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Caffeine in Pregnancy Won't Harm Offspring: Study
Date:7/11/2012

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 11 (HealthDay News) -- Adding to the ongoing debate over what expectant mothers should eat and drink, new Dutch research finds no link between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and later behavioral problems in kids.

The study by Eva Loomans, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and colleagues appears in the August print issue of the journal Pediatrics.

However, previous studies have linked high levels of caffeine consumption to a greater risk of miscarriage, and a researcher behind one of those studies said the new report doesn't change the fact that caffeine can be risky.

"Women should reduce or stop caffeine intake during pregnancy," said Dr. De-Kun Li, a senior research scientist at Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, who co-authored a 2008 study into caffeine consumption in pregnant women, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Another researcher, Dr. Laura Elizabeth Riley, director of obstetrics and gynecology infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital, said science has known little about any possible connection between caffeine in pregnant women and behavioral problems. "Animal studies suggest that caffeine would be problematic for the fetus, but the human studies I am aware of do not suggest any such association," she said.

It's an especially tough issue to study because many possible factors could explain why a kid has behavioral issues, she noted. "That said," Riley added, "the biologic plausibility for a link between caffeine and behavior is there, as we know it is a potent stimulant."

It's difficult to know for sure whether caffeine is risky for pregnant mothers because the gold standard of research would require scientists to randomly assign some women to consume it and watch what happens. The new Dutch study doesn't take that approach but instead asked women around th
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