Caffeine may not increase preterm birth risk

September 28, 2010 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Caffeine may not increase preterm birth risk
A new analysis adds to evidence that pregnant women can have a morning cup of coffee without fearing they will raise their risk of preterm delivery.

Combining the results of 22 previous studies, researchers found no evidence that pregnant women who downed the most caffeine, equivalent to three to four cups of coffee per day, had a higher risk of preterm birth than women who avoided caffeine throughout pregnancy.

Nor did they find any link between the amount of coffee the women drank and their odds of an early delivery.

Earlier this year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued a statement saying that pregnant women who consume up to 200 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per day, about the amount in two 8-ounce cups of coffee, are unlikely to raise their odds of miscarriage or preterm delivery.

However, the group also cautions that there are other reasons pregnant women may opt to avoid caffeine.

Some research, for example, has found an association between maternal caffeine intake and low birth weight.

Although such studies do not prove that caffeine is the cause, pregnant women may want to err on the side of caution and limit their intake.

The latest findings do not mean that caffeine is entirely "safe" for pregnant women. But they do add to evidence to suggest that caffeine, at least in moderate amounts, does not contribute to preterm births.

For more information on healthy eating before, during and after pregnancy, pick up Leslie Beck's Nutrition Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.