Prenatal Caffeine Intake, Problem Behavior in Kids Not Linked

Caroline Cassels

July 12, 2012

July 12, 2012 — Caffeine consumption during pregnancy does not increase the risk for behavior problems in offspring, new research shows.

A community-based birth cohort study conducted by investigators at Tilburg University in the Netherlands showed that dietary caffeine intake, including intake of coffee, tea, and cola, was not associated with a higher risk for behavior problems, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, in young children.

"Prenatal maternal dietary caffeine intake was not associated with a higher risk for hyperactivity/inattention problems, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer relationship problems, suboptimal prosocial behavior, and overall problem behavior in their 5-year-old offspring," the investigators, with first author Eva M. Loomans, write.

The study was published online July 9 in Pediatrics.

According to the article, previous research investigating a potential link between caffeine intake during pregnancy and behavior problems has been "scant and inconclusive."

To investigate this association, the researchers conducted a prospective study examining maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy and children's problem behavior at age 5 to 6 years.

Study participants included pregnant women recruited into the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) study between January 2003 and March 2004 during their first visit with an obstetric care provider.

The study data were derived from 3439 women who completed questionnaires about sociodemographic, obstetric, lifestyle, and psychosocial conditions and whose children underwent a comprehensive behavioral assessment at age 5 years. These data were correlated with information on pregnancy outcome from 2 central registries.

Analyses were adjusted for maternal age, ethnicity, cohabitant status, education, and smoking and alcohol consumption as well as the child's sex, family size, and prenatal maternal anxiety.

According to the authors, the findings provide "insight into what extent caffeine consumption during pregnancy contributes to the development of problem behavior.

"Our results did not provide evidence to advise pregnant women to reduce their caffeine intake to prevent problem behavior in their children."

The authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Pediatrics. Published online July 9, 2012. Abstract

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