Pregnancy brings many charming changes to your body, including fatigue, but you may want to reconsider using coffee as a pick-me-up. A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that children of mothers who drank caffeinated beverages throughout pregnancy were 89% more likely to become obese compared with children of mothers who didn’t imbibe caffeine. Children were 2.3 times as likely to be obese if their mothers drank more than 150 milligrams of caffeine daily. For reference, a shot of espresso has about 64 mg of caffeine, a medium size cup of coffee has around 150 mg of caffeine, and a cup of green tea contains between 25 and 45 mg of caffeine.
The study, which followed 600 mothers and their children over a fifteen year period, controlled for a variety of factors, including the mother’s BMI and age as well as the family’s socioeconomic status and whether the mother smoked during pregnancy. As childhood obesity has increased greatly in the past thirty years, the scientists behind this study hoped to discern if caffeine, a widely consumed substance and “pharmacologically active agent,” could be added to a list of potential contributors to the obesity epidemic (which also includes diet, physical activity levels, and other environmental factors). While more studies are needed to clarify the relationship between maternal caffeine consumption and childhood obesity, the researchers acknowledge that caffeine easily passes through the placental barrier between mother and fetus and could effect brain development, including metabolic functioning.
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