It’s everyone’s favorite narcotic: coffee! But how much coffee should you actually be drinking while pregnant?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists weighs in, stating that pregnant women should limit their caffeine consumption to 200 milligrams a day, or roughly 12 ounces of coffee.
But according to a new review of studies, it has been suggested that no caffeine may be the safest bet.
The analysis included 37 observational studies as well as meta-analyses that reported caffeine’s effect on six negative pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, still birth, low birth weight or small for gestational age, preterm birth, childhood acute leukemia, and having a child who is overweight or obese.
It was found that caffeine consumption was associated with multiple negative outcomes according to the report in BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.
When it came to stillbirths, they were consistent across studies with risks increasing from twofold to fivefold.
And of the 10 studies of low birth weight, seven reported an increased risk with increasing caffeine consumption.
Three meta-analyses discovered that maternal caffeine consumption is associated with an increased risk for childhood acute leukemia and eight of nine studies reported an association of caffeine with miscarriage.
While the studies were purely observational and do not prove cause and effect, author, Jack E. James of Reykjavik University in Iceland, stated that the accumulated body of evidence for harm is substantial.
“Even if the evidence were merely suggestive, and in reality it is much stronger than that,” he said.
He did note however that “the case for recommending caffeine be avoided during pregnancy is thoroughly compelling.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.