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Ask any mom what she had the hardest time giving up during her pregnancy, and alcohol won't come nearly as often as one other beverage of choice: coffee.
Although it hasn't been all-out banned from healthy pregnancies in the same way that liquor has, plenty of studies have recommended that pregnant women — and even those breastfeeding or trying to conceive — limit their daily caffeine intake. (Just last week, new research pointed to the fact that drinking more than two cups of coffee could raise a woman's risk of miscarriage by more than 70 percent.)
Compound that with the fact that pregnant women are perhaps exponentially more zapped for energy (that whole "creating life" is exhausting work!), and getting through the day without their usual multicup regimen is a legitimate struggle.
When Emilie Simmons, a passionate coffee drinker, first got pregnant, it wasn't just the caffeine — "it's also about the taste, the smell, the experience, the routine" — that she craved.
"I stumbled through my first pregnancy drinking decaf and watered-down regular coffee and felt guilty on the days when I indulged in a full-caf pumpkin spice latte," she told POPSUGAR. "By the time my second baby belly was in full bloom, I was fed up and had talked to enough fellow moms to know I wasn't alone."
That's when she came up with Mommee Coffee, a newly launched line of coffee specifically designed for women who are pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive. The line of organic coffee beans is not just low in acidity but it is also water-processed (read: chemical-free), and it comes in four different levels of caffeination to fit with everyone's needs at any given moment.
Still, with "Is it OK to drink coffee?" continuing to be a mystifying question, we spoke with Simmons and cofounder Sharon Pieczenik about consumption guidelines and what you should consider the next time you order a cup. (Hint: a taste of 1/4-caf might just save your life.)
POPSUGAR: There are so many rules and restrictions surrounding coffee drinking for childbearing women. What have you found to be the most accurate advice?
Scientifically, the most consistent and data-backed information we have is that 200 milligrams of caffeine a day — the equivalent of one to two cups of full-caf coffee — is not harmful during pregnancy. However, while having a specific number is great, it is not individualized and does not take into account all the nonscientific factors that play into this discussion.
We at Mommee Coffee use 200 milligrams as a general upper boundary but then apply the following guidelines:
1. Listen to your body and health care provider.
2. Find your individual balance point.
PS: What do you mean by "balance point"?
When it comes to caffeine during pregnancy, less is more until it isn't. The "isn't" point is when you need some caffeine support to get through your busy day. This will be different for each mom and at each stage of pregnancy. It might be the point when you don't have the energy to spend time with your older children or when you can't deliver results in the career you've worked so hard to establish or simply when you don't feel like you anymore. Wherever that balance lies for you, we have a Mommee Coffee blend to help you strike it.
PS: Do you think the new data from the National Institutes of Health will scare people off from coffee entirely?
For us, these results underscore the need for options that meet the needs of the many different stages of the Mommee journey and also highlight the fact that Mommee Coffee is not just great for moms but also for anyone who is looking for a healthier, more customized cup of coffee.
PS: Your coffee — and its propriety roasting process — has undergone extensive testing to ensure it has significantly lower levels of acid than other coffees on the market. Why does that matter?
Low acidity matters for everyone but in particular for moms. Acidic foods and beverages are hard on the digestive system and also can negatively impact bone density. During pregnancy, many women experience sensitive stomachs and acid reflux, making us particularly affected by acid in the things we consume. Additionally, because, as pregnant women, we are not only taxing our own bones but also growing the bones of a baby, bone health is of utmost importance.
PS: You also offer a variety of levels — decaf, 1/4 caf, 1/2 caf, and full caf. Does having those options really make a difference?
As pregnant women, while we may want to significantly reduce our caffeine intake, I think we can agree that drinking a few tablespoons worth of coffee is not at all satisfying. Mommee Coffee's unique 1/4 caf and 1/2 caf options allow you to have a full cup of delicious coffee while still keeping caffeine consumption low. And if you plan on getting all the mileage you can out of the 200-milligram cap, you may still want to take advantage of our lower-caf coffee so you can indulge in multiple cups a day.
PS: Do you have any qualms about offering a full-caf coffee?
We did have discussions early on as to whether or not to include it. We decided to do so for two main reasons. First and foremost, we want to maximize options so that each mom can decide what is best for her at any given stage. Also, because our coffee offers features that are beneficial to everyone, we wanted post-baby-stage moms, friends of moms, dads, grandmas, and grandpas to be able to share in the goodness of Mommee Coffee.