Here's some news to make coffee-loving moms-to-be perk up: a study from the Netherlands says that caffeine intake during pregnancy has no effect on a child's behavior later in life. In other words, a cup of joe or can of soda may leave pregnant moms wired, but it probably won't make their children hyperactive.
In the study, 3,400 moms were asked how much coffee they consumed during pregnancy. When their children turned 5 or 6, the same women filled out questionnaires about their kids' behavioral health, and the children's teachers completed an identical survey, The Huffington Post reports. The difference between kids with caffeinated vs. uncaffeinated moms? There weren't any. From the responses, all children had the same or similar risk when it came to a slew of behavioral issues, including "hyperactivity/inattention problems, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer relationship problems, overall problem behavior, and suboptimal prosocial behavior."
So, time for that second cup? Until more is known, it's still best to hold off on that refill, says critics of the study, pointing out that researchers didn't look at other developmental problems. Groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) aren't budging one ounce on their recommendation for caffeine intake during pregnancy either. According to the ACOG, taking in up to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day—the amount typically found in an 8-ounce cup of coffee—is generally OK, but drinking more may increase the odds for certain complications, including having a low birth weight baby.
That said, moms who love their caffeine are loving this study. "The coffee police were everywhere when I was pregnant last year. I thought I would need a doctor's note just to get served at Starbucks," recalls Amy Mattson from Minneapolis, Minnesota. "It's nice to see research backing up the same basic thing my doctor said—a cup a day is fine."
But another mom, Tara Fuller from Eugene, Oregon, is erring on the side of caution. "I gave up caffeine because I just couldn't stomach coffee when I had morning sickness, but then I just didn't want it anymore. I am eating all these healthy things for my baby and coffee and soda just don't seem to fit the bill."
What's in your cup? How have your soda and coffee habits changed now that you're pregnant?