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Study: Moderate Coffee Drinking During Pregnancy Does Not Affect Baby’s IQ

A new study has found that drinking coffee during pregnancy does not affect the offspring’s behavior or intelligence (IQ). This is the first time a study has focused on how utero caffeine exposure affects the child’s behavior and intelligence.

Researchers found that caffeine consumption during pregnancy does not have a negative effect on children’s cognition or behavior at ages of four to seven. However, caffeine increases the mother’s blood and heart rate, which is not recommended during pregnancy. During the study, researchers collected blood samples, and measured the amount of paraxanthine, a compound that is produced when the body consumes caffeine.

The team then analyzed the relation between paraxanthine at two different stages during pregnancy and compared those levels to the child’s IQ and behavioral development at the age of four and then at seven. It was found that there was no association between maternal caffeine ingestion and the development and behavior of the children. Dr. Mona Prasad, a maternal and fetal medicine specialist for Mount Caramel Health System said that pregnant women limit caffeine because of the perceived risk, but don’t give it up completely.

Dr. Klebanoff and Sarah Keim, PhD, co-author and principal investigator in the Center for biobehavioral health at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s, had earlier conducted a study with the same group of women from The Collaborative Perinatal Project and a relation between the caffeine intakes during pregnancy and the risks of children to be obese. In the study, it was found that 11 percent of children were considered obese at the age of four years and seven percent at the age of seven.

Though the study has not determined the effects of heavier caffeine consumption, experts have pointed out that caffeine  can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, which is risky during pregnancy, and can also result in miscarriage.

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