Caffeine in pregnancy tied to childhood weight gain

Caffeine in pregnancy tied to childhood weight gain

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Consuming a lot of caffeine during pregnancy could put your baby at greater risk of becoming overweight, a new study suggests.

Researchers in Norway looked at the caffeine intake of more than 50,000 moms during pregnancy and followed their baby's weight gain from 6 weeks through age 8. They found that the more caffeine women consumed (such as in coffee, tea, chocolate or sodas), the higher their chances were of having a baby who gained excessive weight during childhood, according to the study published in BMJ Open.

The study authors classified low caffeine consumption in pregnancy as less than 50 milligrams a day, or about half a small cup of coffee. Compared to children born to these women, babies born to moms who consumed higher amounts of caffeine during pregnancy showed an increased propensity for weight gain in childhood.

Children at highest risk of excessive weight gain, and of continuing to be overweight or obese at age 8, were those whose moms drank at least 300 milligrams (approximately two 8-ounce cups of coffee) a day. These children were up to 44 percent more likely to gain excessive weight compared to children whose moms were in the low-consumption group, the study found.

The study relied on women self-reporting their caffeine intake at just one point during their pregnancy, so their recollections may not have been entirely accurate. Also, it was an observational study, not a controlled experiment. It doesn't prove that caffeine in pregnancy causes childhood weight gain, only that the two things are associated.

It's not the first time research has linked caffeine consumption in pregnancy to problems, though. Other studies have suggested it could increase the risk of miscarriage and restrict baby's growth in the womb. The researchers for the most recent study suggested caffeine may interfere with areas in a developing baby's brain related to appetite control and metabolism.

Doctors currently recommend drinking no more than 200 milligrams a day, or about one 11-ounce cup of coffee (the exact volume depends on the strength of the coffee. Check out BabyCenter's chart to get a better idea of the amount of caffeine in different food and drink items).

Lead study author Dr. Eleni Papadopoulou told Reuters women might want to avoid coffee and other caffeine sources altogether given that her research suggested even smaller amounts of caffeine in pregnancy could potentially impact children's weight.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: Growing Healthy Babies - Stanford Childrens Health (February 2023).

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