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Cohort study
Caffeine is modestly associated with lower birth weight and fetal growth
  1. Elizabeth W Triche1,
  2. Lisbet S Lundsberg2
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology, Brown University, School of Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
  2. 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University, School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Professor Elizabeth W Triche
    Department of Epidemiology, Brown University, School of Medicine, 121 S Main Street, 2nd floor, Box G-S121–2, Providence, RI 02912, USA; Elizabeth_Triche{at}

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Commentary on: Sengpiel V, Elind E, Bacelis J, et al.Maternal caffeine intake during pregnancy is associated with birth weight but not with gestational length: results from a large prospective observational cohort study. BMC Med 2013;11:42.


Caffeine consumption is nearly ubiquitous in western societies. Recent clinical recommendations1 have resulted in decreased caffeine consumption during pregnancy, yet caffeine remains as one of the most common xenobiotic exposures in pregnancy. Numerous studies have addressed the question of whether caffeine exposure in pregnancy affects birth outcomes in a diversity of populations, based on varying methods of exposure assessment, differing proportions of caffeine exposure sources, and assorted methodological limitations. Despite methodological differences, the findings across a number of studies have been quite consistent. The collective body of evidence suggests no association between caffeine consumption and preterm delivery or gestational age at delivery; however, the evidence for fetal growth is more equivocal. Sengpiel and colleagues have addressed this research question …

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