For a few (hundred thousand) of us, fall is equivalent with pumpkin spice... everything. From baked goods to lip balm -- it seems everyone is obsessed with pumpkin spice, and especially with the pumpkin spice latte (PSL). If you're pregnant, you may be wondering -- can I still enjoy my beloved PSL?? The quick answer is: probably, but perhaps with modifications.
The two things you'll want to consider when ordering a PSL during your pregnancy are: caffeine and sugar. First, let's look at caffeine. Here is what the leading experts tell us about consuming caffeine during pregnancy:
March of Dimes
"We don’t know a lot about the effects of caffeine during pregnancy on you and your baby. So it’s best to limit the amount you get each day. If you’re pregnant, limit caffeine to 200 milligrams each day. This is about the amount in 1½ 8-ounce cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup of coffee. "
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
"Moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200 mg per day) does not appear to be a major contributing factor in miscarriage or preterm birth. The relationship of caffeine to growth restriction remains undetermined. A final conclusion cannot be made at this time as to whether there is a correlation between high caffeine intake and miscarriage."
"Most experts agree that low levels (less than 200mg/day) of caffeine are okay during pregnancy. To date, researchers have not reported an association between low levels of caffeine and an increased risk for miscarriage. Large amounts of caffeine have not been shown to cause an increased chance for birth defects over the background risk. Most studies find no clear evidence that caffeine exposure increases the risk of problems with baby’s growth."
The one clear agreement is that 200 mg/day of caffeine is safe in pregnancy. What does that mean for your pumpkin spice latte habit? Find out how much caffeine is in each size at your favorite coffee spot, then factor in how much caffeine you've already had for the day. Based on the posted nutritional information at two of the most popular coffee retailers selling PSL this season, the amount of caffeine can range from 75 mg to 118 mg for a small size cup. Be sure to look up or ask about the amounts before you order. You can further reduce the amount of caffeine by ordering a decaf pumpkin spice latte.
In addition to caffeine, PSL is known for its generous dose of sugar. I'm not here to lecture anyone about sugar intake. The information about sugar is widely available to research and you can make that call for yourself. For those experiencing gestational diabetes, however, sugar isn't just a matter of should/shouldn't, but a critical health decision. A small pumpkin spice latte can range from 33 g - 39 g of added sugar. You can reduce the amount of sugar by ordering your PSL with skim milk or an unsweetened dairy alternative milk, no whipped cream, and reduced pumpkin flavoring/syrup. Better yet, make your PSL at home with ingredients that include little to no sugar, like this one!
Does your fall season require a pumpkin spice latte? Are you making modifications? What's your go-to PSL routine for pregnancy?
TagsNutrition Nutrition in Pregnancy Fall Caffeine During Pregnancy