Pregnant women have to be careful about what they put in their bodies and a new study from the Norwegian Institute for Public Health lets them know why it's important they give up their morning mocha. Caffeine consumption has now been linked to low birth weights in newborns and longer pregnancies.
Researchers gathered information from 60,000 pregnancies over the course of ten years. They monitored the women's caffeine intake from all sources, including coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate and other desserts. Doctors didn't find a correlation between caffeine intake and preterm labor. What they did find was a correlation between caffeine consumption and infants being small for gestational age at birth (SGA). A fetus who is expected to be of average weight can lose between 21 and 28 g, or about .05 pounds, each day he's exposed to 100 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine also had the added effected of adding time to the pregnancy. Doctors were able to identify that a pregnancy lasted five hours longer per 100 mg of caffeine from any source consumed each day. But caffeine from coffee added eight hours to pregnancy for every 100 mg consumed.
The World Health Organization recommends pregnant women consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day. A cup of regular coffee can contain 95 to 200 mg of caffeine.