Is drinking coffee during pregnancy really safe?

A new study reveals that drinking a moderate amount of caffeine during pregnancy caused no significant health risks.

Worried about drinking coffee during pregnancy? According to a report from UPI, a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology says that you shouldn’t. Researchers from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that drinking a moderate amount of caffeine during pregnancy has minimal effect on a baby’s future mental capacity or behavior.

The study showed no evidence that caffeine influenced behavior or obesity in children when mothers drank the equivalent of one to two cups of coffee every day. Researchers analyzed blood samples from more than 2,000 pregnant women that were collected between 1959 and 1974. They reasoned that during this time period, there was less available information about the effects of caffeine on developing fetuses, and more pregnant women were likely to be drinking coffee as they normally would.

According to Dr. Sarah Keim, the principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the data suggests that drinking one to two cups of coffee every day is perfectly safe for pregnant women.

The researchers examined the effects of a specific chemical called paraxanthine, which is a central nervous stimulant and a “caffeine marker.” By searching for this chemical in the blood, they were able to get a broader sense of caffeine intake than if a similar study was carried out today.

Keim and her team compared paraxanthine levels at 20 and 26 weeks into pregnancy to the children’s IQ and behavioral assessment at ages 4 and 7. There was no significant link between drinking coffee during pregnancy and impairment to childhood development.

A press release from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital detailing the results of the study can be found here.

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