Pregnant Moms Won't Hurt Kids' IQ With Coffee
One or 2 cups a day not linked to lower intelligence or behavioral issues: study
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2015 7:43 AM CST
A barista drinks a cup of coffee during National Coffee Day on Sept. 29, 2015, in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(Newser) – Pregnant women who can't resist a single morning cup of joe don't have to worry about their caffeine habit when it comes to their child's future smarts, per a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Ohio found that moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy wasn't linked to lower IQ scores or increased behavioral problems in young children, Medical Daily reports. "We consider our results to be reassuring for pregnant women who consume moderate amounts of caffeine, or the equivalent to one or two cups of coffee per day," study co-author Sarah Keim says in a press release. The study looked at a caffeine marker called paraxanthine—one of the compounds caffeine breaks down into—in 2,197 women at two different points during their pregnancies, then compared those levels to the child's IQ scores and behavioral assessments at ages 4 and 7.

"We did not find evidence of an adverse association of maternal pregnancy caffeine consumption with child cognition or behavior [at those ages]," study co-author Mark Klebanoff adds. Scientists pulled samples for the study from those collected between 1959 and 1974, when drinking coffee while pregnant wasn't frowned upon as much, per Live Science. The study's results are in line with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' findings that moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200mg, or one to two cups of joe per day) is OK for pregnant women, though it points out that the effects of higher amounts of caffeine are still inconclusive. (The news isn't quite so reassuring for drinking alcohol while pregnant.)