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Ask the expert: Are there any dangers in women drinking coffee while pregnant?

Many women don't realise that caffeine can be dangerous to foetuses and it's contained in more products than you might realise

Q: I'M PREGNANT, but if I drink too much coffee could it harm my baby? If so, how much is too much?

A: Midwife Sophie King, from the pregnancy and baby charity Tommy's, says: "We all know caffeine is found in coffee and tea, but many of us don't realise it's hidden in lots of other things, such as chocolate and energy drinks. A mug of tea has around 75mg and a bar of plain chocolate has around 25mg.

"Too much caffeine can be dangerous to a pregnant mum and her unborn baby, and babies of pregnant women who consume over 200mg of caffeine per day are at an increased risk of foetal growth restriction, which could result in low birth weight, or even miscarriage.

"At Tommy's, we talk to mums all the time about caffeine consumption, and now have a Caffeine Calculator on our website which can help women keep track of how much they're consuming within a safe limit.

"The Food Safety Authority recommends pregnant women keep their caffeine intake to under 200mg a day – but evidence from Tommy's shows women don't know what 200mg of caffeine represents and are over-consuming.

"However, a poll of 4,100 pregnant women conducted by Tommy's showed that 61 per cent would reduce their caffeine consumption habits after being made aware of how much caffeine there is in daily items.

"Caffeine consumption can add up so quickly – two cups of coffee and a bar of chocolate would have enough caffeine to be over the recommended limit while pregnant.

"We advise pregnant women to try switching to decaffeinated coffee, herbal teas, fruit juice and water. Don't worry if you have in the past gone over the 200mg limit, but using a caffeine calculator now can help you be more aware of your consumption and to cut down if you need to."

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