Pregnant women who drink just two cups of coffee a day risk their children being overweight.

Babies exposed to moderate or high levels of caffeine in the womb have a higher chance of being overweight in early childhood, researchers found.

The findings call into question NHS guidelines which say expectant mothers can safely consume up to two cups of coffee a day, according to Daily Mail.

Researchers looked at the link between caffeine intake during pregnancy and the weights of children up to the age of eight.

Studying 51,000 mother and infant pairs in Norway between 2002 and 2008, they measured the expectant mothers’ daily intake of caffeine – found in chocolate, tea and many soft drinks as well as coffee – at 22 weeks of pregnancy.

More than four in ten were classed as having an average caffeine intake, consuming the equivalent of up to two cups of coffee a day, while 7 per cent were classed as high intake (up to three cups) and 3 per cent were considered to have a ‘very high’ intake (three or more cups).

Just under half of the mothers-to-be were classified as low caffeine intake, consuming the equivalent of half a cup of coffee.

Their children’s weight and height were then measured at six weeks old, at three, six, eight, 12 and 18 months old, and then at two years and every year up to age eight.

Those whose mothers had been classed as average caffeine consumers were 15 per cent more likely to be heavier – but not taller – than those whose mothers avoided caffeine, the researchers found.

This correlation grew to 30 per cent among the children of high caffeine consumers, and 66 per cent among the children of very high consumers, according to the study in medical journal BMJ Open.

Children of very high caffeine consumers weighed up to three ounces more between three and 12 months, rising to a pound more at age eight.

Professor Jean Golding, of the University of Bristol, said: ‘It will be important to determine whether any effects of high maternal caffeine intake are apparent at later ages, or … confined to the pre-puberty ages.’

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  • Pregnancy put me right off coffee, so no issue for me to avoid it


  • Could not tolerate any caffeine during pregnancies.


  • I tend to doubt this study and it’s claims.


  • I thought it was okay to have 1 cup of coffee a day :/ I love my coffee in the morning


  • I don’t drink coffee at all. If there is such a high correlation with weight, better be careful with it during pregnancy!


  • I drink decaf in high amount, so certainly would have q quite high caffeine intake. However my kids are slim build.


  • I completely went off coffee in my first pregnancy, and through my second only has a cup of decaf if I felt like it. Interesting study, I’d like to read the whole thing to see what else they said!

    • It seems to be common for many women to go off caffeine during pregnancy – so many of my friends and family stopped drinking it – could not tolerate it.


  • While pregnant I remember not drinking coffee but if I crave it I would have a cup of Nescafé decaf and peppermint tea


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