Tommy's PregnancyHub

Check your caffeine intake in pregnancy

It is best to limit your caffeine intake as much as possible during pregnancy, as high levels have been linked to pregnancy complications. Find out your daily caffeine intake with our caffeine calculator.

Limiting caffeine intake during pregnancy is important because consuming high levels has been linked to pregnancy complications, such as low birth weight, miscarriage and stillbirth. The current NHS guidelines recommend that pregnant women should have less than 200mg a day. This is about 2 cups of instant coffee. 

However, new research from our Tommy’s research centres shows that the risk from caffeine increases the more you have. So it’s a good idea to reduce the amount you have as much as possible, to reduce any potential risks. Although this might sound scary, try not to worry as the risk to your baby is still very low.

Calculate your caffeine intake

Caffeine is found in tea and coffee, cola, other soft drinks and chocolate. In pregnancy you should have no more than 200mg a day.

  • A can of cola has around 40mg of caffeine
  • A mug of tea has around 75mg
  • A bar of plain chocolate has around 25mg
  • A cup of instant coffee has around 100mg
  • A mug of filter coffee has around 140mg
  • Energy drinks: a 250ml can has around 80mg.

If you drink sports drinks, check the amount of caffeine in these too. Some now have caffeine added.

It can add up quickly! You will be reaching your limit with, for example:

  • 2 bars of plain chocolate and one mug of filter coffee
  • 2 mugs of tea and one can of cola.

Cutting down on caffeine

Caffeine is found naturally in some foods and drinks, such as tea and coffee. It is also added to some products such as energy drinks.

A recent Tommy’s study has shown that drinking energy drinks, cola and brewed coffee have the strongest links with pregnancy complications. It is best to try to avoid these during pregnancy and find replacements. Energy drinks and cola also contain lots of sugar, so it is good to limit these as part of a healthy diet.

Decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or water are all good choices if you are used to drinking a lot of caffeinated drinks.

Some people use caffeine to get energy if they are tired. To manage any pregnancy tiredness, you can try our tips for getting good night's sleep and make sure you eat a balanced diet with all the calories you need for energy

1. NHS Choices. Caffeine in pregnancy. [accessed 12/03/2018] 

2. EFSA (2015) Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine, European Food Safety Authority https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/4102

Review dates

Last reviewed: 1 August 2016
Next review: 1 August 2019