New research suggests that even if pregnant women drink small levels of caffeine it can still increase the risk of babies being born with a low birth weight.
Currently, health guidelines suggest expecting mums have no more than two coffee or three teas a day, but experts have found that mums-to-be who drink any type of caffeine are at risk of having a smaller baby.
Drinking caffeine while pregnant could affect your baby’s birth weight
Scientists from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) found in a new study that if mums drank caffeine while pregnant there was a significant risk babies would be born prematurely or underweight.
941 mums and bubs born in Ireland were studied, with half of the mums drinking tea and 40 per cent drinking coffee.
For every extra half a cup of tea or coffee a mum drank during their first trimester there was a higher risk their baby would be born underweight by 70 grams (2.5oz).
They were also more likely to give birth prematurely.
What’s more, the mums who drank the most caffeine gave birth to babies weighing an average of 170oz less than your average healthy baby.
Caffeine can cross into the placenta
“High caffeine intake can result in restricted blood flow in the placenta which may subsequently affect foetal growth,” says lead author Ling-Wei Chen, a researcher at University College Dublin in Ireland.
“Caffeine can also cross the placenta readily, and because caffeine clearance slows as pregnancy progresses, caffeine accumulation may occur in foetal tissues.”
“Based on the consistent associations we observed, and because many pregnancies are unplanned, we would recommend women who are pregnant or seeking to become pregnant to at least limit their intakes of caffeinated coffee and tea.”
Meanwhile, Dr. De-Kun Li, a senior scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California, tells The Sun: “The message to women I would prefer would be ‘the less the better. Then women can choose for themselves.
“My advice would be try to reduce as much as you can, if you can totally quit that would be even better.”
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