The link between the caffeine intake of expectant mothers and low birth-weight babies is being explored in a groundbreaking study which will, for the first time, link caffeine intake with individual variations in metabolism - or breakdown - of caffeine.
Research has suggested too much caffeine during pregnancy - over five cups of ordinary strength coffee a day - could increase the risk of having a low birth-weight baby. These babies are at greater risk from a range of problems in later life, including developmental delay in childhood and high blood pressure in adulthood, making this an important relationship to understand. Many previous studies have not, however, included an accurate measure of caffeine intake or taken into account other factors, such as a person’s individual metabolism of caffeine.
The CARE study is looking for the first time at the relationship between caffeine intake from a variety of sources, caffeine metabolism during pregnancy and the risk of having a low birth-weight baby. Dr Sara Kirk (below right) from the University’s Nutritional Epidemiology Group explains: “Caffeine is present in many products from chocolate to over-the-counter medications such as flu remedies. It’s also hard to measure a person’s caffeine intake as caffeine levels in drinks vary from one cup of coffee or tea to another.”
Hannah Love | alfa
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