Researchers from Sweden suggest that pregnant women who consume caffeine -like coffee, are more likely to give birth to SGA (small for gestational age) babies or babies with lower than the normal birth weight given their gestational age. SGA is linked to higher risk of morbidity and death of newborns.
Research Verena Sengpiel says that the correlation between consumption of caffeine and fetal growth was established even among women who followed the recommended limit of caffeine intake at 200 mg per day or equivalent to two cups of coffee.
The research team conducted a study involving 59,000 pregnant women from Norway in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The participants were healthy and had no difficulty in their pregnancy until delivery.
The results are consistent with prior international studies, but are based on quite a larger cohort. The results were adjusted for age, body mass index, smoking, nicotine consumption, alcohol and other factors that affect fetal growth
Sengpiel stressed that the study did not analyze whether caffeine is the specific substance that is responsible for the higher risk of low birth weight of the fetus. Likewise, they did not check if the babies had special health problems during neonatal period. Furthermore, the researchers also wanted to find out whether pregnant women who consumed caffeine have greater risk of giving birth prematurely. However, the correlation could not be established.
The researchers hope to conduct a more extensive study on the association of caffeine intake with SGA including any correlation between SGA and risk of morbidity and death.
University of Gothenburg. Coffee and tea during pregnancy affect fetal growth. ScienceDaily.