Caffeine Linked to Low Birth Weight

A 10-year study of 59,000 pregnancies concludes that caffeine intake equal to a few as two cups of coffee a day inhibits fetal growth.

The Norwegian Institute for Public Health considered all sources of caffeine including coffee, tea, soda and foods such as chocolate desserts and candy in assessing the birth weight of infants.Norwegian Institute Public Health- Caffeine

The study was designed to reveal whether smoking and caffeine increased the risks of both preterm delivery and whether babies would be small for their gestational age (SGA) at birth, according lead researcher Dr. Verena Sengpiel, at Sahlgrenska Academy Hospital at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

“The correlation between intake of caffeine and fetal growth was established even among women who followed the official recommendation that they limit caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams a day (two cups of coffee),” according to Sengpiel.

“Although caffeine consumption is strongly correlated with smoking which is known to increase the risk for both preterm delivery and the baby being small for gestational age at birth (SGA). 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 SGA. 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.”

SGA babies face short term and a higher risk of lifelong health problems.

Sources: Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Science Daily