The study indicated that there is no safe level of caffeine consumption for pregnant women, according to a group of studies reaching 48 over a period of 20 years.
The study concluded that caffeine intake contributes to miscarriage, stillbirth, or perhaps low fetal weight at birth at best, but experts said that these new warnings contradict previous studies that showed moderate amounts of caffeine are safe.
Previous studies show that pregnant women should not consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day, equivalent to two cups of coffee, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), which insisted that this advice not be changed.
On the other hand, the new study presented by the University of Reykjavik in Iceland said that low levels of caffeine contribute to miscarriage by 36% and lead to stillbirth by 19%, while it can reduce fetal weight by up to 51%.
Diseases such as leukemia and childhood obesity were also potential risks for children whose mothers drank drinks that contain high levels of caffeine.
The author of the new study, Professor Jack James, said that thousands of children are harmed each year due to women’s consumption of supposedly safe levels of caffeine, indicating that nearly 70,000 children are affected.
He explained that the body absorbs caffeine quickly, and the peak of concentration occurs within an hour, then it takes about 5 hours for the caffeine levels in the blood to halve, with the level gradually decreasing after that.
James added: “This means that the unborn child can be exposed to the drug for several hours, which has a profound effect on his developing body, such as accelerating the child’s heart rate and narrowing the blood vessels in his brain.”
For his part, a spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dagni Rajasingam, said that women do not need to completely give up tea and coffee during pregnancy, which is advice that will not change.
She added: “Other research, perhaps more confident, found that pregnant women do not need to stop consuming caffeine, because these risks are very small, even if the recommended limits are exceeded.”