Health & Fitness: NO safe level of caffeine for mothers-to-be, study finds

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Pregnant women should avoid caffeine altogether for the sake of their baby’s health, a study warned last night.

The research suggested there was no safe level of consumption whether with child or trying to conceive.

Based on 48 studies over 20 years, it concluded that even minimal caffeine intake raised the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or low birth weight.

But experts said the warnings were alarmist and flew in the face of studies showing moderate amounts were safe.

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Women should consume no more than 200mg a day – roughly two cups of coffee, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). Last night it insisted it would not change this advice.

a woman looking at the camera: The analysis of 48 studies over 20 years, concluded that even minimal caffeine intake raised the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or low birth weight. (File photo) © Provided by Daily Mail The analysis of 48 studies over 20 years, concluded that even minimal caffeine intake raised the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or low birth weight. (File photo)

But Professor Jack James, th48 studies over 20 years, it concluded that even minimal caffeine intake raised the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or low birth weight.e author of the new paper, claims thousands of babies are harmed every year when women consume supposedly safe levels of caffeine.

The studies he assessed at Reykjavik University in Iceland found that even low levels of caffeine could increase the risk of miscarriage by up to 36 per cent, stillbirth by up to 19 per cent and low birth weight by up to 51 per cent. Childhood leukaemia and obesity were also potential risks.

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Professor James calculated that if every pregnant woman in Britain consumed 200mg of caffeine a day, 70,000 babies would be harmed.

He claims that this is probably an underestimate because many women drink more than the advised maximum.

‘Caffeine is a habit-forming substance consumed daily by the majority of pregnant women,’ the professor wrote in the BMJ’s Evidence-Based Medicine journal.

HOW MUCH CAFFEINE IS SAFE?

The EU's food safety watchdog advised a daily limit of 400mg for adults in its first guidelines on caffeine intake in 2015.

European Food Safety Agency officials suggested pregnant women should keep intakes below 200mg.

It also advised children to consume no more than 3mg of caffeine per KG of body weight - the equivalent of two mugs of milky tea for a child of four.

Health officials warned those who break the limits run the risk of a host of health problems, from anxiety to heart failure.

No amount of coffee safe during pregnancy, scientist warns

  No amount of coffee safe during pregnancy, scientist warns Pregnant women or those hoping to conceive should avoid coffee altogether, a scientist has urged. Excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of low birthweight and miscarriages, however, the NHS states 200mg – around two mugs of instant coffee – a day is safe. To better understand the potential dangers, a scientist from Reykjavik University analysed 48 studies carried out in the past 20 years. AlthoughExcessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of low birthweight and miscarriages, however, the NHS states 200mg – around two mugs of instant coffee – a day is safe.

Its warning also showed links between high caffeine intake in pregnancy and having a baby that is underweight.

The NHS says too much caffeine can cause a miscarriage. There are also links to birth defects. However, with coffee far from the only food or drink to contain caffeine, people may unintentionally be going over the safe limit.

He said that usually caffeine was rapidly absorbed by the body, with peak concentrations occurring within an hour.

It then takes around five hours for blood levels of caffeine to halve, with the level declining gradually thereafter.

But he said that during pregnancy it took the body far longer to get rid of the substance. By the 38th week of pregnancy, it could take 18 hours for caffeine levels to halve.

Professor James said this meant an unborn baby could be exposed to the drug for several hours – having a profound impact on its developing body such as speeding up the baby’s heart rate and the blood vessels in its brain constricting.

He wrote: ‘Indeed, newborn infants of caffeine-consuming mothers have been reported to experience caffeine withdrawal symptoms including disturbed sleep, vomiting, increased frequency of irregular heartbeat and respiration, and increased fine tremors.’

Pregnant mums-to-be and women looking to have a baby urged to ditch caffeine

  Pregnant mums-to-be and women looking to have a baby urged to ditch caffeine A new study says they should avoid the natural stimulant which is found in foods and drinks such as tea, coffee and chocolate. It is also added to some energy drinks, cold and flu remedies and a variety of soft drinks. A study – published in the journal BMJ Evidence Based Medicine – examined data from 37 studies. A research team led by Professor Jack James, of Reykjavik University in Iceland, found that 32 studies reported caffeine significantly increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes – including stillbirth, miscarriage and low birth weight.

However Dr Daghni Rajasingam, RCOG spokesman, said women did not need to completely forgo tea and coffee while pregnant – advice that would not change in light of the review.

‘Other – and potentially more reliable – research has found that pregnant women do not need to cut caffeine out entirely because these risks are extremely small, even if the recommended caffeine limits are exceeded,’ she said.

‘The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ advice to limit caffeine intake to 200mg per day – the equivalent to two cups of instant coffee – still stands.’ Dr Adam Jacobs, associate director of biostatistics at Premier Research, warned that the harms found in the paper may not have been due to caffeine at all.

He said: ‘Given that pregnant women have been advised to avoid excessive caffeine consumption for at least the last 40 years, you might expect that women who drink coffee during pregnancy are generally less likely to follow health advice, and possibly in some ways which are quite hard to measure.’

a cup of coffee on a table: Current guidance on the NHS website suggests pregnant women should limit the amount of caffeine they consume to 200 milligrams a day © Provided by Daily Mail Current guidance on the NHS website suggests pregnant women should limit the amount of caffeine they consume to 200 milligrams a day

Dr Luke Grzeskowiak, of the University of Adelaide in Australia, added: ‘The author’s conclusion that all pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy should avoid caffeine is overly alarmist and inconsistent with the evidence.’

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Critics said Professor James had simply reassessed existing data, which had previously been interpreted as showing that moderate intake is relatively safe.

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Caffeine in pregnancy linked to increased risk of stillbirth .
Researchers say energy drinks appear to carry a higher risk than coffee and cola Researchers said that women should be informed of the risk - particularly if they drink above 300 milligrams a day, or the equivalent of three mugs of instant coffee.

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