Risk Of Low Birth Weight

Do you love coffee? A recent study showed that there is a link between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and low birth weight babies as well as a longer gestation.

Coffee during pregnancy

Caffeine junkies, beware -- a new study from Norway has found a link between a mother-to-be’s caffeine intake and lower birth weight babies. They also found that caffeine can increase your gestation … in other words, you will be pregnant longer.

The study

Researchers in Norway studied around 60,000 pregnancies. They collected details on the moms’ nutrition habits and birth details over a 10-year period, including Mom’s smoking habits. Caffeine intake was noted and included coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and other foods containing cocoa.

They discovered that there is a link between caffeine and birth weight, and that difference remained even when the mother’s smoking history was considered. Smoking has long been determined to have a negative effect on a baby’s birth weight, but when non-smoker data was included, the same difference was discovered.

“In this study we found no association between either total caffeine or coffee caffeine and preterm delivery, but we did find an association between caffeine and a baby being small for gestational age at birth (SGA),” said leader of the study, Dr Verena Sengpiel, from Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Sweden. “This association remained even when we looked only at non-smoking mothers which implies that the caffeine itself is also having an effect on birth weight."

On average, for every 100 mg of caffeine consumed, the birth weight went down by 21 to 28 grams and the pregnancy was extended by 5 hours -- unless the caffeine was from coffee, whereby it was extended by 8 hours. For reference, one cup of coffee can contain anywhere from 90 to 200 mg of caffeine.

Give up the bean?

Professionals have urged mothers to keep their daily caffeine consumption to 300 mg or less every day, and while more studies need to be done on birth weight and caffeine, it’s probably not a bad idea to try to curb the habit if you can, just to be on the safe side.

More on pregnancy

Healthy pregnancy: Alternatives to caffeine
How much caffeine is in that coffee ice cream?
The preconception diet: Eating right before pregnancy

Tags: birth weight caffeine during pregnancy

recommended for you