Many pregnant women are over-consuming caffeine

A poll by Tommy's has found that 61% of women would reduce the amount of caffeine they consume after being made aware of how much caffeine there is in daily items.

A graphic of a pregnant women sat on a chair balancing caffeinated items on her bump

Over-consumption of caffeine (more than 200mg daily) is linked to miscarriage, low birth-weight and fetal growth restriction, but many women are unaware what 200mg represents in real life. 

  • Caffeine is ‘hidden’ in many products including chocolate and energy drinks
  • Tommy’s caffeine calculator helps women track their consumption

Since 2008 the Food Safety Authority (FSA) has recommended 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.

A poll of 4,100 pregnant women conducted by Tommy’s showed that 61% would reduce their caffeine consumption habits after being made aware of how much caffeine there is in daily items.

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

“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.” Professor Arri Coomarasamy, Clinical Director of Tommy’s National Miscarriage Research Centre

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.

“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.” Sophie King, Tommy’s midwife

 ‘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.’ Clio, a mum expecting her third baby

NOTES TO EDITORS:

For more information or to request an interview with Professor Arri Coomarasamy or Sophie King please contact the Tommy's press office on 0207 398 3436 or email [email protected] 

Tommy’s is the largest pregnancy and baby charity in the UK. We fund research into pregnancy problems and provide pregnancy health information to parents-to-be. We believe it is unacceptable that one in four women lose a baby during pregnancy and birth. With four research centres across the UK investigating the causes of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, we lead the way in maternal and fetal research in the UK.

Our pregnancy health information is provided through the midwife-led Tommy’s Pregnancy Health Service, which includes our comprehensive pregnancy information website, our Tommy’s Midwives facebook page and our free Midwives helpline, the PregnancyLine. We believe every pregnancy should have a happy ending and that every baby should have the best chance of being born healthy.

www.tommys.org

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