by Linda Searing
On lists of pregnancy do’s and don’ts, few agree on where to put caffeine. Might reducing the amoung of caffeine consumed by a pregnant woman affect her newborn‘s size and birth date?
A study involved 1,207 women who were less than 20 weeks pregnant and who regularly drank three cups of coffee a day. They were instructed to ccontinue drinking three cups daily during the rest of their pregnancy, but they were randomly assigned to use either caffeinated or decacffeinated coffee. The recorded amounts of ohter caffeinated beverages they drank, including cola, tea and cocoa, were roughly equal.
On average, babies born to the women weighed virtually the same – a difference of less than one ounce from one group to the other. Duration of pregnancy was also nearly identical, with about a day’s difference in the infants‘ gestational age at birth.
Who may be affected by these dinfings? Pregnant women. Concerns about caffein stem in part from the stimulant’s ability to be rapidly absorbed including through the placenta.
Caveats: Data on total caffeine consumption were estimates based on records kept by the women. The study did not determine any effect of caffein reductions earlier in pregnancy, nor did it test whether greater reductions, or elimination, of caffeine might have different consequences.
You can find this study in the Jan 26 online edition of BMJ article available at www.bmg.com (click “Research”). Learn more about caffeine and its effect on pregnancy at www.marchofdimes.com (search for “caffeine”) and www.mayoclinic.com (search for “pregnancy nutrition”). – LAT-WP
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