Consuming Caffeine – in any amount – Determined Unsafe for Fetus
According to a new study from Reykjavik University, despite prior reports that consuming less than 200 milligrams of caffeine while pregnant posed no harm to the fetus, there is, in fact, no safe level of caffeine that can be safely consumed during pregnancy.
According to IFLScience.com, to conduct this study, study author Jack James analyzed the findings from 37 previous observational studies and 17 meta-analyses, all of which examined the potential link between caffeine and negative pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, preterm birth, childhood acute leukemia, and childhood overweight and obesity.
37 observational studies yielded 42 different findings, 32 of which supported the belief that consuming caffeine during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of negative outcomes. 14 of the 17 meta-analyses were “unanimous” in concluding that when pregnant mothers consumed caffeine, there were higher rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and childhood acute leukemia.
James believes that expectant mothers have long been misled about the dangers of caffeine consumption during pregnancy, primarily by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), which was established by soft drink manufacturers in the late 1970s after the FDA threatened to add a health warning to products containing caffeine. The ILSI supported the publication of scientific papers depicting caffeine as safe while claiming any evidence to the contrary as unreliable.
While additional research is necessary to determine how the caffeine harms the fetus, the fact that caffeine readily crosses the placenta may provide some insight. Regardless, “this latest study is unambiguous in its conclusion that ‘the cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine.’”