Caffeine in pregnancy leads to low birth weight
Pregnant mothers often seek to do everything possible to protect their developing child, including dietary considerations. Some foods carry labels that a product could be dangerous to pregnant mothers – such as energy drinks and alcohol – while others are not recommended while the child is in utero. Now it may be time to add caffeine to the warning list.
Research from the Norwegian Institute for Public Health studied over 60,000 pregnancies over a 10-year period, and concluded that caffeine consumption could be a major factor contributing to low birth weight. Consuming too much caffeine could also increase the length of pregnancy, the study noted.
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day, or roughly two medium cups of coffee. The researchers found that for every 100 mg of caffeine consumed, birth weight was reduced 21 to 28 grams, and the gestational period was increased by 5 hours. Babies who are born small can be at risk for serious short and long-term health problems.
Due to these findings, the study authors recommended that the WHO revise its caffeine recommendations for pregnant women.