Caffeine Consumption and Pregnancy (the Truth)

The findings from a recent study into the effects of caffeine consumption on in utero children may put some pregnant coffee drinking women at ease. The study is one of the first to look at how IQ levels and behavioral problems are affected in children born to mothers who drink moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy. Results suggest that a child’s future intelligence was not diminished by the mother’s drinking of caffeine, nor were behavioral problems more likely.

The study was large and was designed to analyze a specific biomarker in the blood of 2,197 pregnant participants from a past study concerned with a different subject conducted in the United States between 1959 and 1974. The benefit of using the data from this earlier study was that during this time more women consumed coffee during pregnancy because there was little apprehension about its health effects at the time. Today it wold be difficult to find participcants willing to possibly endanger their children in that way.

When caffeine is metabolized in the body it produces another chemical in the bloodstream known as paraxanthine. The levels of paraxanthine in the blood were measured at two points during pregnancy in the participants in the past study. The newer study took these figures and compared them to the resulting child’s IQ and behavior both age 4 and 7. Results suggested no relevant pattern between the mother’s caffeine consumption and how their children’s intelligence and behavior developed later on. 

This new data is similar to another study which examined the relationship between how much caffeine pregnant mothers ingest and the effects on their children. However, this research was in the context of child obesity. The findings revealed that caffeine consumption did not increase the risk of childhood obesity. 

For modern moms-to-be, this means they can safely indulge in enjoying caffeinated drinks. The authors of the study consider the equivalent amount of about one to two cups of coffee daily to be safe for pregnant women. This may come as a relief to many women who famously undergo many biochemical changes while pregnant and may not want to add caffeine withdrawal to the list of symptoms they have to contend with.

Coffee consumption has been news of late due to the findings of another recent study linking it to increased overall health. The research showed that for those who made coffee drinking a habit, the likelihood of death from a number of natural factors was decreased.

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