#Caffeine linked to small for gestational age (#SGA) babies

Caffeine during pregnancy could be linked to a higher risk of having a smaller baby .

The research, looked at the impact of maternal caffeine consumption on health outcomes of babies in almost 60,000 pregnancies. Researchers found caffeine intake was associated with decreased birth weight (LBW) and an increase chance of the baby being small for gestational age (SGA), which is associated with poorer health and poorer health later in life

The researchers t found that caffeine from all sources – including coffee, tea, soda drinks, as well as food including cocoa-containing cakes and deserts and chocolate – reduced birth weight by up to 28 grams for each 100mg of caffeine consumed each day.

Caffeine intake from different sources was self-reported at gestational weeks 17, 22 and 30 and then analysed against pregnancy results including incidence of spontaneous pre-term delivery, birth weight  and the baby being small for gestational age (SGA).

Researchers found that for a child of expected average weight (3.6kg) each 100mg of caffeine consumed per day equates to between a 21 gram and 28g reduction in birth weight.

The diet during pregnancy is important to a developing embryo and to the health of the child later in life. The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently suggests a limit of 300mg of caffeine per day during pregnancy, however some countries recommend a limit of 200mg.

SGA babies are at higher risk of both short term and lifelong health problems. Based on the results of their study, the team argued that since even 200 to 300mg of caffeine per day can increase the risk of SGA by almost a third, such recommendations need to be re-evaluated.


Source: BMC Medicine.  Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-42 “Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy is associated with birth weight but not with gestational length: results from a large prospective observational cohort study”. Authors: Verena Sengpiel, Elisabeth Elind, Jonas Bacelis, Staffan Nilsson, et al



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