Recommendations for caffeine intake during pregnancy
Current recommendations for caffeine intake during pregnancy range from 200-300 mg/day from all sources, not simply from coffee*.
- Only one good quality, intervention study looks at the clinical basis for the restriction of caffeine intake in pregnancy:
- A review published in 20091 highlighted a Danish study that split over 1000 pregnant women into 2 groups. One group of women drank caffeinated instant coffee and the other decaffeinated instant coffee for the rest of their pregnancy.
- No effect on birth weight or length of gestation was found when the caffeine intake of the regular coffee drinkers was reduced (by approximately 2 regular cups of coffee) during the second and third trimesters.
- A 2008 paper by Weng et al2 created a degree of confusion around a safe level for caffeine intake during pregnancy which led different organisations to provide different advice.
- Following research3 carried out in the UK around the same time, The Food Standards Agency suggests an upper safe limit for pregnant women of 200mg of caffeine per day from all sources.
- Similar advice is provided by the March of the Dimes in the US.
- The American Dietetic Association (ADA), suggests maintaining the previously commonly accepted upper limit of 300mg/day.
- The EU Scientific Committee on Food states that “While intakes (of caffeine) up to 300mg/day appear to be safe, the possible question of effects on pregnancy and the offspring at regular intakes above 300mg/day remains open.”
* A regular cup of coffee contains approximately 100mg of caffeine