Midwives welcome clarity on caffeine in pregnancy

By Midwives welcome clarity on caffeine in pregnancy on 18 November 2020 RCM Maternity Services Safety Stillbirth Stillbirth Report Pregnancy Alcohol and pregnancy Safe high quality care Mary Ross Davie

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has today welcomed a new study undertaken by the charity Tommy’s which aimed to understand more about reducing the risk of stillbirth in the UK by reducing caffeine in pregnancy.

The research shows that 1 in 20 women increased their intake during pregnancy, despite evidence that some caffeinated drinks such as energy drinks can cause a heightened risk of stillbirth. The RCM says while stillbirths are slowly reducing its crucial women are conscious that caffeine is one factor that can impact on their pregnancy and if too much is consumed may contribute towards stillbirth.

Commenting, Dr Mary Ross Davie from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said:

“The clarity this Tommy’s study provides on the need for pregnant women to reduce caffeine from all sources, not just from coffee, is exceptionally helpful, for midwives and pregnant women alike. A single energy drink contains half of a pregnant woman’s maximum recommended daily allowance of caffeine – 200mg - yet she may not realise it. It is so valuable for midwives, maternity care professionals and women to understand more about this crucial issue so that we can continue to reduce the number of stillbirths each year in the UK.”

The study also made clear how central midwives are to women as sources of information about health behaviours in pregnancy – and identified the need to strengthen education for midwives about the risks of caffeine in pregnancy in order to provide women with appropriate information. 

Mary added:

“The RCM will be working with the authors of this study to provide midwives with accessible information about caffeine and its impact on pregnancy. There are a range of factors that women can’t control that increase the risk of stillbirth -  such as age, ethnicity, or congenital issues. This study provides us with more information about how to reduce the risk caused by one of the factors women can control – how much caffeine they consume. Along with stopping smoking, and not taking drugs or drinking alcohol during pregnancy, this can help women to reduce their risks of things going wrong in pregnancy.”



To contact the RCM media office call 020 7312 3456 or email [email protected]


 Notes to Editors

  • The study interviewed 290 women who experienced a stillbirth after 28 weeks and 720 women in the control group who did not have a stillbirth. The research team interviewed women within a month of the birth, exploring a wide range of lifestyle factors. For more information on this study contact Tommy’s [email protected] or 0207 398 3436.




The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance, and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.