A study published earlier this month in the British Medical Journal found that caffeine consumption during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of fetal growth restriction.
As a result the Food Standards Agency in the UK has recommended pregnant women consume no more than 200mg caffeine per day.
Here in New Zealand, the advice from the NZ Food Safety Authority is:
“Pregnant women are advised to limit their daily caffeine intake to 200mg a day – roughly two mugs of coffee a day. This is because too much caffeine might result in a baby having a lower birth weight than it should, which can increase the risk of some health conditions in later life. There is also some evidence which suggests that high levels of caffeine can result in spontaneous miscarriage. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, some soft drinks, and certain medicines. Pregnant women who have been following the previous advice, and limiting consumption to below 300mg a day (about three espresso-style coffees), should not be concerned. The risk was already likely to be very low.”
A summary of expert opinion has also been published by the Australian Science Media Centre.