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Researchers say women should be told of the risk – particularly if they drink above 300 milligrams a day, or three mugs of instant coffee. Guidance on the NHS website suggests pregnant women should limit their caffeine to 200 milligrams a day.
Study author Prof Alexander Heazell, from the University of Manchester, said: “It’s a relatively small risk, so people shouldn’t be worried about the occasional cup of coffee, but it’s a risk this research suggests many aren’t aware of.”
The study examined data from over 1,000 women.
Fifteen percent of those who had a stillbirth consumed over 300mg a day of caffeine – compared to eight percent who did not have a stillbirth.
It concluded that each increment of 100mg per day was associated with a 27 percent increase in the risk of stillbirth.
The charity Tommy’s, which funds stillbirth research, backed calls for raised awareness.
Chief executive Jane Brewin added: “Eight babies are stillborn every day in the UK, and the reasons often have nothing to do with diet and lifestyle – but there are some things we can do to reduce the risk of this tragedy.”
Caffeine is also found in tea, chocolate, energy drinks, cold and flu remedies and some soft drinks.
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