Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world. And at average consumption levels, it is considered to be good for your health – or at least not bad for your health. However, emerging evidence suggests that consuming caffeine during pregnancy may be bad for the baby.
The latest study by The Conversation adds to that evidence.
They say they wanted to know if there is a link between maternal caffeine intake and negative birth outcomes in a population where tea is the main caffeine source. To do so, they used data from an Irish cohort study. The data, on about 1,000 Irish women, provided with the usual dietary intakes of caffeinated products during early pregnancy. The researchers matched those with hospital records of the women’s newborns to get information on the birth size and gestational age at birth.
Tea was the predominant caffeine source (48%) followed by coffee (39%). The analysis, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed a consistent link between both coffee and tea caffeine and adverse birth outcomes. In the highest caffeine consumption group, the risks of delivering babies with abnormally low birth weight or short gestational age at birth were about two times higher. The results were similar regardless of the caffeine source.