Study Says It's Okay for Pregnant Women to Drink Coffee

Pregnant women can now guilt-free enjoy their morning coffee. This is the best news we've heard all month: Researchers in Amsterdam have concluded that a woman's caffeine intake during pregnancy--i.e. coffee, beloved coffee, liquid gold, we mean coffee, did we say coffee?--doesn't cause problem behavior, hyperactivity, emotional and social problems or a host of other negative results later in life for the pregnant woman's unborn child.

As many pregnant women have discovered, skipping the morning caffeinated beverage can cause severe emotional and social problems for the mom. So, again, yay, coffee! No longer do we have to waddle enormously into the local coffee shop at nine months, ask for a decaf, and be told by the tattooed barista, with disdain, that the coffee shop is too purist for decaf.

The study was published this month in the journal Pediatrics and surveyed 3,400 mothers, whose children it followed up to age six. The results were unambiguous: "Caffeine intake was not associated with a higher risk for behavior problems or with suboptimal prosocial behavior. No evidence was found for mediation by fetal growth restriction or gestational age, nor for effect modification by the child's gender."

The study comes on the heels of some other good news for caffeine drinkers back in April, when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a position statement saying that moderate caffeine intake (200 milligrams, which is about a cup) doesn't cause complications during pregnancy or affect the child's sleep patterns, as had been feared.

"For years, women have been getting mixed messages about whether or not they should have any caffeine during pregnancy," William H. Barth Jr., MD, chair of ACOG's committee on obstetric practice, said in a press release. "After a review of the scientific evidence to date, daily moderate caffeine consumption doesn't appear to have any major impact in causing miscarriage or preterm birth."

Still, venti drinkers beware, large amounts of caffeine have not been cleared, and it has been well-documented that caffeine passes straight through the placenta. If you're feeling the effects of your coffee, that means your baby is too. And it doesn't take a study to tell us that a jittery, wired fetus can't be a good thing.