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Can Drinking Coffee When Pregnant Cause Premature Birth? Study Claims So

by | November 26, 2018

Health researchers are warning expectant mothers that drinking coffee when pregnant can cause premature births, and expectant parents should avoid it. 

“Based on the consistent associations we observed, and because many pregnancies are unplanned, we would recommend women who are pregnant or seeking to become pregnant to at least limit their intakes of caffeinated coffee and tea,” lead study author Ling-Wei Chen, a researcher at University College Dublin in Ireland, said in an email to Reuters 

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Though most doctors allow at least one cup of tea or coffee when pregnant, those guidelines could change due to the new research. 
The study cannot prove cause and effect, he cautioned. But several previous studies have linked caffeine exposure in the womb to negative effects, Chen and his colleagues write in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Coffee When Pregnant 

For the current study, Chen’s team looked at 941 mother-child pairs born in Ireland, where people drink more tea than coffee. Nearly half of the mothers in the study drank tea, while about 40 percent drank coffee.

Every additional 100 milligrams of caffeine consumed daily during the first trimester of pregnancy was associated with a 72-gram (2.5 ounce) lower birth weight, as well as significantly lower gestational age, birth length and head circumference.

Women who took in the most caffeine had babies weighing about 170 grams (6 ounces) less than those who consumed the least, the researchers found. Whether the caffeine came from coffee or tea made no difference to the results.

Did you drink coffee when pregnant? Let us know in the comments. 


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Emma Williams

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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