Caffeine while pregnant, is it ok?
A new study from the University of Gothenburg in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health sheds some light on the effects of caffeine on pregnant women:
Expectant mothers who consume caffeine, usually by drinking coffee, are more likely to have babies with lower birth weight than anticipated, given their gestational age.
This actually isn’t new information as the correlation has been seen in other studies, but this one is unique in that it worked with 59,000 women.
“The correlation between intake of caffeine and fetal growth was established even among women who followed the official recommendation that they limit caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams a day (two cups of coffee),” researcher Verena Sengpiel says.
The medical term used in this connection is “small for gestational age” (SGA), which is associated with an elevated risk of morbidity and death.
The problem is that while they can definitely see a correlation, they don’t know if or why caffeine is the cause.
“We need to stress that our study did not examine whether caffeine is the specific mechanism substance by which responsible for the fetus is being at greater risk of low birth weight,” Ms. Sengpiel says. “Nor did we look at whether these babies actually had special health problems during the neonatal period. Additional research is needed before we can say for sure what our finding actually means for pregnant women and their babies.”
So cutting out caffeine entirely might be a bit hasty, but it’s definitely something to consider for pregnant women.