A recently released Dutch study suggests that that extra coffee consumed prior to knowing about a pregnancy is not the reason for a child’s future behavior. A questionnaire regarding amount of caffeine consumption was administered to 8,200 pregnant women, with follow-up from 3,439 families when the child was 5 or 6 years old. Data suggest there is no relation between caffeine consumption and behavioral concerns, although several United States researchers are cautioning women that a singular study is not enough to show that no link exists.
Although this study may suggest that there is not a relation between caffeine consumption and behavioral concerns, the NIH continues to recommend that pregnant women consume low levels of caffeine, if any, based on a link to low birth weight and the increased risk of miscarriage. Animal studies continue to suggest a relation between caffeine and later behaviors including increased impulsivity, causing researchers to suggest that additional research is necessary in humans. Ideally, a double-blind study would be conducted; however, if sufficient research suggests that high doses of caffeine are linked to miscarriages and physiological symptoms, such a study cannot ethically be conducted. Overall, it is important to discuss caffeine consumption guidelines when pregnant with a doctor, rather than rely on a singular study to determine safe levels of caffeine.