Coffee and pregnancy
Many studies have shown that moderate coffee consumption whilst trying to conceive, pregnant or breast feeding is perfectly safe.
There has been a great deal of coffee health media coverage recently surrounding caffeine consumption during pregnancy. To find out the latest information from the Food Standards Agency visit:
The current FSA guidance recommends 200mg of caffeine per day as a safe upper limit.
This is equivalent to:
Coffee and conception
There is no conclusive evidence that moderate coffee consumption is associated with delayed conception.
A study of 11,000 pregnant Danish women showed no link between caffeine consumption and conception time.2In a further study of 2,817 women, average time to conception was no different in women who consumed more than 7g caffeine per month than in those who did not.3
The hypothesis that those who consumed an amount of caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee were less likely to conceive than those who consumed smaller amounts was originally supported by a study of 104 women published in 1988.4However, a comprehensive review, published in 2002, of studies suggesting a link between moderate caffeine consumption and risk of reproductive hazards concluded that “no convincing evidence has been presented to show that caffeine consumption increases the risk of any reproductive adversity”.5
Coffee and pregnancy
There is no significant association between moderate coffee intake of up to 2 cups per day and low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, short gestation or congenital malfunction.5
Available evidence is not consistent with the idea that caffeine consumption increases the risk of spontaneous abortion. The association between caffeine consumption and spontaneous abortion could be attributed to the complication raised by Stein and Susser.6
In early pregnancy, many women find a reduced desire for coffee and other strongly flavoured drinks. Stein and Susser believe this is caused by a surge of hormones from the placenta. Therefore, caffeine consumption in early pregnancy could be a marker for low hormone production signifying a vulnerable pregnancy.
Coffee and breastfeeding
Several studies of caffeine secretion into human breast milk have been published 7-12. Although caffeine has been found in breast milk the concentrations were not great enough to have pharmacological effects 10. Any effect on the baby should be monitored and caffeine consumption adjusted.
- Food Standards Agency Website ‘When You’re Pregnant’ at: http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/agesandstages/pregnancy/whenyrpregnant/
- Olsen, J. American Journal of Epidemiology, 133, 734-739, 1991.
- Joesoef, C.R and Wilcox, A.J. Lancet, 335, 136-137. 1990.
- Wilcox, A. et al. Lancet, 2, 1453-1455, 1988
- Leviton, A and Cowan, L. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 40, 1271-1310. 2002.
- Stein, Z. and Susser, M. Epidemiology, 2, 163-167, 1991.
- Berlin, C.M. Seminars in Perinatology, 5, 389-394, 1981.
- Tyrala, E.E. and Dodson, W.E. Archives of Diseases in Childhood, 54, 787-800, 1979.
- Hildebrandt, R. and Gundert-Remy, U. Pediatric Pharmacology, 3, 237-244, 1983.
- Berlin, C.M. et al. Pediatrics, 73, 59-63, 1984.
- Ryu, J.E. Developmental Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 8, 329-337, 1985.
- Ryu, J.E. Developmental Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 8, 355-363, 1985.