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Caffeine During Pregnancy: Good News for Coffee-Drinking Moms

Dec 15, 2015

When you’re pregnant, it seems like everyone has something to say about what you should eat or drink, and it can be stressful trying to listen to all the advice. Giving up coffee is one of those tips that family and friends might give you, but a new study from researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital will make you feel better about your morning cup of coffee as an expectant mother.

The study is one of the first to look at how drinking or eating caffeine while pregnant impacts a child’s future intelligence (IQ) and behaviors later in childhood. Researchers found that women drinking and eating moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy aren’t harming their baby’s IQ or causing behavioral problems.

Researchers examined the main caffeine metabolite in 2,197 pregnant women who took part in a national study called the Collaborative Perinatal Project. They compared those levels to the child’s IQ and behaviors at two different ages. There were no patterns between consuming moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy and the IQ and behaviors of those children at 4 and 7 years old.

The data for this project was collected between 1959 and 1974, a time when more mothers drank coffee while pregnant and less people were concerned with the safety of caffeine, according to researchers. Another recently published study that involved the same group of women from the Collaborative Perinatal Project found that consuming caffeine during pregnancy also did not increase the risk of childhood obesity.

Although too much caffeine can increase your risk of miscarriage, sticking to one or two cups of coffee (200 milligrams) a day hasn’t been shown to be harmful to your unborn baby. If you’re an expectant mom or you know someone who is, rest assured that moderate caffeine intake won’t hurt a child’s IQ, cause behavioral problems or increase a child’s risk of obesity later on in life.

For more information on the research study, read our News Room release.

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.