Poll reveals confusion about caffeine consumption in pregnancy

By Julie Griffiths on 13 March 2018 Caffeine

A survey of more than 4000 pregnant women shows that 61% would reduce their caffeine consumption habits after being made aware of how much caffeine there is in daily items.

Since 2008 the Food Safety Authority recommends that pregnant women keep their caffeine intake to under 200mg a day, but evidence from Tommy’s, the pregnancy and baby charity, shows that women do not know what 200mg caffeine represents and are over-consuming.

Babies of pregnant women who consume over 200mg of caffeine per day are at an increased risk of fetal growth restriction, which could result in low birthweight and/or miscarriage.

Caffeine is found in tea and coffee, cola, other soft beverages such as energy drinks and chocolate. A mug of tea has around 75mg and a bar of plain chocolate has around 25mg.

Clinical director of Tommy’s National Miscarriage Research Centre Professor Arri Coomarasamy said: ‘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.’ 
Tommy’s midwife Sophie King 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.’ 

Sophie suggests to women in her care to try switching to decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas, fruit juice and water. She adds that using a caffeine calculator, like the one available from Tommy’s can help awareness of consumption levels.
The poll, which was conducted between April to December 2017, was answered by 4100 pregnant women.

Tommy’s caffeine calculator is free to use here.