Pregnant women can consume moderate amounts of coffee without harming their child, a new study suggests.
Writing in the journal American Journal of Epidemiology, researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio said moderate caffeine intake won’t negatively impact a child’s intelligence or cause behavioral problems.
“We did not find evidence of an adverse association of maternal pregnancy caffeine consumption with child cognition or behavior at 4 or 7 years of age,” said Mark A. Klebanoff, MD, principal investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
For the study, researchers monitored “a marker of caffeine in the blood” of nearly 2,200 expectant mothers who took part in the Collaborative Perinatal Project, which was conducted from 1959-1974 at various locations in the United States.
During that time frame, coffee consumption during pregnancy was more common than today, researchers said.
Researchers found there were “no consistent patterns between maternal caffeine ingestion and the development and behavior of those children at those points in their lives.”
Caffeine also didn’t appear to cause obesity among the children studied, having found that only 11 percent were considered obese at age 4 and only 7 percent were obese at 7.
“Taken as a whole, we consider our results to be reassuring for pregnant women who consume moderate amounts of caffeine or the equivalent to 1 or 2 cups of coffee per day,” said Sarah Keim, who is also a faculty member at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.