A Review of the Epidemiologic Evidence Concerning the Reproductive Health Effects of Caffeine Consumption: A 2000–2009 Update

Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2010;48:2549-2576

Abstract: This review of human studies of caffeine and reproductive health published between January 2000 and December 2009 serves to update the comprehensive review published by Leviton and Cowan (2002). The adverse reproductive outcomes addressed in this review include: (1) measures of subfecundity; (2) spontaneous abortion; (3) fetal death; (4) preterm birth; (5) congenital malformations; and (6) fetal growth restriction. Methodologic challenges and considerations relevant to investigations of each reproductive endpoint are summarized, followed by a brief critical review of each study. The evidence for an effect of caffeine on reproductive health and fetal development is limited by the inability to rule out plausible alternative explanations for the observed associations, namely confounding by pregnancy symptoms and smoking, and by exposure measurement error. Because of these limitations, the weight of evidence does not support a positive relationship between caffeine consumption and adverse reproductive or perinatal outcomes.

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This work was supported by the ILSI North America Caffeine Working Group.