Put down that cup, Moms-to-be. Researchers reporting online in the British Medical Journal have found that even low levels of caffeine consumed during pregnancy increase the risk of having a low birth-weight baby. Among 2,645 women with low-risk pregnancies, those who had 100 mg to 199 mg of caffeine per day (approximately one cup of coffee) increased their risk of having a low birth-weight baby by 20 percent. Those who had 200 mg to 299 mg per day doubled their risk.
All of these women were taking in less caffeine than the 300 mg per day recommended by the United Kingdom’s Food Standards Agency. The March of Dimes recommends no more than 200 mg per day, but researchers involved with this latest study are now saying that pregnant women should cut back to no more than 100 mg per day.