While most pregnant women have heard they shouldn’t drink tons of coffee, decaf isn’t so clear-cut. Decaf, after all, still has some caffeine, and certain studies (though not all) have linked this stimulant to higher miscarriage rates. Further complicating matters is the fact that the amount of caffeine varies widely in both decaf and regular. Still, that doesn’t mean pregnant women must abstain from this beverage completely.

Here’s the deal: The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption to less than 200 mg per day. One 8-ounce cup of regular has about 95 mg. Decaf, meanwhile, varies from 6 to 14 mg if brewed at home, says Gina Sirchio, M.D., a Chicago-based physician and author of The Nourish Series: Prenatal Nutrition. In other words: You’d have to drink anywhere from 14 to 33 cups of decaf to get into dangerous territory.

More from The Stir: Drinking Caffeine While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

Coffee chains, however, may be another story. “Shops are notorious for higher levels of caffeine in their drinks,” warns Sirchio. One study by Consumer Reports found that a 10- to 12-ounce decaf coffee from Dunkin Donuts had 32 mg of caffeine, with Seattle’s Best coming in at 29 mg and Starbucks at 21 mg. Still, you’d have to down a ton of decaf to be in trouble, so there’s little reason to deny yourself a cup if a craving hits.

Did you drink decaf during your pregnancy? Why or why not?


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