The UK's food safety watchdog has lowered its maximum daily limit for caffeine intake during pregnancy, following new research.

Pregnant women should not consume more than 200mg of caffeine daily, said the Food Standards Agency (FSA) today (3 November).

New research from the Universities of Leeds and Leicester prompted the FSA to cut the daily limit from the previous 300mg, it said.

Caffeine is present in a range of soft drinks, including cola and energy drinks.

The FSA said: "Too much caffeine might result in a baby having a lower birth weight than it should, which can increase the risk of some health conditions in later life. There is also some evidence which suggests that high levels of caffeine can result in spontaneous miscarriage."

Andrew Wadge, the watchdog's chief scientist, said that pregnant women do not have to avoid caffeine completely and emphasised that the "risks are likely to be very small".

Responding to today's advice, the Food and Drink Federation said: "The Agency's advice shows how pregnant women can consume a variety of products and still be comfortably within the new maximum intake of 200mg of caffeine a day."