Then, they are run through a charcoal filter to strain the larger molecules. The same water is used to remove caffeine from a new batch of beans, but, since it is already full of rich flavors, it only removes the caffeine. If you want to buy decaf coffee made using this method, you will see a “Swiss Water Decaf” sticker on it.
Coffee Chain Beverages That Are Pregnancy-Safe
If you are pregnant it does not mean that you need to give up on visitations to your favorite coffee house. Apart from a latte, you can still enjoy:
What you need to pay attention to is the caffeine in the combinations. For instance, caffeine in a latte is determined only by the amount of caffeine in an espresso shot (as milk does not contain any caffeine). However, a Mocha is made by adding chocolate syrup to the espresso (and chocolate does have some caffeine in its structure).
Are There Any Ways To Cut Down On Caffeine?
While there are many good reasons to cut down on caffeine during pregnancy, this is not always an easy task. You might notice that you crave espresso less during the first trimester only because of the morning sickness, however, the craving is bound to kick back once those first months pass. So, what can you do to cut down on caffeine? Here are some tips you might find useful:
Drink A Lot Of Water
The caffeine in espresso can make you feel like you have to go to the bathroom all the time (especially while you are pregnant). As a result, you might start to feel some signs of dehydration. To avoid this, always consume plenty of fresh water.
Look For Other Energy Sources
Let us face it, we all love espresso because of its flavor, depth, and consistency but also because of the energy boost it provides. So:
- make sure to go to bed on time so you get a good night’s rest
- eat well and avoid fast food that makes you feel tired
- exercise whenever possible (even a walk can be a great option) to ensure you get a nice energy boost
- switch to tea – be careful with tea as most teas also have caffeine in them
Red Espresso – What Is It?
Let us be straight from the start, red espresso is not espresso. Instead of the coffee beans, it comes from 100% Rooibos tea leaves that are rich in antioxidants but have no caffeine in them.
The great thing is that you can use the red espresso Rooibos grounds to make an “espresso” using any of the following espresso brewing methods:
- an espresso machine
- a Moka pot
- a French press
Now, flavor-wise, the red espresso has a much lighter and aromatic flavor. Also, you do not drink it as a shoot but sip on it slowly. It is supposed to bring you a feeling of serenity and calm.
To Wrap It Up
We have established that 200 mg of caffeine is the top limit you should consume per day while pregnant. So, two shots of espresso a day are perfectly fine for you to have, but, be careful about other foods and beverages you consume as caffeine is often a hidden link in the chain. Both for your and your baby’s health, keep everything in moderation.