Health Alert! Did You Know Caffeine During Pregnancy May Affect Child’s Height?

Health Alert! Did You Know Caffeine During Pregnancy May Affect Child’s Height?

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By Spy Uganda

Recommendations and tips for a healthy pregnancy have changed throughout the years with the emergence of more data. One area of interest is how caffeine intake can impact pregnancy outcomes and child development.

A​ recent study published in JAMA found that caffeine consumption during pregnancy may impact child growth.

The study found that pregnant people who consumed caffeine had children who were shorter in stature in early childhood.

The data on caffeine intake during pregnancy is mixed.

Recommendations For Caffeine During Pregnancy

Some evidence suggests that caffeine may be harmful to certain aspects of pregnancy. However, some caffeine intake may be fine and not cause adverse health impacts.

In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that less than 200 milligrams of caffeine during pregnancy is considered safe.

“Current recommendations for intake of caffeine are based on research which suggests less than 200 mg or the equivalent of one 12-ounce cup of coffee per day. It’s important to note caffeine consumption can contribute to light-headedness, nausea, and interrupt sleep.”

Dr. Julia Arnold VanRooyen, a board certified gynecological surgeon, noted that pregnant people should generally limit their caffeine consumption to less than 200mg [per] day.

“Women should always discuss any questions and concerns they have with their doctor; their physician can inform them of existing general guidelines and make any specific recommendations for a given patient, based on their unique history,” she said.

Impact On Child’s Dev’t?

The new study looked at caffeine intake during pregnancy and its impact on child growth.

Researchers examined a historical cohort of mothers between 1959–1965 and children between 1960–1974. They then examined a more recent cohort of mothers and children between 2009–2013 and 2017–2019.

Researchers measured concentrations of caffeine and paraxanthine — a metabolite of caffeine — in the pregnant person’s blood during the first trimester of pregnancy. They then looked at children’s heights up to age 8.

The analysis indicated that caffeine consumption during pregnancy was associated with children being shorter later in life.

The difference was distinct, amounting to about a 2-centimeter height difference between children whose mothers had caffeine and children whose mothers did not.

Study author Jessica Gleason Source, Ph.D., MPH, explained key points of the research:

Meanwhile, anyone expecting a child may choose to regularly communicate with their doctors and other specialists as they decide how to handle caffeine intake during pregnancy, taking any potential risks into account.

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