Should I Quit Caffeine?

If you’re like me, the first thing you look forward to is that warm latte to start the day. I can’t even wrap my head around being productive until I have a little bit of caffeine! But what’s the go when you’re pregnant or trying to conceive? 

Do you need to quit caffeine cold turkey?…. 

The good news first- no you don’t!

You can still enjoy that cup of coffee daily throughout your pregnancy or fertility journey. In the past, it had been advised to avoid caffeine completely but studies have found that some caffeine consumption does not affect fecundability or pregnancy. There specifically seems to be little to no association between caffeine intake while trying to become pregnant.

However, high amounts of caffeine daily has been found to increase risk of miscarriage and lead to poor fetal growth. I want to emphasize that this risk is at high amounts of caffeine from 350 mg to 700 mg per day which is greater than 4+ cups of coffee per day. 

The current research suggests that less than 200 mg daily does not increase perinatal risk. This is equivalent to ~2 cups of coffee per day.

During pregnancy, caffeine passes through the placental barrier freely and is absorbed rapidly after consumption. This means that the fetus is getting the exact same amount of caffeine the mother is consuming. So pregnant women do need to be wary of caffeine consumed from ALL sources throughout the day. Be careful not to just account for the caffeine fix in the morning coffee! Also, remember that adding and extra shot or ordering a large at your local coffee shop increases the caffeine content.  The most common sources include tea, energy drinks, soft drinks, chocolate, and some medications.

Caffeine Source Amount/serving*
Decaf Coffee 3mg/teaspoon
Instant Coffee 60mg/teaspoon
Percollated 100mg/cup
Soft Drink30-50mg/12 oz. serving
Black Tea48mg/cup
Energy Drink70-110mg/serving
Dark Chocolate12mg/oz.
Milk Chocolate6mg/oz.
*Amounts listed in the commonly used measurements for each individual caffeine source and can vary

So, the research shows that 1-3 cups of coffee per day is not associated with an increased risk for people trying to conceive or who are pregnant. However, it is important to reiterate that more than 300mg of caffeine daily has been shown to increase the risk of poor fetal growth, miscarriage, and still birth. It has been documented that the fetal brain accumulates caffeine metabolites most likely due to the absence of the metabolizing enzyme. A fetal brain is not equipped to break down the absorbed caffeine which may lead to decreased blood flow and affect fetal growth and development. With all that being said, study results have been mixed with their findings. But, looking at the big picture, if you’re drinking 4+ cups of coffee and tea per day, it would be very beneficial to start reducing your intake if you are trying to conceive or are pregnant. 

Cut Caffeine? How will I Survive?!

You may feel as if you run solely thanks to your caffeine boost every few hours. Without it, the day drags, you feel sluggish, and your only thoughts are “when can a crawl in bed?”

Not only is the trick to slowly reduce your caffeine daily, but there are several other practices to adapt in order to feel energized throughout the day even caffeine free. 

The key is to get your circadian rhythm in check.

The best attainable goal is to get at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Sleep has a major impact on hormones and overall health so it can definitely effect your fertility journey (but it is important for everyone!). 

My top five recommendations for getting your circadian rhythm in check are: 

  1. Focus on dark/light exposure. At night, sleep in the dark, use shades and turn off all lights. Once awaking, do not look at your phone or use synthetic light right away. Rather, try to let in light from your window or get outside in the light if possible.
  2. Use blue light blocking glasses. Blue light help glasses block the light from digital screens (tv, phone, etc.). Screen light can disrupt your bodies natural hormones affecting a proper sleep cycle. It is recommended to wear blue light blocking glasses at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  3. Cease use of electronics at least an 1 hour prior to bed. Definitely wear your blue light glasses but also shutting of the tv and putting down the phone can calm and relax your mind before bed.
  4. Set a nightly routine. Try to adapt an evening routine with strict bed times and wake times. Keep it simple but consistent. Your body will get used to a routine a sleep will become easier.
  5. Do not drink caffeine after 12pm. Caffeine can linger in your system long after consumed. Having a coffee in the morning hours only is the least impactful on your night time routine.

To wrap everything up..!

If you’re trying to conceive, caffeine has not been shown to be associated with decreased fecundability but it still may be of interest to limit your intake to the recommended amount. Drinking caffeine in coffee, soft drinks, and tea all day long could potentially be having some negative effects. If you’re pregnant, only consume up to 300mg of caffeine daily to avoid increasing perinatal risk. If you’re needing to reduce your caffeine intake, use the tips above for improving your circadian rhythm and feeling naturally energized throughout the day.  

Feel free to reach out if you have any specific questions for me 🙂

Your Dietitian,


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