Caffeine consumption during pregnancy may result in shorter children: study
- In one study, children of pregnant mothers who drank small amounts of caffeine were shorter than children whose mothers did not drink caffeine.
- A new study in JAMA found that the children of women who drank half a cup of coffee a day were 1.5 cm shorter.
- Other studies show that drinking coffee during pregnancy could have a negative effect on the fetus or baby.
Consuming less than the recommended limit of caffeine per day during pregnancy could have a negative effect on the height of the child, according to a new study.
The studypublished on October 31 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed that the children of women who drank less than 200 milligrams of caffeine Upper limit (about two cups of coffee) recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists were lower than those whose mothers drank little or no coffee.
The study observed two groups of pregnant women whose blood caffeine concentration was measured during the first trimester.
In the first group, 788 children of pregnant women who drank about 36 milligrams of caffeine a day (about half a cup of coffee) were about 1.5 centimeters shorter at age 7 than children of women who had little or no caffeine.
In another group, children whose mothers consumed the caffeine equivalent of two cups of coffee a day were 0.68 centimeters to 2.2 centimeters shorter between the ages of 4 and 8. The differences in height started at the age of 4, and the difference increased every subsequent year until the children reached the age of 8.
“Our findings show that maternal caffeine consumption is associated with a long-term reduction in child height,” the authors said in the study. “This association occurred even with maternal consumption below current recommendations of 200 mg per day.”
The authors of the study said that the height differences between the children were similar to those seen in the children of smokers and non-smokers.
Other studies on caffeine intake in pregnant women and children
Although national guidelines allow moderate caffeine consumption, some studies—like the recent JAMA study—show that any amount of caffeine during pregnancy can affect the fetus or baby.
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health on caffeine consumption during pregnancy showed that people who drank half a cup of coffee a day had slightly smaller babies compared to those who abstained. And one review published in 2020 found that any level of caffeine consumption can increase a pregnant woman’s risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and low birth weight.
Pregnant women who drink coffee might have shorter children, but they drink caffeine as a child probably won’t affect height.
Experts earlier for Insider pregnant women who limit coffee or tea should be careful about other sources of caffeine, such as chocolate, soft drinks and some medications.