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Prevalence of caffeine consumption is lower during pregnancy compared to before pregnancy, study finds, though increases throughout pregnancy


The findings of a recent study published in Nutrients found that coffee is the main source of caffeine in pregnant women. Consumption of milk chocolate also increases during pregnancy, increasing the risk of compromised weight control and lipid profile. Additionally, higher caffeine intake during pregnancy was correlated with the continuation of harmful habits – such as smoking, an unregulated diet and minimal physical activity.

Study: Caffeine consumption throughout pregnancy and factors associated with non-adherence to recommendations: a cohort study.  Image Credit: Gorloff-KV/Shutterstock
Study: Caffeine consumption throughout pregnancy and factors associated with non-adherence to recommendations: a cohort study. Image Credit: Gorloff-KV/Shutterstock


Caffeine is a psychoactive compound found in coffee, tea, hot chocolate, sodas and energy drinks. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system (CNS) and can help fight fatigue and improve focus and concentration.

Caffeine can freely cross the placenta and is metabolized by the liver (maternal). The fetal liver and placenta, however, lack the enzyme cytochrome P450 (CYP1A2) and therefore cannot process caffeine. Therefore, recommendations suggest that pregnant women consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day, due to the relationship between maternal caffeine intake and stillbirths, low birth weight, and overweight or overweight infants. obese.

Adequate data regarding caffeine consumption during pregnancy and behaviors such as the continuation of harmful habits are lacking. During pregnancy, smoking was correlated with non-compliance with caffeine consumption recommendations. However, the links between prenatal caffeine consumption, the quality of the mother’s diet and other lifestyle factors, such as physical activity or insomnia, remain to be established.

In the present study, caffeine consumption was assessed before and during pregnancy, as well as fluctuations in caffeine intake and variables related to non-compliance with caffeine intake recommendations during pregnancy.

About the study

the presents a prospective cohort study assessing lifestyle factors such as caffeine consumption, smoking, insomnia, physical activity and adherence to the Mediterranean diet (DMA). Here, researchers investigated caffeine consumption and parameters and parameters related to non-compliance with caffeine consumption guidelines in pregnant and non-pregnant women.

In this study, 463 pregnant women completed standard questionnaires assessing caffeine intake and variables related to non-compliance with caffeine intake recommendations. The questionnaires were completed before (T0) and during each trimester (T1, T2 and T3).

Caffeine consumption was assessed before pregnancy (three months before conception), in T1, T2 and T3. The preferred type of caffeinated drink (coffee, tea, cola drinks and energy drinks) and milk and dark chocolates was determined. Multiple logistic regressions were used to determine variables related to non-adherence to caffeine guidelines during each trimester of pregnancy.

The results

The results of this study indicated that the prevalence of caffeine consumption during pregnancy was lower compared to pre-pregnancy statistics. However, the trend seems to increase throughout pregnancy. Meanwhile, caffeine (measured in mg) consumed was higher before pregnancy and tended to decrease throughout pregnancy.

Among the study cohort, six out of a hundred women consumed more caffeine than recommended in early pregnancy. While pre-pregnancy milk chocolate consumption levels (T1, T2, and T3) were the highest. Milk chocolate intakes increased at T2 and T3 compared to before pregnancy; at T1 and T2, the consumption of decaffeinated coffee had a similar prevalence to that of cola drinks, which was also comparable at T3.

All data sources analyzed showed a reduction in intake prevalence at T1. However, at T2 and T3, the consumption of milk chocolate and decaffeinated coffee increased the most compared to T1. Taken together, consumption of coffee, cola drinks, milk chocolate, and decaffeinated coffee contributed the most to daily caffeine intake before and during pregnancy.

Caffeine intake (median, interquartile range) was 100 mg/day (181.1) at T0, 9.42 mg/day (66.2) in the first trimester, 12.5 mg/day (65.6 ) in the second trimester and 14.0 mg/day (61.1) in the third trimester. It should be noted that caffeine consumption was higher in smokers before and during pregnancy. The prevalence of non-adherence to pregnancy-related caffeine recommendations was 6.2% at T1; 4.2% at T2; and 2.7% in Q3.

Additionally, women who engaged in moderate physical activities also adhered to the Mediterranean diet and consumed fewer milligrams of caffeine per day during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Since the study was conducted after the woman became pregnant, there were several limitations, including possible memory bias. Additionally, medications and dietary supplements were not considered when measuring caffeine; caffeinated beverages and snacks were the only items considered.

During the first trimester, only 6.2% of women in this cohort consumed more than 200 mg of caffeine, and this proportion decreased as the pregnancy progressed.


The results showed that high caffeine consumption during pregnancy and low compliance with caffeine consumption recommendations are associated with smoking, non-adherence to a healthy diet and moderate physical activity. Thus, nutrition and lifestyle education guidelines and policies for pregnant women are of the utmost importance.




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