Intended for healthcare professionals


Caffeine intake during pregnancy

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 03 November 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2316
  1. Jørn Olsen, professor1,
  2. Bodil Hammer Bech, assistant professor2
  1. 1UCLA School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Box 951772, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, USA
  2. 2Institute of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
  1. jo{at}

    Should be minimised, but not replaced with unhealthy alternatives

    In the linked cohort study (doi:10.1136/bmj.a2332), the CARE Study Group reports that consuming caffeine during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of fetal growth restriction.1 For 100-199 mg caffeine a day the odds ratio was 1.2 (95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 1.6), for 200-299 mg a day it was 1.4 (1.0 to 2.0), and for over 300 mg a day it was 1.5 (1.1 to 2.1).

    Coffee and tea contain a variety of chemical compounds, but most of the health concerns relate to caffeine. One cup of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine and a cup of tea about half of this amount; the exact amount varies according to cup size, brewing methods, and brands of coffee or tea.2 Caffeine is also present in cola, chocolate, cocoa, and some drugs. Most of the caffeine that adults consume comes from coffee,3 but in the present study 60% of the caffeine that pregnant …

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