Cue the mom guilt – new research has found a link between drinking coffee while pregnant and overweight children

You’ve probably heard that drinking one or two cups of coffee a day while pregnant is okay, but now a new study could make us rethink this.

Researchers found that even moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy – one to two cups per day – is related to a risk of overweight or obesity in school-age children.

While it’s not known is caffeine is the direct cause, the link alone is reason enough for caution.

“There may be good cause to increase the restriction of the recommended maximum of three cups of coffee per day. Caffeine is not a medicine that needs to be consumed,” says Verena Sengpiel, Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, and specialist physician at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

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Even drinking one to two cups of coffee a day increases the risk of obesity in school-age children

Over 50 000 women and children studied

Researchers studied information on 50 943 pregnant women and their children, who were tracked for eight years, in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa).

They found that children born to mothers who consumed caffeine during pregnancy are at greater risk of being overweight at preschool and school ages.

In previous animal studies, where embryos were exposed to caffeine in the womb, researchers found excess growth and cardiometabolic disease in the offspring.

Related: Childhood obesity: A wake-up call for parents

What’s the harm in a little puppy fat?

Being overweight as a child isn’t just about kids being teased – there are long-term health implications.

Numerous studies have proven that tipping the scales as a child means an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes later in life.

“Even if more studies are needed before we can say what this finding really means, caffeine is a substance of which you can choose to reduce consumption or completely refrain from during pregnancy,” notes Verena Sengpiel.

Source: University of Gothenburg via

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.