December 22, 1993

Caffeine During Pregnancy: Grounds for Concern?

Author Affiliations

From the School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley.

JAMA. 1993;270(24):2973-2974. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510240085039

Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy? Caffeine, the most widely used psychotropic drug, is consumed by at least 75% of pregnant women via caffeinated beverages.1 In spite of its widespread use, the safety of this habit during pregnancy is unresolved.

See also p 2940.

In the last year, JAMA has published two excellent studies that assessed the safety of caffeine consumption during pregnancy. The conclusions of these studies somewhat conflict. In February, Mills and colleagues,2 in a prospective cohort study of 431 pregnant women, reported that moderate caffeine consumption of less than 300 mg/d (or about three cups of coffee) did not increase the risk for spontaneous abortion (SAB), intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), or microcephaly. Although the heavy consumption group was small and the power limited, caffeine consumption above 300 mg/d did appear to be related to IUGR.3,4 In this issue of JAMA, Infante-Rivard and colleagues5