A healthy diet providing a range of nutrients is important at all times of life, but especially during pregnancy. Maternal nutritional status at the time of conception is an important determinant of fetal growth and development, therefore a healthy balanced diet prior to and during pregnancy is important.
Coffee can be part of a healthy balanced diet in pregnancy, however women should follow guidelines on recommended levels of caffeine intake, which vary across Europe.
Coffee, caffeine and pregnancy
- The onset of nausea, vomiting and appetite loss in early pregnancy can often result in a spontaneous reduction in coffee and, as a result, caffeine consumption1.
- Women with healthy pregnancies may have a higher level of circulating hormones, provoking a stronger avoidance of caffeine in early pregnancy than those women who later miscarry.
- Lower caffeine consumption may be a consequence of pregnancy viability as opposed to a higher caffeine intake being related to any reproductive complication.
- There is no strong scientific evidence to suggest that consuming a moderate amount of caffeine (200-300mg/day from all sources, not simply coffee*) increases the risk of any reproductive or perinatal complication1,2.
- The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in their Opinion on Caffeine advised that pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200mg per day from all sources.
- A 2014 meta-analysis concludes that there is insufficient evidence to support further reductions in the maximum recommended intake of caffeine, but maintenance of current recommendations is a wise precaution3.
* A regular cup of coffee contains approximately 80-85mg of caffeine.
- Peck J D et al. (2010) A review of the epidemiologic evidence concerning the reproductive health effects of caffeine consumption: a 2000-2009 update. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 48: 2549-76
- Brent R.L. et al. (2011) Evaluation of the reproductive and developmental risks of caffeine. Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology, 92 (2):152-187
- Greenwood D.C. et al. (2014) Caffeine intake during pregnancy and adverse birth outcomes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. European Journal of Epidemiology, published online ahead of print.