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11th Jan 2019

Pregnant women may soon be told to avoid tea over this new research


Anna O'Rourke

Cutting back on your coffee intake while you’re pregnant is hard enough but now mums-to-be may be warned off tea too.

Yes, you might live for your morning cuppa but scientists are concerned about the level of caffeine in tea.

Drinking high levels of tea has been linked to lower birth weights in newborn babies in a new study.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland recommends an intake of no more than 200mg of caffeine a day.

A cup of tea contains 33mg, meaning you can technically drink six before hitting your limit for caffeine.

But, as researchers at UCD have found, drinking even less than this can be detrimental.

The team there surveyed 1,000 mums on their caffeine consumption during the early stages of their pregnancies.

Tea was the most prominent caffeine source for the women in the study.

Pregnant women may soon be advised to avoid tea over this new research

They then looked at their babies’ birth weights and gestational ages.

“In the highest caffeine consumption group, the risks of delivering babies with abnormally low birth weight or short gestational age at birth were about two times higher,” researcher Dr Ling-Wei Chen wrote on The Conversation

“The results were similar regardless of the caffeine source.”

Dr Chen notes that high caffeine intake in pregnancy has previously been linked to a lower IQ.

This research can’t prove that drinking tea in pregnancy harms babies, he acknowledged, only that it is linked with lower birth weights and shorter gestational ages.

Dr Chen advised that women who are trying for a baby or are in the early stages of pregnancy should limit their caffeine intake and bear in mind that tea has more caffeine than many people realise.