Does Drinking Caffeine During Pregnancy Cause Small Babies?

Two women sitting at a table with cups of coffee.

While we all love that kick we get from coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate, it may actually cause harm to an unborn child.

A recent study from NIH (National Institute of Health) reports that ingesting 200 mg of caffeine (2 cups of coffee) during pregnancy may lead to small babies. Dr. Katherine L. Grantz and her team looked at over 2,000 records of pregnant women during their research and determined that even one-half a cup of coffee could lead to smaller babies compared to women who don’t drink coffee or ingest caffeine.

 Why does caffeine case small babies? It is believed that caffeine shrinks blood vessels in the uterus and placenta, which impairs fetal growth. Small babies in the uterus are a clinical condition called small for gestational age or SGA. The good news is 90% of babies who are SGA undergo catch-up growth within the first two years of life, but why take that chance?

The bottom line: If you are pregnant and reaching for that cup of coffee, tea, or an energy drink, hit pause and speak with your healthcare professional.

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