Many moms-to-be hate giving up their morning cup of coffee. Is it really necessary to give up caffeine while pregnant? It has been reported that the light to moderate consumption of caffeine is safe during pregnancy. I think the problem arises in the definition of "moderate" and also in the conflicting results of studies on the effects of caffeine.
In 1980, the Food and Drug Administration published recommendations that advised pregnant women to avoid or limit consumption of foods and drugs that contained caffeine. The advice stemmed from a study in which pregnant rats were exposed to caffeine and various teratogenic effects, resorption of fetuses, and a reduction in fetal and placental weight occurred. However, subsequent studies have not identified an association between congenital malformations and maternal caffeine consumption in humans. Also, rodents are generally more susceptible to teratogenic influences than humans; differences exist between rodents and humans regarding caffeine metabolism, and the doses used in the rat study were excessively higher than normal human consumption. A 60-kg human would have to consume approximately 50 to 70 cups of coffee daily to achieve the equivalent dose used in the study.
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The Collaborative Perinatal Project identified 5378 mother-child pairs who were exposed to caffeine during the first trimester. No evidence of a relationship between caffeine consumption and congenital malformations was identified. A follow-up analysis of 2030 malformed children and maternal use of caffeine by the Collaborative Perinatal Project also failed to identify caffeine as a teratogen. Other investigators have also found no association between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and congenital anomalies.