A new study appearing in JAMA Network showcased how consumption of half a cup of caffeine each day during pregnancy may lead to a higher risk of smaller birth size.
According to researchers with the National Institutes of Health, the data of over 2,000 female participants during 8 to 13 weeks of pregnancy were examined. The participants were in a healthy state with no prior history of smoking habits or serious health problems.
Upon reaching 10 weeks of pregnancy, blood samples were taken to analyze caffeine and paraxanthine.
“Compared to infants born to women with no or minimal blood levels of caffeine, infants born to women who had the highest blood levels of caffeine at enrollment were an average of 84 grams lighter at birth (about 3 ounces), were .44 centimeters shorter (about .17 inches), and had head circumferences .28 centimeters smaller (about .11 inches),” a news release of the findings stated.
“Based on the women’s own estimates of the beverages they drank, women who consumed about 50 milligrams of caffeine a day (equivalent to a half cup of coffee) had infants 66 grams (about 2.3 ounces) lighter than infants born to non-caffeine consumers. Similarly, infants born to the caffeine consumers also had thigh circumferences .32 centimeters smaller (about .13 inches).”
As highlighted in the findings, researchers caution moderate-to-severe consumption of caffeine given its potential effects of decreasing the growth of the fetus.