Future moms that love drinking coffee during their pregnancy could increase their child’s risk of obesity later in life. A Scandinavian study was recently published in the journal BMJ Open, showing that there is a link between coffee consumption during pregnancy and the risk of obesity in children.
The study didn’t show that caffeine is the direct link to overweight. However, researchers recommend pregnant women to lower their daily intake of coffee or caffeinated drinks.
Dr. Verena Sengpiel, an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at Sahlgrenska Academy (Sweden), who is also a specialist physician at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Sahlgrenska University Hospital) agrees with the findings:
“There may be good cause to increase the restriction of the recommended maximum of three cups of coffee per day. Caffeine is not a medicine that needs to be consumed.”
5% More Obese or Overweight Kids in Moms That Consumed More Caffeine
The researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy collaborated with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. This study is among the most extensive surveys in the world on pregnant women. It is called the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), and researchers analyzed data of 50,943 pregnant women.
Results of the study showed that moms that consumed caffeine while being pregnant increased the risk of the child being overweight starting with preschool and school ages.
The study followed data from those children until they turned eight-year-old.
The group of mothers that consumed more caffeine in the study had 5% more obese or overweight children than the group of mothers with the lowest caffeine consumption.
Moreover, even the women that followed the recommended amount of coffee during pregnancy showed an increased risk of overweight or obesity in children.
The Limit is 300 Milligrams of Caffeine Per Day
The National Food Agency, Sweden recommends pregnant women to limit daily caffeine intake to 300 milligrams. This means no more than three cups of coffee or six mugs of black tea.
The study also included other sources of caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, and energy drinks). During pregnancy, the embryo receives ‘metabolic programming,’ in which genes get either turned on or off. In studies on animals, embryos that were exposed to caffeine showed an increased risk of cardiometabolic disease and growth. Sengpiel recommends all pregnant women to reduce or refrain from drinking coffee during their pregnancy.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.