Experts, such as the Food Standards Agency, The Centre for Pregnancy Nutrition and The Royal College of Midwives, are agreed that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day is safe during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. The Royal College of Midwives states that, ‘there is no definitive evidence to show that caffeine in moderation has any adverse impact during pregnancy’.
There has been a great deal of coffee health media coverage recently, following the publication of revised guidelines by the Food Standards Agency concerning caffeine intake during pregnancy. To find out the latest information from the Food Standards Agency visit:
Experts, such as The Food Standards Agency, The Centre for Pregnancy Nutrition and The Royal College of Midwives, are agreed that coffee drinking in moderation, 2 - 3 cups per day, is safe during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. The Royal College of Midwives state that, ‘There is no definitive evidence to show that caffeine in moderation has any adverse impact during pregnancy’.
Caffeine and pregnancy
The Food Standards Agency (FSA), in November 2008, revised guidelines that advise pregnant women to limit their intake of caffeine from 300mg per day to 200mg per day. This roughly equates to about 2 mugs of instant coffee (100mg each), 1 mug of filter coffee (140mg each), 2 mugs of tea (75mg each), 5 cans of cola (up to 40mg each), 2 cans of ‘energy’ drink (up to 80mg each) or 4 (50g) bars of plain chocolate (up to 50 mg each). Caffeine in milk chocolate is about half that of plain chocolate (1A).
A 2002 review of the scientific literature concluded that ‘It seems reasonable to conclude that no convincing evidence has been presented to show that caffeine consumption increases the risk of any reproductive adversity’ (2).
In January 2008 two new studies were published looking at maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy. The first concluded “there is little indication of possible harmful effects of caffeine on miscarriage risk within the range of coffee and caffeine consumption reported” (3). The second however, observed an increased risk of miscarriage with consumption of caffeine of 200 mg per day or greater (4).
The British Coffee Association welcomes new research and highlights that it is important to review all the available data rather than taking one study in isolation . The BCA fully support the advice given by the FSA, which provides clear guidance for pregnant women and confirms that coffee consumed in moderation is safe for health.
Caffeine is found naturally in tea, coffee and chocolate, and is added to cola drinks, some energy drinks and some over the counter medicines such a cold remedies. All sources should be considered when reviewing total daily caffeine intake.
Current guidelines issued by the Food Standards Agency are intended to reassure pregnant women that they may consume up to 200mg of caffeine a day – this equates to 2-3 cups of coffee. These guidelines are endorsed by The Royal College of Midwives and The Centre for Pregnancy Nutrition.
There is no conclusive evidence to date to suggest that this level of caffeine represents a health risk to expectant mothers or their babies.
1. Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment – Statement on the Reproductive Effects of Caffeine, October 2001
1A. Food Standards Agency Guidance on Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy 2008. http://www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2008/nov/caffeinenov08
2. Leviton A and Cowan L. Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 40, 2002
3. Savitz D A. Epidemiology; Volume 19, January 2008
4. Weng X et al. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2008