Some Coffee OK Late in Pregnancy
Caffeine and Pregnancy May Mix -- Danish Study Shows No Impact on Preterm Delivery, Birth Weight
Caffeine vs. Decaf
The average birth weight of babies born to the women in the lower caffeine
group was 7.75 pounds, compared to 7.8 pounds for babies born to women who
consumed more caffeine.
In the caffeinated group, 4.2% of infants were born prematurely and 4.5%
were small for their gestational age, vs. a premature and underweight birth
rate of 5.2% and 4.7%, respectively, in the decaffeinated group.
None of those differences reached statistical significance, meaning the
differences could have been due to chance.
The Danish group's findings appear in the Jan. 26 issue of BMJ
While the researchers found no evidence that caffeine influences outcomes
late in pregnancy, concerns about its impact early in pregnancy and even before
Drinking five or more cups of coffee a day was found to double a pregnant
woman’s risk of having a miscarriage in a Swedish study reported in 2000. There
have also been suggestions that caffeine can lower fertility.
The March of Dimes, a group that works to prevent birth defects, recommends
that pregnant women drink no more than two 8-ounce cups of coffee a day, and
that they watch their intake of caffeinated tea, colas, and chocolate.
March of Dimes Deputy Medical Director Diane Ashton, MD, MPH, says pregnant
women should limit their caffeine consumption as much as possible.
“If you can avoid caffeine altogether, that is probably ideal,” she tells
“One or two cups of coffee a day probably won’t pose a problem for most
women," Ashton says. "But a woman who has had recurrent pregnancy
losses or who is having problems becoming pregnant might want to consider a