Eating and drinking moderate amounts of caffeine — one or two cups of coffee a day — during pregnancy is safe to do for both expectant women and their babies, according to a recent study from the Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looked at the caffeine levels of more than 2,000 expectant mothers who participated in a national, multi-site study between 1958 and 1974 — when drinking coffee during pregnancy was more common, according to researchers.
Using measures of the chemical paraxanthine, a stimulant produced during the metabolism of caffeine that affects growth and development, researchers compared the chemical with the resultant children’s IQ levels and behavior at ages four and seven.
Ultimately, researchers found no significant correlation between the caffeine habits of the mothers and the cognitive development and behavior of their children at either age. The results of this study follow research conducted based on the same 2,000 women, which found that caffeine intake does not increases the risk of childhood obesity.
“Taken as a whole, we consider our results to be reassuring for pregnant women who consume moderate amounts of caffeine, or the equivalent to one or two cups of coffee per day,” said Dr. Sarah Keim, a co-author of the study and a principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.