Taking caffeine daily during pregnancy, even in moderate doses, can affect the size of the baby, according to a study


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Women pregnant what do they consume caffeine equivalent to just half a cup of coffee a day on average have babies a little More smalls than those who do not drink caffeinated beverages, according to a study by researchers from the US National Institutes of Health, published in “JAMA Network Open.” The researchers found corresponding reductions in the size and body mass of newborns whose mothers consumed less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (equivalent to two cups of coffee), which is the maximum beyond which risks are believed to increase. for the fetus.

Smaller size at birth is associated with a higher risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes later in life.

‘Until we know more, our results suggest that it could be wise to limit or forgo beverages that contain caffeine during pregnancy, ”recommends research director Dr. Katherine L. Grantz. “It is also a good idea for women to consult their doctors about caffeine consumption during pregnancy,” he adds.

Previous studies have linked high caffeine consumption (more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day) during pregnancy with babies small for their gestational age or at risk of intrauterine growth restriction. However, studies on moderate daily caffeine consumption (200 milligrams or less) during pregnancy have produced mixed results.

The authors of the current study note that much of the previous research did not take into account other factors that could influence the size of the baby at birth, such as the variation in the caffeine content of different drinks and maternal smoking during pregnancy.

For this work, the authors analyzed data on more than 2,000 women of racial and ethnic diversity in 12 clinics that were enrolled between 8 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. The women were non-smokers and did not have any health problems prior to pregnancy. Between weeks 10 and 13 of pregnancy, the women provided a blood sample that was then tested for caffeine and paraxanthin, a compound that is produced when caffeine is broken down in the body. The women also reported their daily consumption of caffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, soda, and energy drinks) periodically during their pregnancies.

Compared to babies born to women with little or no caffeine in their blood, babies whose mothers had the same higher levels of caffeine in the blood at the time of enrollment were an average of 84 grams slimmer at birth, 0.44 centimeters shorter, and had a head circumference 0.28 centimeters smaller.

According to the women’s own estimates of the beverages they drank, those who consumed around 50 milligrams of caffeine per day (equivalent to half a cup of coffee) they had babies 66 grams lighter than babies born to mothers who did not consume caffeine. Similarly, babies born to caffeine users also had a 32-centimeter smaller thigh circumference.

Researchers believe that caffeine causes the blood vessels in the uterus and placenta to contract, which could reduce the blood supply to the fetus and inhibit growth. Similarly, they believe caffeine may alter fetal stress hormones, putting babies at risk for rapid weight gain after birth and obesity, heart disease, and diabetes later in life.

The authors concluded that their findings suggest that even moderate caffeine consumption may be associated with decreased fetal growth.

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