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Drinking This During Pregnancy Could Affect Your Baby's Growth, Science Says

A new study reinforces an important point we believed about a mother's choices during gestation.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

We're aware that a lot of habits during pregnancy can affect a growing baby's health. Now a new study is highlighting the importance for pregnant women to consider avoiding a particular kind of beverage, even in small doses. This, in a time when consumption of it is on the rise.

New data shows that 60% of Americans say they can't live without coffee, with many more people drinking it more than usual since the start of the pandemic. Likewise, tea seems to be even more of a beloved go-to drink than ever, especially because certain types of tea are showing some power in the fight against COVID-19.

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While a lot of new and soon-to-be mothers are aware of how consuming caffeine can keep a growing baby from resting peacefully,  a new study published in the peer-reviewed JAMA Network Open has found that consuming caffeine during pregnancy was "significantly associated" with babies' size at birth. Specifically, the study abstract lists "lower birth weight, shorter length, and smaller head, arm, and thigh circumference" as those that were correlated with the mother's caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

It's also important to note that this data applied even to babies whose mothers had consumed less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (about two eight-ounce cups of coffee). Previously, some experts had suggested that drinking less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day was safe.

It's always a good idea to talk with your doctor to learn the diet choices and nutrition needs that are just right for you and your baby.

Meanwhile, if a little added mental clarity could come in handy lately, check out the 5 best drinks to clear brain fog. And for the latest food and nutrition news each day, sign up for the Eat This, Not That! newsletter.

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more
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