New study says pregnant women

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New study says pregnant women should avoid coffee completely

Research published in medical journal says eight out of nine previous studies found significant concerns over coffee usage. Others disagree.

New study says pregnant women

Image: Pexels from Pixabay

Pregnant women should stop drinking coffee completely if they are to avoid miscarriage stillbirth and other health complications.

This is according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine.

The researchers analysed more than 1 200 studies of the drug’s effect on pregnancy and found “persuasive confirmation” of increased risk … for at least five major problems: miscarriage, stillbirth, lower birth weight and/or small for gestational age, childhood acute leukaemia, and childhood overweight and obesity.

Current advice not consistent with threat level

The research by Prof Jack James, of Reykjavik University in Iceland, 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”.

James added: “The cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine.”

The report noted that eight out of every nine studies on caffeine and miscarriage reported “significant associations”. Some suggested consumption increased the risk by a third, while others found that the risk increased with every extra cup of coffee.

Other medical experts question the conclusions

But other professionals in the field question the conclusions.

There is no need for “immediate change to the current guidance” based on this research, said Dr Christopher Zahn, Vice President of Practice Activities for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in a response to CNN.

“Our guidance remains that moderate caffeine consumption, less than 200 mg per day, does not appear to be a major contributing factor in miscarriage or preterm birth,” Zahn said.

Royal College still advises two cups daily

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK made similar comments in its response to CNN.

“(The) advice to limit caffeine intake to 200 milligrams (mg) per day – the equivalent to two cups of instant coffee – still stands,” said obstetrician Dr. Daghni Rajasingam, a spokesperson for the college.

“This paper does not supersede all the other evidence that has found that a limited intake of caffeine is safe for the majority of pregnant women.”