Here's good news for pregnant coffee lovers: drinking coffee in moderate amounts will not harm your baby, according to researchers from the Nationwide Children's Hospital.
The researchers studied how caffeine exposure affected the baby's development and found that moderate amounts of caffeine did not have any harmful effect on the child's IQ and behavior in later childhood years.
"Taken as a whole, we consider our results to be reassuring for pregnant women who consume moderate amounts of caffeine or the equivalent to one or two cups of coffee per day," study co-author Sarah Keim said in a press release.
The researchers looked at data from 2,197 pregnant women who participated in the Collaborative Perinatal Project from 1959 to 1974, a time when drinking coffee while pregnant was a lot more common than it is today. They investigated the levels of paraxanthine, the primary metabolite of caffeine, at two points during the pregnancy and determined how it affected the child's IQ and behavior when the child was 4 and 7 years old.
The researchers found no consistent pattern between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and the intelligence and behavior of the child.
"We did not find evidence of an adverse association of maternal pregnancy caffeine consumption with child cognition or behavior at four or seven years of age," lead study author Dr. Mark Klebanoff said in the press release.
"We conclude that over a range of values applicable to most pregnant women, there was no meaningful association of serum paraxanthine level with childhood IQ or problem behaviors," the authors wrote.
The study was published Nov. 18 in the American Journal of Epidemiology.