Hyper Kid? Don’t Blame Mom’s Caffeine Cravings

It’s not likely that caffeine intake affects a child’s behavioral problems later in life.

Moms, relax. Just because your child won’t stop bouncing off the walls doesn’t mean you drank too much caffeine while pregnant.

That’s according to new research, which determined that there is no evidence to uphold the association between a kid’s hyperactive behavior and the mother’s caffeine intake during pregnancy. However, it’s worth noting that the researchers did not look for any other possible developmental issues besides behavior, lead researcher Eva M. Loomans told Reuters.

The study involved 3,439 mothers, who reported their caffeine intake (coffee, tea, and soda) at their 16th week of gestation. Once a child turned 5 or 6, the mother and a teacher reported any problems with behavior, emotions, conduct, hyperactivity, and peer relationships.

Researchers found that only 5 percent of the children had some type of behavioral problems, including inattention or hyperactivity. In addition, mothers who drank more than 426 milligrams of caffeine a day—approximately three cups—during pregnancy did not report any increased behavioral problems with their children.

However, the results do not give pregnant women the go-ahead to down that second venti latte. While the findings do suggest that women’s caffeine intake does not affect future behavioral problems in their children, caffeine intake has been linked to other issues with pregnancy, including increased risk of miscarriage.

Still, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement in August 2010 that said moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200 milligrams per day) “does not appear to be a major contributing factor to miscarriage or preterm birth.” And the CDC simply recommends a “reduced or eliminated” caffeine intake during pregnancy.

For now, the researchers advise that it’s best to follow the advice of your doctor.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.