Nutrition · Pregnancy

Caffeine – how much is too much during pregnancy?

Tea in mason jar, energy bar, and cup of coffee

Should I limit caffeine when I am pregnant?

Yes, you should limit how much caffeine you get from food and drinks when you’re pregnant.  During pregnancy, we recommend  no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine in a day.

That amount of caffeine is equal to:

  • two cups of coffee
  • four cups of tea
  • two chocolate energy bars
  • four cans of diet or regular cola.

Caffeine is a chemical that can affect you and your baby.  During pregnancy, high amounts of caffeine in your diet can:

  • make it difficult  to absorb calcium and iron
  • make it harder to sleep
  • increase your chance of having a small baby at birth
  • increase your chance of miscarriage

You can also pass caffeine to your baby through your breast milk.  Having large amounts of caffeine during breastfeeding can cause your baby to be fussy or have difficulty sleeping.  So, it’s best to reduce or remove caffeine from your diet if you’re breastfeeding.

Where are the hidden sources of caffeine?

Caffeine is often absent  from food and drink labels in Canada, which  makes it hard to find.  These words on a label can give you an idea if a product has caffeine:Steeped tea in mason jar

  • mocha, fudge or cappuccino
  • chocolate or coffee flavoured
  • drinks that provide ‘energy’
  • yerba mate or guarana


How can I cut down on caffeine?

You want to cut back gradually.  For example, you can start by switching to a decaffeinated version of your usual drink, by brewing your tea lighter, and by reducing the size of your cup.  Eventually, you can choose milk or flavoured water instead of your usual caffeinated drink.