Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy is Harmful – New Study Shows

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coffee consumption during pregnancy
Image: Peter Griffin (public domain images)

During pregnancy, health experts usually recommend women to stick to a healthy diet that provides all of the essential nutrients in order to avoid potential health complications as well as to ensure a healthy baby in the future. However, a new study has shown that the guidelines regarding caffeine consumption during pregnancy may need to be re-considered.

Generally, drinking coffee and other caffeine-rich beverages are not considered harmful. In pregnant women, doctors prefer to restrict the daily consumption to only two hundred milligrams.

More specifically, no more than two cups of coffee should be added to the diet during the period of pregnancy to avoid any potential harm to the health of the woman and the fetus.

However, new research, which appears in the journal BMJ Evidence-based Medicine, shows that pregnant women may need to cut out caffeine even further from their diets because two hundred milligrams can also damage the health of the fetus.

The research, which was conducted by Jack James from Reykjavik University, stated that having coffee or other caffeine-loaded beverages during pregnancy is inherently harmful and there is no ‘safe amount’ that can be added to the daily intake.

To reach this conclusion, James assessed seventeen meta-analyses and over thirty studies that investigate the potential association between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and high risk of health issues.

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Out of all the examined medical literature, thirty-two studies, and fourteen meta-analyses concluded that there is indeed a link between health issues in pregnancy and consuming any amount of caffeine.

Women who consumed coffee and other caffeinated foods while they were pregnant were seen to have a higher risk of abnormalities at birth including low-weight birth, stillbirth, and even miscarriage.

Even if deliveries were carried out successfully, the babies had very high chances of developing health conditions including obesity and even acute childhood leukemia.

It should be noted that none of the observed participants who developed complications during or after pregnancy consumed a ‘specific’ amount of caffeine. This means that having caffeine while expecting can be harmful regardless of the daily serving and amount.

These findings show that there is a need for reconsidering the current set of guidelines for caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

The author of the new study, Jack James also stated that the existent instructions for pregnant women are misleading primarily due to the International Life Sciences Institute, which approved and published a number of scientific papers that portrayed caffeine as safe for consumption.

Although there is also a need for further investigation on the new suggestions by James, many experts have also previously emphasized the adverse effects of caffeine.

For people who are planning pregnancies or are currently expecting, cutting down on caffeine and instead of adding more nutritious foods in the daily intake is recommended.

However, do not forget to make an appointment and discuss with a certified health professional prior to making any drastic changes in the diet during pregnancy in order to prevent any potential complications that may develop as a result.

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