The advice regarding coffee and pregnancy has always been a bit iffy. Can you or can’t you? Well, new research has thrown cold water on our favourite hot drink coffee and experts have declared that pregnant coffee drinkers need to give up completely.
Up until now, pregnant coffee lovers were allowed to continue their caffeine guzzling…in moderation. Two cups of medium-strength coffee a day has been regarded as a safe level for pregnant women.
Pregnant Coffee Drinkers Have To Go Cold Turkey!
However, a recent international study, as reported in The Guardian, has warned all pregnant coffee drinkers that they need to cut out coffee completely to avoid dangerous pregnancy implications, such as miscarriage, low birth weight and even stillbirth.
In the most horrendous news for pregnant coffee addicts, the new guidelines are that there is no safe level for caffeine consumption during pregnancy, according to a peer-reviewed study published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.
The research deep-dived into over 1,200 studies of caffeine’s effect on pregnancy and found “persuasive confirmation of increased risk…for at least five major negative pregnancy outcomes: miscarriage, stillbirth, lower birth weight and/or small for gestational age, childhood acute leukaemia, and childhood overweight and obesity.”
This will be a major blow for pregnant coffee drinkers, as well as those who drink energy drinks, tea and soft drinks which also contains various levels of caffeine.
This new ground-shaking study, led by Professor Jack James of Reykjavik University, found that “current advice … is not consistent with the level of threat indicated by biological plausibility of harm and extensive empirical evidence of actual harm.” It concluded that health recommendations needed “radical revision”.
“The cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine,” the report concluded.
Prof. James said eight out of every nine studies on caffeine and miscarriage reported ‘significant associations’. Many studies suggested coffee consumption increased the risk of miscarriage by one-third, and others said the risk increased with every additional cup of coffee.
There was also an observed link between caffeine consumption and stillbirth, with the risk increasing by as much as five times in women consuming high doses of the drug.
Coffee Is Safe!
As to be expected, the study was dismissed by the coffee industry, which said public health advice has not changed and it is regarded safe for pregnant coffee drinkers to consume up to 200mg of caffeine a day (equivalent to two medium-strength cups of coffee).
“This new study is an observational study, so importantly does not show any direct cause-and-effect link and also is subject to confounding factors such as cigarette smoking and wider dietary issues, which may limit its ability to draw clear conclusions,” said The British Coffee Association.
“The current evidence is based on a comprehensive review of all the scientific evidence available on coffee and health, which shows that pregnant women should limit caffeine intake to 200mg per day or less, and at these levels does not increase the risk of reproductive complications,” said a spokesperson.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has acknowledged studies that suggest excess intake of caffeine may be associated with restricted growth, reduced birth weight, preterm birth or stillbirth. It suggests that pregnant women drinking more than three cups of coffee a day should cut back.
What do you think of these latest guidelines for pregnant coffee drinkers? Should we pay attention or is it scaremongering? Tell us in the comments below.