Pregnant Woman Shamed by Starbucks Barista for Ordering a Caffeinated Drink
Here's what an ob-gyn has to say about having caffeine while pregnant.
While standing in line at a London Starbucks, British comedian Tiffany Stevenson overheard the woman in front of her order a caramel macchiato. She didn't think much of it. That quickly changed, though, when the barista suggested the woman make it decaf. The woman was pregnant, and the male barista was shaming her for ordering caffeine. Uh, excuse me, sir?
When the woman replied she didn't want decaf, the man told her that "caffeine is bad for the baby," Stevenson recounted in a series of tweets last week. The woman went on to explain that she only drinks one caffeinated beverage per day. The barista's response: "But...you shouldn't."
At this point, Stevenson was "almost spontaneously combusting," she wrote, and she realized she had to step in. "Are you a man telling a woman what she should and shouldn’t have during a pregnancy?" she asked him. He tried to justify himself by (once again) repeating that caffeine is bad for the baby, but Stevenson wasn't having any of it. "Unbelievable. Stop it," she said to him.
To set the record straight: There's absolutely no reason a pregnant woman can't enjoy a caramel macchiato. "It's totally fine to have caffeine while pregnant," Christine Greves, MD, an ob-gyn at the center for obstetrics and gynecology at Orlando Health in Florida, tells Health.
There's no evidence caffeine will harm the baby, Dr. Greves explains, though women do need to be mindful of keeping their consumption withing the recommended limit. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says having about 200 mg of caffeine per day, or one 12-ounce cup of coffee, is safe while pregnant.
But even though it's safe, plenty of pregnant women have been shamed for it, according to women who shared their experiences in response to Stevenson's tweets. "I had exactly the same thing when I was pregnant. I was angry for days," one user wrote.
Another chimed in with, "When I was pregnant, I had a stranger in a Lyft [sic] say to me 'Oooh should you really be drinking coffee, Mum?' It’s not coffee. It’s none of your business. And unless I’ve given birth to you, you don’t call me Mum."
The response to Stevenson's tweets proved that being coffee shamed while pregnant isn't uncommon. But a Starbucks spokesperson did tell Today Parents that the company is looking into it. “As a matter of policy, we trust our customers to make decisions that are right for them, and we take pride in creating a welcoming, warm environment in our stores," the spokesperson said.
Some users who replied to Stevenson's tweets joked about the ridiculousness of the situation. "Is this wombsplaining?" one replied.
And others shared what we consider to be very valuable advice: "Never give a pregnant woman your unsolicited opinion about her pregnancy. Ever. She doesn't want it. You're not qualified."
To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the WomenIRL newsletter