- Caffeine consumption during pregnancy is an area of ongoing research, but experts continue to say that some amount of caffeine during pregnancy may be safe.
- Data from a recent study revealed that pregnant women who consumed caffeine had smaller children than children conceived by those who did not consume caffeine during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women can follow the advice of healthcare professionals and work closely with their doctor throughout pregnancy, including asking questions about the safety of caffeine consumption.
Recommendations and advice for a healthy pregnancy have changed over the years with the emergence of more data.
One area of interest is how caffeine consumption may impact pregnancy outcomes and child development.
The study found that pregnant women who consumed caffeine had short children in infancy.
Data on caffeine consumption during pregnancy is mixed.
In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that less than 200 milligrams of caffeine during pregnancy is considered safe.
Dr. Monte Swarup, board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and founder of the nutritional supplement company HPD Rx, not involved in the study, said Medical News Today:
“Current recommendations for caffeine consumption are based on research suggesting less than 200 mg or the equivalent of a 12-ounce cup of coffee per day. It is important to note that caffeine consumption may contribute to dizziness , nausea and interrupted sleep.
Board-certified gynecological surgeon Dr. Julia Arnold VanRooyen noted that pregnant women should generally limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg. [per] daytime.
“Women should always discuss any questions and concerns they have with their doctor; their doctor can inform them of existing general guidelines and make specific recommendations for a given patient, based on their unique history,” she said. DTM.
The new study looked at caffeine consumption during pregnancy and its impact on child growth.
The researchers looked at a historical cohort of mothers between 1959 and 1965 and children between 1960 and 1974. They then looked at a more recent cohort of mothers and children between 2009-2013 and 2017-2019.
The researchers measured the concentrations of caffeine and paraxanthine – a metabolite of caffeine – in the pregnant woman’s blood during the first trimester of pregnancy. They then looked at the height of the children up to the age of 8.
The analysis indicated that caffeine consumption during pregnancy was associated with shorter children later in life.
The difference was clear, amounting to a height difference of about 2 centimeters between children whose mothers had caffeine and children whose mothers did not.
Author of the study
“The main takeaway is that even low caffeine exposure during pregnancy was associated with shorter childhood height. There have only been a handful of studies similar to ours, and none hadn’t really assessed height separately from overall BMI.Given previous research, I was a little surprised that we found no association between caffeine exposure during pregnancy and body weight. child, but we found such a consistent association between caffeine and child height even up to 8 years of age.
The full impact of the height differences recorded in the study on the children’s overall health remains unclear.
“There are strong implications demonstrating that maternal caffeine intake of less than 200 mg per day is associated with poorer child growth,” Dr. Swarup said.
“It begins at age 4 and persists until age 8. Implications of height difference require further research.”
Dr Gleason added that a shorter height could lead to other health problems if they persist into adulthood.
“The clinical implications of this work are unclear because the size differences we observed are so small,” she said.
“It would be important to determine whether height differences persist beyond childhood, as shorter height in adulthood has been associated with a higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”
Overall, the study results indicate that caffeine during pregnancy can influence children’s height, but the study had several limitations that need to be considered.
First, there is a risk of confounding factors that the researchers did not take into account, such as other aspects of maternal diet.
“While providing a lot of information, there needs to be more information and research on maternal diet, paternal height and other confounding factors,” Dr. Swarup noted.
Also, because some of the data comes from the historical pregnancy cohort, researchers cannot fully account for historical and societal factors that may have impacted pregnancy.
The study also limited data collection in some areas. For example, in the modern cohort, height measurements of children were only taken at one time.
Dr. Gleason noted that looking at longer-term follow-up would be a useful part of further research.
“It would be important to explore this association between maternal caffeine consumption and child growth later in childhood to see if children eventually ‘catch up’ to height – ideally, by following children through to early 20s after growth stabilizes.Until we have these long-term follow-up data, we cannot determine the clinical implications of shorter height measurements.
– Jessica Gleason, Ph.D., MPH, study author
While waiting for long-term follow-up in this area, pregnant women can still take steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Anyone who is expecting a child can choose to communicate regularly with their doctor and other specialists to decide how to manage caffeine consumption during pregnancy, taking into account the potential risks.