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24 November 2015

Caffeine in pregnancy may not harm baby's IQ

IQ and behavioural assessments found no evidence that mothers' caffeine consumption during pregnancy had any effect on their offspring.

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Moderate amounts of caffeine during pregnancy don't appear to be linked to a child's risk for lower IQ or behaviour problems, a new study suggests.

Read: Caffeine: what about that cuppa?

The research included nearly 2,200 women in the United States whose caffeine intake was measured during pregnancy. The pregnancies occurred between 1959 and 1974, a period of time when coffee consumption during pregnancy was more common, according to researchers from Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Read: Coffee, tea may stave off diabetes

Children born to these women had IQ and behavioural assessments when they were 4 and 7 years old. The researchers found no evidence that mom's caffeine consumption during pregnancy had any effect on children.

In a previous analysis of data from the same group of women, the researchers also found that higher caffeine consumption during pregnancy was not linked to children's risk of obesity.

"Taken as a whole, we consider our results to be reassuring for pregnant women who consume moderate amounts of caffeine or the equivalent to one or two cups of coffee per day," said study author Dr Mark Klebanoff in a hospital news release. He is principal investigator in the Centre for Perinatal Research at Nationwide's Research Institute.

Findings from the study are published online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Read more:

Coffee in pregnancy won't cause wakeful baby

Caffeine good for preemies

Coffee tied to miscarriage

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