Pregnant women are often advised to quit drinking coffee during pregnancy. For some, this is a challenging feat that can lead to headaches, anxiety, muscle pain, drowsiness, and other negative effects.
Caffeine, Pregnancy, and Future IQ
To explore the effects of caffeine consumption on pregnancy, researchers gathered data on 2,197 pregnant women who participated in the Collaborative Perinatal Project between 1959 and 1974. The authors of the study say caffeine consumption during pregnancy was more common during this era, making it easier to explore the effects of a broad range of caffeine consumption in pregnant women.
To assess how much caffeine a woman consumed, researchers looked at paraxanthine, one of caffeine’s primary metabolites, at about 20 and 26 weeks gestation. They then asked about problem behaviors and IQ in children ages 4 and 7.
Should Women Consume Caffeine During Pregnancy?
The latest study only looked at caffeine’s effect on IQ and behavior—not all possible side effects of caffeine consumption. Though there is much research on the effects of caffeine consumption during pregnancy, the results are mixed and sometimes contradictory. Some research says caffeine crosses the placenta, and some research suggests it keeps a gestating fetus awake. It may also cause birth defects, premature labor, and low birth rate.
Two studies produced conflicting results regarding caffeine’s association with miscarriage. One found that drinking more than 200 milligrams (equivalent to about one 12-ounce cup of coffee) of caffeine per day doubled the risk of miscarriage. A similar study found women who consumed between 200 and 350 milligrams of caffeine per day had no increased risk of miscarriage.
Because the science is conflicting and researchers have not yet explored all possible effects of caffeine, most doctors advise pregnant women to limit their caffeine consumption. The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women stick to less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.
- Caffeine intake during pregnancy. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/caffeine-during-pregnancy/
- Klebanoff, M. A., & Keim, S. A. (2015). Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and child cognition and behavior at 4 and 7 years of age. American Journal of Epidemiology. doi:10.1093/aje/kwv136
- Moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy do not harm baby’s IQ, study suggests. (2015, November 19). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/11/151119211435.htm
© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.