New research suggests that drinking coffee while pregnant can boost the newborn’s risk of weight gain years later. The study found that any caffeinated beverage can have this effect on the child.
Researchers, though, underlined that caffeine can only add an extra pound (0.453 kg) to the child’s weight by the time they are 8 years old. The bad news is that the children whose mothers abused coffee during pregnancy had a 66% higher risk of becoming overweight.
Lead author Eleni Papadopoulou advises pregnant women to consume up to 200 mg of caffeine per day, or up to two cups of coffee. Papadopoulou warned that in some cases even women who consumed less than 200 mg of caffeine had overweight children.
Study authors admitted that their research does not prove a cause-and-effect link. However, the findings do suggest that women should limit or renounce caffeine intake during pregnancy.
Researchers warn that caffeine is not present only in coffee. Coke, energy drinks, candies, and some teas also contain caffeine. Many of the study participants got their caffeine intake from candy or soda.
Caffeine Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy
Dr. Papadopoulou noted that the research has not found a safe limit for caffeine consumption for moms-to-be. However, the study suggests, just like other past studies, that staying away from caffeine while pregnant is advisable.
The study involved 51,000 pregnant women. The participants were asked about their caffeine consumption while pregnant. An average coffee drinker boosted their child’s risk of excess weight by 15%. Heavy coffee drinkers boosted that risk 30% or more.
Also, children who were exposed to caffeine before they were born had a higher risk of being fat by the ages of 3 and 5. At age 8, the excess weight was there only if the mother had consumed high amounts of caffeine during pregnancy.
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