Monday, 21 January 2008

Consumption of caffeine increases risk of miscarriage

A US study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has found that 200mg of caffeine a day - approximately 3 cups of coffee - doubles the risk of miscarriage compared to women who avoid caffeinated products while pregnant. This is in line with other studies which have previously highlighted the risks of caffeine intake.

However, at present the current Food Standards Agency recommendation is an upper limit during pregnancy of 300mg - or four cups of coffee a day.

“As miscarriage is most likely to occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy”, says UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown, who specialises in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy, “I would advise giving up caffeine completely if you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant. Fortunately, as I know from experience, many women go off the taste of caffeine, so giving up caffeine may not seem as hard as you think. However, as caffeine is present in so many foods and drink sources (see table below), if you have trouble giving up or cutting down on caffeinated products seeing a Nutritionist may help. This is particularly relevant if you have a history of miscarriage.”

According to the Foods Standards Agency, 300mg of caffeine is roughly equivalent to:
Four average cups or three average mugs of instant coffee
Three average cups of brewed coffee
Six average cups of tea
Eight cans of regular cola drinks
Four cans of so-called "energy" drinks
400g (eight standard 50g bars) of normal chocolate
Please note that caffeine content in a cup of tea or coffee varies by different brands and brewing methods

To find out more about Nutritional support during or before your pregnancy, contact UrBod Nutritionist Melody Mackeown Dip.ION (mBANT), specialist in pre-conceptual care, fertility and pregnancy care in the city of London, EC2. I have also written a free e-book on how you can improve your diet during your pregnancy, which can be obtained by clicking on my link.