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Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy

Everyone wants the best for their baby. Eating healthily is surely one way we can ensure our baby has the best start in life. Research (ref. 1) found that caffeine consumption throughout pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of having low birth weight babies, so it’s time to change your coffee drinking habit.

This research was funded by The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK. According to the research, “Caffeine consumption of >200 mg/day during pregnancy was associated with a reduction in birth weight of about 60-70 g, with a significant trend for greater reduction in birth weight with higher caffeine intake. This relation was consistent across all three trimesters.” The research concluded that “The threshold at which this risk is significantly higher is not well characterised, but our data confirm that the association of fetal growth restriction with caffeine is reduced for those consuming <100 mg/day.”
FSA therefore issued new advice on caffeine consumption during pregnancy following the results of this research. Pregnant women are now advised to limit their daily caffeine intake to 200mg a day, compared to the previous recommendation of below 300mg a day. 2 cups of coffee will give you about 200mg of caffeine.
Too much caffeine might result in low birth weight babies, which will have a high risk of some health conditions in later life. There is also some evidence (ref. 2, 3, 4) which suggests that high levels of caffeine can result in spontaneous miscarriage.
It is important for expectant mothers to understand that caffeine is not only in coffee and tea, it is also found in chocolate, certain medicines, energy drinks, some soft drinks including cola drinks, and etc.
  1. Maternal Caffeine Intake During Pregnancy and Risk of Fetal Growth Restriction: A Large Prospective Observational Study. Konje et al. BMJ 2008;337:a2332.
  2. Caffeine and spontaneous abortion of known karyotype. Kline et al. Epidemiology 1991;2:409-417.
  3. Fetal loss associated with caffeine intake before and during pregnancy. Infante-Rivard et al. JAMA 1993;270:2940-2943.
  4. Moderate caffeine use and the risk of spontaneous abortion and intrauterine growth retardation. Mills et al. JAMA 1993;269:593-597.

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