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Pregnant women should avoid caffeine at all costs, study suggests

Researchers say consuming caffeine during pregnancy could lead to complications

Photo (c) morrowlight - Getty Images
Consumers continue to increase their caffeinated beverage consumption. Although there have been benefits associated with drinking caffeine, it can be difficult to know how much is too much

While research varies when it comes to your everyday consumers, researchers have determined that the popular beverage ingredient can increase the risk of several complications in pregnant women.

“The substantial majority finding from observational studies and meta-analyses is that maternal caffeine consumption is reliably associated with major negative pregnancy outcomes,” the researchers wrote. “Consequently, current evidence does not support health advice that assumes ‘moderate’ caffeine consumption during pregnancy is safe.” 

Ditching the morning coffee during pregnancy

The researchers analyzed nearly 50 earlier studies, all of which looked at pregnancy outcomes when women consumed caffeine. The overwhelming takeaway from all of these assessments was that drinking caffeine during pregnancy can lead to adverse outcomes. 

The researchers learned that caffeine can increase health risks for both mothers and babies, even in the smallest doses. When it came to pregnancy-related issues, the study revealed that caffeine intake can be linked to stillbirth, miscarriage, or premature delivery, while infants can experience a low birth weight, childhood obesity, or childhood leukemia. 

These findings are consistent with the findings of another recent study, which found that high levels of caffeine can be bad for newborns’ growth and development. Similarly, the researchers of that study said they don’t believe any level of caffeine is free of side effects, and their analysis revealed complications occurred regardless of how much caffeine was consumed during pregnancy. 

Moving forward, the researchers hope that recommendations regarding caffeine consumption during pregnancy change to ensure that women have the healthiest pregnancies possible. Despite the health benefits associated with caffeine, this study emphasized the importance of steering clear of caffeine during pregnancy. 

“Specifically, the cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine,” said researcher Jack James. 

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