Caffeine is found naturally in foods and drinks such as chocolate, tea and coffee beans, however, it is also added to certain consumer products like energy drinks, certain soft drinks and even cough and flu medication.
While it is known that too much caffeine consumption during pregnancy is not either for a number of reasons, including higher risks of miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women, but can do harm after a baby has been born.
A new study, that collected and examined data from 37 different previous studies found that caffeine was not safe to be consumed while pregnant or during pregnancy and advised that women who are pregnant should not be consuming caffeine.
Professor Jack James at Iceland's Reykjavik University conducted the study alongside his colleagues and what they found was astonishing. Stating that caffeine significantly increases the risk of issues that can arise during pregnancy or even after an infant has been born; including the risk of a child developing leukaemia or becoming obese.
Professor James included in his conclusion:
Current advice such as that issued by... the NHS is not consistent with the level of threat indicated by biological plausibility of harm and extensive empirical evidence of actual harm. Accordingly, current health recommendations concerning caffeine consumption during pregnancy are in need of radical revision. Specifically, the cumulative scientific evidence supports pregnant women and women contemplating pregnancy being advised to avoid caffeine.
Quitting caffeine, a divided scientific community
While James' study suggests that women who are pregnant or that are looking to become pregnant should be staying away from caffeine altogether, there are others that disagree.
The spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Daghni Rajasingham stated:
The findings of this study add to the large body of evidence that supports limited caffeine intake during pregnancy, but pregnant women do not need to completely cut out caffeine, as this paper suggests. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' advice to limit caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day - the equivalent to two cups of instant coffee - still stands
This paper does not supersede all the other evidence that has found that a limited intake of caffeine is safe for the majority of pregnancy women.