Intended for healthcare professionals


Coffee and pregnancy

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 22 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:377
  1. Edmund Hey, retired paediatrician (
  1. Braithwaite, West Yorkshire, BD22 6PX

    A moderate reduction in caffeine intake in the second half of pregnancy has no effect on birth weight or length of gestation

    Some like their coffee black, and some like it white, but whether it is wise to drink coffee in pregnancy is not a black and white issue. Many observational studies have suggested that it is unwise to drink coffee (or indeed any drink containing caffeine) during pregnancy. Some papers report that consumption of more than modest amounts of caffeine during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of infertility, birth defects, miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, fetal growth restriction, and cot death. Each such paper has spawned a flurry of further papers reporting a failure to find any such association. One recent review article cited more than 200 papers.1 The problem is that women who drink more coffee than most nearly always differ from other pregnant women in other ways too. They are more likely to smoke, for one thing, which makes it …

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