Is maternal caffeine consumption associated with child growth, and are such associations present in low-consumption groups?


Caffeine consumption right this moment happens within the type of tea, espresso, and caffeinated mushy drink consumption, mostly. With the stimulant impact of espresso, most individuals discover it troublesome to chop again, regardless of considerations about its well being penalties. A brand new paper revealed in JAMA Network Open discusses the connection between caffeine consumption in being pregnant and the longer term progress of the offspring.

Examine: Association of Maternal Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy With Child Growth. Picture Credit score: Galina Zhigalova/Shutterstock


About 80% of American ladies drink espresso throughout their pregnancies. Caffeine is a mind stimulating compound and accumulates in fetal tissue due to the shortage of metabolic pathways throughout this section of life. 

Earlier analysis, reminiscent of these carried out by the Nationwide Institute of Little one Well being and Human Improvement (NICHD) Fetal Progress Research, instructed a detrimental impact of caffeine consumption throughout being pregnant, at the same time as little as 50 mg, the quantity in a half-cup of espresso, per day, on the peak and weight of the infant at delivery. The proportion of infants born weighing lower than 2.5 kg at delivery, or low delivery weight (LBW) infants, was larger following caffeine consumption, largely as a result of decreased delivery size and a discount in lean tissue mass.

Conversely, different research have proven will increase within the price of toddler weight acquire, the toddler physique mass index (BMI), and charges of weight problems in kids with growing caffeine consumption. The intention of the present research, known as the Environmental Influences on Little one Well being Outcomes (ECHO-FGS) research, was to comply with up on prior analysis carried out in part of the offspring cohort from the NICHD Fetal Progress Research–Singletons.

The ECHO-FGS research was carried out at ten websites from 2017 to 2019, with over a thousand mother-infant dyads from the NICHD Fetal Progress Research–Singletons cohort. Each overweight and normal-weight moms had been included, together with their kids between 4 and eight years of age. The ladies got here from numerous backgrounds.

The researchers additionally carried out a high-caffeine publicity research. This was the Collaborative Perinatal Challenge (CPP) at 12 websites on pregnant ladies and their offspring.

For each units of individuals, age- and sex-normalized BMI was calculated together with z scores for BMI, weight, and top when it comes to the approximate variations in standardized weight and top at seven years, this being the time level for a go to within the CPP and the imply age of measurement for the ECHO-FGS.

Caffeine is quickly metabolized within the physique, largely to paraxanthine. Within the first trimester, this happens inside three hours however could take as much as ten hours by late being pregnant. Due to this fact, the researchers elected to measure each caffeine and paraxanthine ranges to detect any affiliation with youngster progress.

What did the research present?

Within the ECHO-FGS research, the bottom caffeine focus was in ladies from Black backgrounds, sometimes youthful and nulliparous, single or having no companions, and with a decrease social and academic background in addition to a decrease revenue degree. The kids had been roughly seven years previous on the time of the research, on common, with a few quarter being over the BMI criterion for regular.

The median focus of caffeine was ~170 ng/mL, and for paraxanthine, it was ~74 ng/mL, akin to under 50 mg of caffeine consumed per day. Top z scores fell by over a fifth within the fourth quartile of consumption in comparison with the primary between 4 and eight years of age, equal to a shortening by about 1.5 cm on the age of seven years.

Evaluating the third quartile with the primary, the load fell by over 1 / 4 within the former cohort, which meant the youngsters had been 1.1 kg lighter, on common, at seven years. Comparable findings had been current for paraxanthine.

No distinction was noticed within the BMI, fats mass or fats share, ruling out any improve within the danger of weight problems or obese for both caffeine or paraxanthine.

Within the CPP research, median concentrations for caffeine and paraxanthine had been a lot larger, as anticipated, at 625 and 296 ng/mL, respectively, corresponding to 2 cups of espresso a day. When analyzed by quintile, the youngsters born to these with the bottom quintile of consumption had been taller than these whose moms fell into the best consumption.

The distinction in top elevated till the tip of the research at eight years of age, from 16% at 4 years to 37% at eight years. The kids within the lowest-consumption quintile had been 0.7 to 2.2 cm taller than these within the highest-consumption quintile at this level, in different phrases. Nevertheless, there was no important distinction in weight between the quintiles.

The BMI was larger for these born to ladies within the second and third quintiles at seven and eight years of age. In each research, the intercourse of the kid didn’t have an effect on these associations.

What are the implications?

The findings that each caffeine and paraxanthine concentrations in maternal blood had been related to lesser youngster stature as much as the age of eight years, in two totally different cohorts, with totally different patterns of caffeine consumption are important. The discount is just like that noticed with maternal smoking in being pregnant.

Other than top discount, youngster weight was decreased with growing consumption however solely within the third quartile and third quintile within the ECHO-FGS and CPP research, respectively.

It’s of concern that “maternal caffeine consumption is related to long-term decreases in youngster top even with maternal consumption under present suggestions of 200 mg day.”

Earlier research have proven {that a} failure to realize top usually is linked to a better danger of cardiac and metabolic illness, in addition to with grownup weight problems and diabetes. The mechanism could possibly be through direct results of caffeine and paraxanthine on the fetus, as each cross the placenta however can’t be metabolized by the fetus. Elevated maternal glucocorticoid secretion as a result of caffeine, with inhibition of fetal glucocorticoid breakdown pathways, may additionally play a job within the build-up of caffeine and its metabolites within the fetus.

This might have an effect on the endocrine regulation of fetal progress through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis or by boosting insulin results within the fetus as a result of glucocorticoid-induced insulin sensitivity. This helps the developmental paradigm of well being and illness mediated by metabolic derangements in fetal life.

Within the research which preceded the present one, the identical researchers reported a possible for such dysregulation of metabolism within the type of intact fats mass however decreased lean mass with caffeine publicity.

Some researchers have discovered that with larger caffeine consumption, the load elevated over time, in comparison with a lessening over time with low consumption. It’s noteworthy that no such danger for weight problems or obese was discovered within the kids on this research. This might counsel that as much as a sure threshold, caffeine consumption by the mom could not have an effect on the load of the kid positively however could also be linked to decrease weight.

Future analysis in caffeine consumption throughout being pregnant ought to comply with youngster progress into puberty and past to find out whether or not top gaps proceed to widen into maturity, and whether or not shorter top related to maternal caffeine consumption confers higher danger for cardiometabolic dysfunction.”

Journal reference:

  • Gleason, J. et al. (2022) “Affiliation of Maternal Caffeine Consumption Throughout Being pregnant With Little one Progress”, JAMA Community Open, 5(10), p. e2239609. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.39609.
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