Too much coffee in pregnancy?

A study reveals that pregnant women may be drinking too much coffee in pregnancy

The babies of mums-to-be who have more than 200 mg of caffeine per day are at an greater risk of foetal growth restriction, which could result in low birth weight or even miscarriage, says prehnancy and baby charity Tommy’s.

They warn that the problem is not just drinking cffee and tea but that caffeine may be contained in other products such and chocolate and energy drinks. The charity has launched a caffeine calculator to help pregnant women tracj how much caffeine they are consuming.

The Food Safety Authority (FSA) says that pregnant women should have less than 200mg of caffeien per day. However, it is hard for people to know how much is in what they eat and drink.

A poll of 4,100 pregnant women by Tommy’s revealed that 61% would eat or drink less caffeine if they knew how much caffeine there was in items.

Clinical Director of Tommy’s National Miscarriage Research Centre, Professor Arri Coomarasamy, says: “There is evidence that excessive caffeine intake is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. Interestingly, this evidence seems to apply to not just women during pregnancy, but also to men, pre-conception. Although more research is required, most clinicians would recommend couples to restrict their caffeine intake.”

Where is caffeine found?

  • A can of cola has around 40mg of caffeine
  • A mug of tea has around 75mg
  • A bar of plain chocolate has around 50mg
  • A cup of instant coffee has around 100mg
  • A mug of filter coffee has around 140mg
  • Energy drinks: a 250ml can has around 80mg.

Sophie King, Tommy’s midwife, said: “Caffeine consumption can add up so quickly! Two cups of coffee and a bar of chocolate would have enough caffeine to be over the recommended limit while pregnant. Try switching to decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas, fruit juice and water. Don’t worry if you have in the past gone over the 200mg limit but using a caffeine calculator now can help you be more aware of your consumption and to cut down if you need to.”

Clio, a mum expecting her third baby this spring, said: ‘I’ve never been a big caffeine drinker and I assumed that a couple of mugs of tea or coffee each day wouldn’t take me over the caffeine limit in pregnancy. I decided to check on Tommy’s caffeine calculator and I was surprised to see I am going over the recommended limit of 200mg. A mug of tea and a filter coffee takes me just over to 215mg – and a chocolate bar (my current craving) pushes it up even more to 240mg. I had no idea! I’m going to make an effort to stick to one tea or coffee now.’

Check your caffeine intake here

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