A study warns that drinking only three cups of coffee a day during pregnancy may affect your baby’s ability to crawl or walk at 12 months old.
- Scientists analyzed data from 87,106 mothers in a nationwide study in Japan
- Women who consumed more than 300 mg of caffeine a day – the equivalent of three cups of coffee – had a higher risk of developmental delays in their 12-month-old babies.
- The NHS says pregnant women should have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day
It’s a controversial topic that has been widely debated for years: Is it safe for women to take caffeine during pregnancy?
The NHS currently advises that pregnant women consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day – the equivalent of two cups of instant coffee.
But a new study warns that drinking coffee may affect your child’s ability to crawl or walk at the age of one, even if consumed in moderation.
Researchers from Hokkaido University in Japan claim that babies born to mothers who consume only three cups of coffee a day have a 1.11-fold increased risk of delayed motor development at 12 months of age.
The NHS currently advises that pregnant women consume no more than 200mg of caffeine per day – the equivalent of two cups of instant coffee (stock image)
How much caffeine?
The NHS advises that pregnant women should have no more than 200mg of caffeine per day. there:
- 100 mg in a cup of instant coffee
- 140 mg in a cup of filter coffee
- 75 mg in a cup of tea (green tea can contain the same amount of caffeine as regular tea)
- 40 mg in a can of cola
- 80 mg in a 250 ml can of energy drink
- Less than 25 mg in a 50g bar of regular dark chocolate
- Less than 10 mg in a 50g bar of regular milk chocolate
While it is widely known that some lifestyle habits, including smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy, affect a child’s development, there is still consensus on the effects of caffeine intake.
The NHS advises “You should limit your caffeine intake when you are trying to conceive and during pregnancy.”
High caffeine intake has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight.
In the study, researchers set out to assess whether maternal caffeine consumption affects developmental outcomes in children.
The team analyzed data from 87,106 mothers in a nationwide study in Japan.
The data included maternal caffeine consumption during pregnancy, as well as the baby’s motor skills at six and 12 months of age.
The analysis revealed that babies born to mothers who consumed more than 300 mg of caffeine per day had a lower risk of developmental delays at six months.
However, by 12 months, they had a 1.11-fold increased risk of delayed motor development.
Researchers from Hokkaido University in Japan claim that babies born to mothers who consume only three cups of coffee a day have a 1.11-fold increased risk of delayed motor development at the age of 12 months (stored image)
The researchers say the data collected at six months of age should be interpreted with caution, as it has been difficult for mothers to assess the motor skills of younger children.
The team explained in their study that the results of this study showed that the negative effects of maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy on the development of children were rarely observed at the age of 6 months, and that an association was observed with regard to reducing the risk of developmental delays. , published in Early Human Development.
In the modified model, maternal caffeine intake was associated with a lower risk of developmental delay, with communication, gross motor function, fine motor function, and problem solving.
“However, at 12 months of age, all of the low-risk associations observed at 6 months of age had disappeared.”
While the reason for the link remains unclear, researchers hope the findings will encourage pregnant women to limit their caffeine consumption.
They concluded, “Further studies will be important to investigate whether delays in gross motor development at 12 months due to caffeine exposure have an impact on outcomes with age.”
Benefits of drinking coffee
Caffeine is considered safe to consume in doses of up to 400 mg per day for the general population.
Studies show that it can have a variety of health benefits, including fighting liver disease and type 2 diabetes.
Research has even indicated that it can help people live longer.
It is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and reports indicate that it can increase daily energy expenditure by about five percent.
The researchers said that combining two to four cups of coffee per day with regular exercise would be most effective in maintaining weight.
A 2015 study showed that just two cups a day can help millions of dieters stay fit once they reach their target weight.