A recent study reports that whenwomen consume caffeine
during pregnancy, their children need not carry anyincreased risk for
behavioral problems later in life.
Coffee has been
getting a lot ofattention recently. Some studies say that it promotes heart health,
whileothers say it reduces a person's risk for diabetes. The recent study is
onemore feather to coffee's cap.
In a study conducted
on more than3,400 mothers, the researchers couldfind no evidence to suggest
that maternal caffeine intake during pregnancycontributed to their children's
Study author Eva
Loomans, fromTilburg University, Netherlands, points out that children of
mothers who drankaround three cups of coffee a day, did not harbor greater risk
of sufferingfrom behavior related problems, compared to those children whose
mothers didnot drink coffee.
However, she added
that thisdidn't mean that caffeine might not be harmful as they did not
consider anyother developmental issues in children, besides problematic behavior,
whileconducting this study. For the time being, Loomans suggests that all
pregnantwomen follow the advice given by their doctors.
According to the NHS, pregnant women must avoid having more
than200mg of caffeine per day, in other words, they must restrict themselves
to12oz cup of coffee.
So far, there is very
littleevidence to suggest if a mother's caffeine intake could actually affect
herchild's development. However, animal research has suggested that caffeine
canimpair fetal brain development in a manner that is capable of altering
theirbehavior later on life.
Therecent study was
conducted to understand the effect of coffee on the offsprings of women who
consumed coffee during pregnancy. 3,439 mothers were madeto fill detailed
questionnaires regarding lifestyle and other factors relatedto their pregnancy.
A follow-up was conducted when the children were the fiveor six years old,
during which time both mothers and teachers were surveyedabout the children's
behavioral and emotional health.
Thereappeared to be
no connection between maternal caffeine intake and the risk
forhyperactivity/inattention problems, emotional symptoms, conduct problems,
peerrelationship problems, overall problem behavior, or suboptimal
prosocialbehavior in the children of mothers studied. However, children of
mothers who consumed lots of caffeine and smokedduring pregnancy did exhibit
there is still a lot left to be elucidated about caffeine and itseffect on
long-term development in children. It would be better for pregnantwomen to
avoid caffeine, as studies linking caffeine intake during pregnancywith 40%
greater risk of miscarriage than in women who abstained from caffeine.
Caffeine is a
neuro-stimulantthat can pass from mother to fetus through the placental blood.
Duringpregnancy, the metabolism of caffeine slows down and hence it tends to
hangaround for longer periods in the nervous system of the fetus. Caffeine
alsoreduces blood flow to the fetus, through the placenta, and lowers fetal
heartrate; this is capable of having a detrimental effect on the development of
Scientist De-Kun Li, who authoredthe study connecting caffeine to miscarriage says, "it is premature to make any conclusion based on the finding from this[new] study, certainly not about the safety of caffeine consumption inpregnancy, even in the context of children's behavior."