Caffeine during pregnancies linked to underweight babies

New research regarding caffeine consumption for expecting mothers says to cut it from your diet

New research regarding caffeine consumption for expecting mothers says to cut it from your diet all together if possible

A research study completed by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health on nearly 60,000 pregnant women has linked the consumption of even small amounts of caffeine to the birth of underweight babies.

Although the majority of women in the study consumed their caffeine in coffee, dosages in tea and chocolate also showed the same links to being small for gestational age (SGA).

The British Foods Standard Agency states that women during their pregnancies should consume no more than 300mg of caffeine on a daily basis, with an average cup of ground coffee being ~100mg (Some can be as strong as 200mg though). Instant coffee had half the amount of caffeine as the ground coffees they measured, at only 54mg.

New caffeine research for expecting mothers

One cup of ground coffee could contain over 60% of an expecting mothers caffeine dosage according to British guidelines

One cup of ground coffee could contain over 60% of an expecting mothers caffeine dosage for the day according to British guidelines. Norwegian research says mothers should cut it out completely.

However the recent study by the Norwegian institute, found that the chance of babies being born smaller than expected was linked to any quantity of caffeine consumed, not limited to amounts exceeding 300mg.

This correlation between caffeine and abnormalities during pregnancy for mother or baby have been suggested before, although never statistically linked with the same level of confidence that this study specifically implies.

The study went on to state that consuming between 200-300mg of caffeine a day increased the likelihood of a baby being born small for their gestation age (SGA) by 30-60%. Interpolated to actual weights, an average expected birth weight of 3.6kg lost a surprising 21-28g for every 100mg of caffeine the mother consumed.

Current caffeine guidelines not safe enough?

Researcher Dr Verena Sengpiel said the current governmental caffeine limits might not be low enough to protect babies. “We don’t find any threshold limit. From the first milligram of caffeine there’s an increased rate of SGA,” Sengpiel said. “If women want to be cautious and don’t have any problems with giving up caffeine, they should try to quit. Otherwise, stick to the guidelines and limit your intake”.

Although the British Foods Standard Agency have not yet modified existing guidelines based on this new research, expecting mothers should consult their GP for the latest advice if they have any concerns about their caffeine consumption or diets.

The advice from the Norwegians seems to be, if possible, cut out caffeine from your day to day life until after the baby is born.

The full study can be accessed at the BMC Medicine website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *