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Drinking caffeine during pregnancy 'linked to a heightened risk of stillbirth'

Drinking caffeine during pregnancy has been linked to a heightened risk of stillbirth in a new study.

Researchers have said that people should be informed of the risk, particularly if they drink above 300 milligrams a day – which is the equivalent of three mugs of instant coffee.

It is already known that caffeine should be limited during pregnancy, and guidance on the NHS website suggests pregnant women shouldn’t consume more than 200 milligrams a day.

But the study authors said said that the more women can ‘cut down beyond that the better.’

It’s important to note that caffeine isn’t only found in coffee. You could be inadvertently going beyond the limit by consuming other things as well.

Caffeine is found naturally in some foods and drinks, such as tea and chocolate. It is also added to some energy drinks, cold and flu remedies and some soft drinks.

The new study, conducted by researchers from Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester, examined data from 290 women who lost their babies after 28 weeks gestation across 41 maternity units across the UK between 2014 and 2016.

This was compared to 729 women with an ongoing pregnancy.

Overall, more than half of the women surveyed reduced caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

Researchers found that 15% of women who had a stillbirth consumed more caffeine than the World Health Organisation’s recommended upper limit of 300mg a day – compared to 8% of women who did not have a stillbirth.

They concluded that each added 100mg per day of caffeine was associated with a 27% increase in the risk of stillbirth.

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