Two daily cups of coffee during pregnancy are safe for children, according to a new research paper published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy doesn’t affect children’s IQ or behavior. It is commonly held that coffee consumption during pregnancy may affect newborns and their later development. However, that is not the case.
To reach the conclusion that two daily cups of coffee during pregnancy are safe for children, researchers with the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ohio conducted an analysis on data collected from over 2,000 pregnant women through the Collaborative Perinatal Project between 1959 and 1974.
Specifically, the team led by Mark A. Klebanoff and Sara A. Keim looked at paraxanthine levels with the pregnant women, measured at two points throughout their pregnancies. In the body caffeine is assimilated and broken down into several compounds, of which paraxanthine is one. At the same time, paraxanthine levels and catecholamine levels are indicative of the stress levels expecting mothers are experiencing.
Children’s IQ and cognitive behavior were also analyzed at two points in time. Once, at the age of 4 and a second time at the age of 7. The research team did not find any links between coffee consumption during pregnancy and any issues with the children’s IQ or cognitive behavior.
This study is among the few to conduct an in-depth analysis on the matter. The welcome finding addresses concerns of many pregnant women who are, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, afraid that caffeine could cross the placenta barrier and spike catecholamine levels in the blood. This alone is a preterm birth trigger related to maternal stress.
However, previous studies have also suggested that moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy is safe for children, without any negative effects on the children’s IQ or cognitive behavior.
While 200mg of caffeine daily are considered safe during pregnancy, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns that the effect of larger doses of caffeine on pregnant women and children is still understudied and remains unclear.
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