Pregnant women are typically told to avoid caffeine. One cup of coffee per day is okay, multiple studies have found, but generally it's in the same category as cocktails and soft cheese -- bad for baby's development. However, researchers in Amsterdam recently concluded that there is no link between caffeine intake during pregnancy and a child’s behavior later in life; they say a cup of Joe might wire mom for the day, but it won’t cause her child to become hyperactive.
Participants in the study (3,400 mothers) 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 -– teachers completed an identical survey. The authors concluded that mothers who drank caffeine during pregnancy did not put their kids at risk for “hyperactivity/inattention problems, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer relationship problems, overall problem behavior, or suboptimal prosocial behavior.”
While the research shows that caffeine intake doesn't cause behavior issues in children, it didn't examine any other developmental problems. In April, when researches found that coffee consumption during pregnancy doesn't affect a baby's sleep patterns, experts still maintained that it isn’t wholly safe -– large amounts of caffeine have been linked to miscarriages and lower birth weights. Currently, the ACOG upholds that up to 200 milligrams (an 8-ounce cup of coffee) a day is okay to drink during pregnancy. Anything greater increases likelihood of complications during your pregnancy.
Caffeine isn’t the only pregnancy no-no that’s been called into question recently. In June, researchers found that moderate consumption of alcohol (up to eight drinks per week) does not affect kids 5 and under. Long-term effects weren’t tested, however, so doctors and experts still encourage an abstinence policy.
Beyond alcohol and caffeine, pregnant woman are handed a laundry list of things to avoid. Below, five pregnancy taboos that are acceptable in moderation:
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