Women with a family history of alcoholism and a caffeine addiction are least likely to be able to stop using caffeine during pregnancy. That's the finding of a study led by Johns Hopkins University professor Roland Griffiths. He says the study may indicate that caffeine and alcohol addiction have a common genetic basis. "Not surprisingly, the women who had a diagnosis for caffeine dependence had a tougher time," he says. "The women who had both a lifetime diagnosis of caffeine dependence and a first degree relative with alcoholism, were the least able to quite caffeine and in fact, 50% of these women continued to consume caffeine in amounts considered to be unsafe in pregnancy.
Caffeine use during pregnancy has been associated with a variety of adverse consequences, including spontaneous abortion and reduced fetal growth. According to the study, pregnant women are advised to consume less than 300 milligrams per day of caffeine.
Adults in the United States consume about 280 milligrams of caffeine in the three cups of coffee they drink, on average, per day.