Limiting your caffeine intake in pregnancy
Limiting how much caffeine you have during pregnancy is important because high levels have been linked to pregnancy complications, such as low birth weight. It has also been linked to miscarriage and stillbirth . The current NHS guidelines recommend that pregnant women should have less than 200mg a day. This is about 2 cups of instant coffee.
However, new research from our Tommy’s research centres shows that the risk from caffeine increases the more you have. So it’s a good idea to reduce the amount you have as much as possible, to reduce any potential risks. Although this might sound scary, try not to worry as the risk to your baby is still very low.
- A can of cola has around 40mg of caffeine
- A mug of tea has around 75mg
- A bar of plain chocolate has around 25mg
- A cup of instant coffee has around 100mg
- A mug of filter coffee has around 140mg
- Energy drinks: a 250ml can has around 80mg.
If you drink sports drinks, remember check the amount of caffeine in these too. Some now have caffeine added.
What does 200mg of caffeine look like?
You will be reaching 200mg of caffeine with, for example:
- 2 bars of plain chocolate and one mug of filter coffee
- 2 mugs of tea and one can of cola.
- Cutting down on caffeine
- Caffeine is found naturally in some foods and drinks, such as tea and coffee. It is also added to some products such as energy drinks.
- One studyfound that energy drinks, instant coffee and cola had the strongest links to pregnancy complications. It is best to try to avoid these during pregnancy and find replacements. Energy drinks and cola also contain lots of sugar, so it is good to limit these as part of a healthy diet.
- Decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or water are all good choices if you are used to drinking a lot of caffeinated drinks.
Caffeine in painkillers
Some painkillers include caffeine, including some types of paracetamol. Tablets that have combined paracetamol and caffeine are not recommended. The patient information leaflet will tell you how much paracetamol and caffeine are in each tablet.