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Coffee & Health

Caffeine exposure during pregnancy , small for gestational birth and neonatal outcome – results from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort

D Modzelewska et al, 2019.
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, Volume 19.
March 1, 2019



Maternal caffeine intake has repeatedly been linked to babies being born small for gestational age (SGA). SGA babies are known to be at increased risk for adverse neonatal outcomes. The aim of this study was to explore the associations between prenatal caffeine exposure and neonatal health.


The study is based on 67,569 full-term singleton mother-infant pairs from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Caffeine consumption from different sources was self-reported in gestational week 22. Neonatal compound outcomes, namely (1) morbidity/mortality and (2) neonatal intervention, were created based on the Medical Birth Registry of Norway. Adjusted logistic regression was performed.


Caffeine exposure was associated to SGA (OR = 1.16, 95%CI: 1.10; 1.23) and being born SGA was significantly associated with neonatal health (OR = 3.09, 95%CI: 2.54; 3.78 for morbidity/mortality; OR = 3.94, 95%CI: 3.50; 4.45 for intervention). However, prenatal caffeine exposure was neither associated with neonatal morbidity/mortality (OR = 1.01, 95%CI: 0.96; 1.07) nor neonatal intervention (OR = 1.02, 95%CI: 1.00; 1.05 for a 100 mg caffeine intake increase). Results did not change after additional adjustment for SGA status.


Moderate prenatal caffeine exposure (< 200 mg/day) does not seem to impair neonatal health, although prenatal caffeine exposure is associated with the child being born SGA and SGA with neonatal health. We suggest diversity in neonatal outcomes of SGA infants according to the underlying cause of low birth weight.

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