Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health found in a recent study that consuming low amounts of caffeine during pregnancy could lead to health benefits.
Researchers used data from 2,529 pregnant participants to investigate the relationship between early to mid-pregnancy caffeine intake and maternal health risks, Penn Medicine News reported. Issues the researchers examined included gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and gestational hypertension.
According to the study, consuming moderate amounts of caffeinated beverages during the second trimester was associated with a 47% reduction in gestational diabetes risk. No associations were observed with preeclampsia or GH and caffeine.
Stefanie Hinkle, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Penn, was the lead author of the study, which aimed to analyze the associations between maternal cardiometabolic outcomes — chances of experiencing a cardiovascular event like a heart attack — and caffeine.
While the researchers completed the analysis in 2021, they drew from data in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Fetal Growth Studies-Singleton Cohort from 2009 to 2013. During this period, the participants had reported their weekly intake of caffeinated beverages.
Researchers also measured the concentration of caffeine in their plasma 10 to 13 weeks into their pregnancies, Penn Medicine News reported.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption based on previous studies suggesting higher caffeine levels could endanger maternal and fetal health. These studies, however, are based on limited data, Penn Medicine News reported.
“It would not be advised for women who are non [caffeine] drinkers to initiate caffeinated beverage consumption for the purpose of lowering gestational diabetes risk,” Hinkle told Penn Medicine News. “But our findings may provide some reassurance to women who already are consuming low to moderate levels of caffeine that such consumption likely will not increase their maternal health risks.”