Mums-to-be reduce your cuppas!

Reduce your coffee intake

Reduce your coffee intakePregnant women have been told to limit the amount of caffeine they drink.

New research by Leicester and Leeds University published in the British Medical Journal advises pregnant women to drink no more than 200 milligrammes of caffeine a day.

Caffeine can be found in tea, coffee, cola, energy drinks and chocolate. There are concerns that too much caffeine could increase a woman’s risk of miscarriage and result in a baby being born with a low birth weight.

Babies who are of lower birth weight are more likely to have illnesses and problems in the newborn period. In the UK we class low birth weight as less than about five and a half pounds.

Fiona Ford from the Centre of Pregnancy Nutrition at Sheffield University admitted that the guidelines can be confusing. She said: “It appears there is something different coming out every week at the moment so it is confusing but the advice isn’t very different to the previous advice. The amount of caffeine that’s recommended is being reduced by about two thirds and this is because it’s been shown in this study to possibly have an effect on birth weight by reducing it,”

In the UK women get the majority of their caffeine from drinking cups of tea. Ms. Ford said most women don’t drink more than 200mgs of caffeine anyway and said: “They really go off some of these foods so for most women there really is nothing to worry about. Caffeine does vary, it depends how strong you have your coffee or tea. It depends whether it’s instant coffee or filtered coffee and there are lots of variables. Different women handle caffeine in different ways and for some women they could have more caffeine than this and have little concern.”

On its website The British Coffee Association writes: “Experts, such as the Food Standards Agency, The Centre for Pregnancy Nutrition and The Royal College of Midwives, are agreed that drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day is safe during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.”

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