Pregnancy Home > Caffeine and Pregnancy

Early studies appeared to show a harmful link between pregnancy and caffeine, but these studies didn't consider other factors, such as tobacco and alcohol consumption or the age of the mother. Extensive studies since then have determined that, in moderate amounts, caffeine is safe for women who are trying to get pregnant. Expectant women and nursing mothers may still want to avoid caffeine, however, since it can cause the baby to become agitated.

Caffeine and Pregnancy: An Overview

Numerous studies have examined the effects of caffeine intake on fertility and pregnancy. Most studies found that moderate caffeine intake does not affect fertility or increase the chance of having a miscarriage or a baby with birth defects; some studies did find a relationship between caffeine intake and fertility or miscarriages. However, most of those studies were judged to be inadequate because they did not consider other lifestyle factors that could contribute to infertility or miscarriages.
The Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS) stated that there is no evidence that caffeine causes birth defects in humans. Groups such as OTIS and Motherisk agree that low caffeine intake (less than 150 mg/day or 1½ cups of coffee) will not likely increase a woman's chance of having a miscarriage or a baby with a low birth weight.
Motherisk recommends that caffeine intake by expecting women not exceed 150 mg/day, whereas OTIS stated that moderate caffeine intake of 300 mg/day (equivalent to about 3 cups of coffee) does not seem to reduce fertility in women or increase the chances of having a child with birth defects or other problems.
Caffeine can enter breast milk, and high amounts can cause the baby to become wakeful and agitated. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that nursing women limit caffeine intake, but states that no harm is likely to occur in a nursing child whose mother drinks one cup of coffee a day. OTIS recommends that pregnant and nursing women drink plenty of water, milk, and juice, and not substitute those fluids with caffeinated beverages.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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