Lower birth weight due to caffeine

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Caffeine during pregnancy can reduce the child's birth weight

As part of a meta-study, Swedish scientists examined how caffeine in coffee affects the later birth weight of the children of expectant mothers. According to the results determined by the researchers, caffeine can lead to newborns being of low weight after the birth stage. Caffeine from coffee can also cause pregnancy to last longer on average than in other women. However, the scientists emphasized that their observations are based exclusively on caffeine from coffee and not from other sources such as tea or chocolate.

Risk increases from 200 milligrams of caffeine
The scientists at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, were "during an extensive evaluation of data from various studies", as they write in the journal "BMC Medicine". "Already amounts of between 200 and 300 milligrams of caffeine a day already had an effect." It is precisely this amount that the World Health Organization and the health authorities in Sweden classify as actually "harmless" to health.

Study director Verena Sengpiel emphasized that "there is also a context between caffeine consumption and smoking". Numerous studies have already shown that smoking increases the risk of premature birth and can significantly reduce birth weight. An underweight related to the duration of pregnancy is called the medical term “Small for Gestational Age SGA”. "In this study, we found no connection between total caffeine intake or that from coffee alone and premature birth," reports the researcher. “But we found a link between caffeine and SGA. This context persisted even if we only looked at non-smoking mothers. ”This makes it clear that caffeine consumption can have a negative impact on birth weight even without cigarette consumption.

Researchers evaluated data from health studies
For the evaluation, the research team used the data from various studies of almost 60,000 women who had participated in health studies in Norway. Here, the food intake of different foods was asked in questionnaires at three points in the course of the pregnancy. One aspect was also the consumption of coffee or caffeine. The duration of pregnancy and newborn data were also recorded.

The result showed that even a caffeine intake of 200 to 300 milligrams per day increases the probability of a lower birth weight (SGA) many times over. As a comparison, an amount of 0 to 50 milligrams was counted.

Coffee prolongs pregnancy
In addition, it was shown that caffeine from coffee correlates with an extended pregnancy. "From 100 milligrams, the duration of pregnancy was extended by an average of eight hours." However, this effect was only seen with the consumption of coffee and not with other caffeine sources. The scientists therefore assume that other ingredients in coffee must also play a role. But it is also conceivable that the behavior or lifestyle of coffee drinkers is different from that of tea drinkers. However, a spontaneous premature birth, as is observed in cigarette smokers, could not be identified as a risk here.
The researchers found that "coffee was the most common source of caffeine among expectant mothers." Consumers consume around 85 milligrams of caffeine per cup of commercially available filter coffee. Women who drank little or no coffee consumed more tea and / or cocoa. Food such as drinking chocolate or chocolate bar also played a major role. (sb)

Also read:
Air pollution causes underweight in babies
Parents give children too much medication
Smaller babies due to depression

Image: Andrea Damm / pixelio.de

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