Heads Up

New study claims no amount of caffeine consumption is safe during pregnancy

October 20th, 2020

In normal circumstances, a pregnant woman should not consume more than two cups of coffee per day or around 200 milligrams. But, new research shows that any caffeine might be detrimental to the human fetus inside the mother.

A study in the BMJ scientific journal on evidence-based medicine suggests that no level of caffeine is safe for mothers to consume. The author of the study, Jack James of Reykjavik University believes strongly that caffeine is dangerous to the unborn, and he has the research to back it up.

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Rodolfo Quiros Source: Rodolfo Quiros

The research is compelling.

Dr. James analyzed 37 different observational studies and even more information from 17 meta-analyses to find out more information on the topic.

He discovered that all of these studies included possible links between caffeine and undesirable pregnancy outcomes. Some of the possible outcomes were miscarriages, stillbirths, low birth weights, preterm births, childhood leukemia, and obesity.

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Pexels - Migs Reyes Source: Pexels - Migs Reyes

In these observational studies, 42 different findings on caffeine were discovered.

32 of these studies possessed significant evidence that caffeine increases the risk of negative outcomes in the midst of pregnancy. 14 of the possible 17 meta-analyses were said to be “unanimous” with their conclusions. The analyses found that maternal caffeine consumption is most definitely associated with higher rates of miscarriages, low birth weights, childhood leukemia, and stillbirths.

What else does the data tell us?

Caffeine was not found to be in association with preterm birth. That was one of the few negative outcomes not correlated to caffeine. The findings indicated that there might not be a minimum threshold for consumption that mitigated these associations.

The conclusion Dr. James made, is that no amount of caffeine is risk-free.

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Pixabay Source: Pixabay

While further research is needed in order to fully determine how caffeine harms fetuses, it is already known that caffeine readily crosses the placenta. Furthermore, fetuses and newborns generally lack the enzymes that are required to metabolize caffeine, which could partially explain why they are so heavily affected by it.

According to Dr. Jack, mothers who are expecting have been misled for a long time about the dangers of caffeine during pregnancy.

He points much of the blame for this at the International Life Sciences Institue (ILSI).

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Pexels - Lisa Fotios Source: Pexels - Lisa Fotios

The problem with the ILSI

In his work and written paragraph, Dr. James orates how ILSI was established to protect soft drink manufacturers in the late 1970s. The FDA threatened them by adding a health warning to products containing caffeine.

More concerns were raised about the safety of caffeine in pregnancy and who would you guess supported scientists writing papers that depicted caffeine as safe? The ILSI had these papers portray any evidence that was negative as unreliable or just unfactual.

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Pexels - BreakingPic Source: Pexels - BreakingPic

We aren’t exactly sure how the current guidelines or thoughts about caffeine during pregnancy came to be so prevalent from doctors. But this latest study seems pretty conclusive that the cumulative evidence in the scientific community supports pregnant women and these women should avoid caffeine.

At the very least, talk to your doctor.

It’s a much better idea to be safe and take every precaution to protect your future child. A few days of neglect in pregnancy can make all the difference.

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Source: IFL Science, Pexels