Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy Could Put Baby at Risk for Low Birth Weight

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ByKylie McConville
Feb 2017
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Photo: Veer / The Bump

The latest research suggests that drinking caffeinated drinks during pregnancy will raise your risk of giving birth to baby with a lower birth weight.

Though caffeine has been linked to having adverse effects on pregnant women, a limit has been set on what pregnant would should consume, if they can’t do without a caffeine kick. But, there have been a fair share of conflicting reports from differing health organization as to what pregnant women can safely consume. The World Health Organization recommended a limit of 300 milligrams of caffeine a day (which is about three 8-oz. cups of regularly brewed coffee), while the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended 200 milligrams per day in 2010. The 200 milligram limit, they stated, would not increase the risk of miscarriage or preterm birth.

But this latest study, which was published in the BMC Medicine journal, found that a child lost between three-quarters of an ounce to a full ounce in birth weight for every 100 milligrams of average daily caffeine intake from all sources by the mother. Researchers collected data on nearly 60,000 pregnancies over a 10-year period. And while they did find an association between caffeine and low birth weight, a correlation with caffeine consumption and the risk of preterm birth could not be found.

The study author, Dr. Verena Sengpiel of the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, said that the findings were not definitive because the study was observational — so that correlation (in this case) does not equal cause. What Sengpiel is able to suggest, though, is that women should put their caffeine consumption “on pause” while pregnant, or at least stay below two cups of coffee per day.

Did you drink caffeine during your pregnancy?

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