No Link Between Moderate Caffeine Consumption and Miscarriage

July 21, 2010

Washington, DC -- Pregnant women can ease their minds about drinking a cup of coffee or having a soft drink—moderate caffeine consumption doesn't appear to cause miscarriage or preterm birth, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. However, The College says it remains unclear whether high levels of caffeine consumption have any link to miscarriage, according to its Committee Opinion published in the August Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"For years, women have been getting mixed messages about whether or not they should have any caffeine during pregnancy," said William H. Barth, Jr, MD, chair of the Committee on Obstetric Practice. "After a review of the scientific evidence to date, daily moderate caffeine consumption doesn't appear to have any major impact in causing miscarriage or preterm birth."

Moderate caffeine consumption is considered less than 200 mg of caffeine per day. In practical terms, this equates to about 12 ounces of coffee. Caffeinated tea and most soft drinks have much less caffeine (less than 50 mg), as do the average chocolate candy bars (less than 35 mg). High levels of caffeine intake would be considered daily consumption of over 200 mg of caffeine.

The Committee on Obstetric Practice, which issued the new Committee Opinion "Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy," also reviewed the scientific evidence related to caffeine's effect on fetal growth. It found no clear evidence showing that caffeine increases the risk of restricting fetal growth.

When asked what this means for pregnant women, Dr. Barth said, "Given the evidence, we should reassure our pregnant patients and let them know that it's OK to have a cup of coffee."

Committee Opinion #462, "Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy," is published in the August 2010 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation's leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of approximately 55,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women's health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization.

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