Study: Caffeine during pregnancy doesn't affect behavioral development in child

As the mornings get colder, expectant moms may be more inclined to drink a hot cup of coffee or tea when they get up. Caffeine is one of those things that women may not be exactly sure if they can consume during pregnancy. However, there's evidence that it does not affect the child's behavior.

Moms-to-be may be able to safely drink caffeine in moderation

According to a study that was published in the journal Pediatrics, there was no evidence found indicating that maternal caffeine consumption is linked to behavioral issues observed in 5-year-old kids. Dutch researchers surveyed approximately 8,200 mothers about how much caffeine they regularly consumed while pregnant, whether in coffee, tea or cola. Five to six years later, they asked moms and teachers to follow up on the kids' overall behavior. They found no direct correlation between caffeine intake during pregnancy and the child exhibiting behavioral problems, but aren't confirming that the substance is safe.

"Animal studies suggest that caffeine would be problematic for the fetus, but the human studies I am aware of do not suggest any such association," Lauren Riley, M.D., the director of obstetrics and gynecology infectious disease at Massachusetts General Hospital, told HealthDay News.

However, since many factors can determine why a child has behavioral issues, more research needs to be performed on this topic.

If concerned, talk to your doctor

While women may not have to deprive themselves of a steaming hot cup of joe, they should be wary about the quantity of caffeine that they consume per day. If you have one serving to jump start your morning, maybe make the next one decaffeinated.

Some moms-to-be may be worried that reducing or stopping caffeine intake may cause withdrawal symptoms and make them fatigued during the day. If you're one of them, talk to your healthcare provider and consider weaning yourself off of caffeinated beverages before conceiving.

Previous studies have been conducted on caffeine and pregnancy, some of which have analyzed whether the addictive substance may increase a woman's likelihood of having a miscarriage when consumed in large quantities. In this scenario, researchers have observed more positive results that indicated an association between the two variables.

What are your thoughts on caffeine consumption during pregnancy? Do you think women should cut it out of their diets if they're expecting? Leave your answers in the comments section!