There are new warnings over drinking tea and coffee during pregnancy

23 November 2018, 13:24 | Updated: 23 November 2018, 15:37

Pregnant women consuming hot drinks
Pregnant women consuming hot drinks. Picture: Getty

New studies have discovered that caffeinated drinks can pose a real threat to a pregnancy.

Tea and coffee drinkers have been warned to cut back on the amount of caffeine they consume during pregnancy after it has emerged that high amounts can increase the risk of a premature or underweight baby.

The safe cutoff amount is 200mg per day, but experts are now warning that even this may be too much to consume.

Ling-Wei Chen, a researcher at University College Dublin in Ireland, explained recent findings, and said: "High caffeine intake can result in restricted blood flow in the placenta which may subsequently affect fetal growth

“Caffeine can also cross the placenta readily, and because caffeine clearance slows as pregnancy progresses, caffeine accumulation may occur in fetal tissues.

READ MORE: Creative mum shares genius hack for keeping her child asleep whilst she has a coffee break

The study looked at 941 mothers and their children born in Ireland, and discovered that for every additional 100mg of caffeine consumed a day, the baby tended to have a 2.5 ounce lower birth weight.

Dr Chen added: "Based on the consistent associations we observed, and because many pregnancies are unplanned, we would recommend women who are pregnant or seeking to become pregnant to at least limit their intakes of caffeinated coffee and tea."

Pregnant woman enjoys a coffee on the train
Pregnant woman enjoys a coffee on the train. Picture: Getty

The study also concluded that it doesn't matter whether the caffeine came from tea or coffee - both carried the same risks as each other.

Typically, one 12-ounce cup of brewed coffee will contain about 200mg of caffeine, whereas tea will often have about 83mg worth in the same sized cup - although this number can vary significantly depending on brand.