No caffeine link to hyperactive behaviour

New research has suggested that Mums should not blame hyperactive behaviour in young children on caffeine consumed during their pregnancy.

Caffeine in pregnancy

by Louise-Anne Geddes, Mindful Mum, 11th July 2012

The study, published online in Pediatrics journal investigated the association between caffeine consumption during pregnancy and behavioural outcomes in children. 3,439 children aged five and six took part in the study, in which the caffeine consumption levels of a community based multi ethnic birth cohort were measured.


At age five, factors including: the child’s overall problem behaviour, emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention problems, peer relationship problems, and pro social behaviour were rated by the child’s mother and teacher, using a strengths and difficulties questionnaire. Analyses were adjusted for maternal age, ethnicity, cohabitant status, education, smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy, child’s gender, family size, and prenatal maternal anxiety. The researchers found that ‘caffeine intake was not associated with a higher risk for behaviour problems or with suboptimal pro social behaviour. No evidence was found for mediation by fetal growth restriction or gestational age, nor for effect modification by the child’s gender’.


The study concluded that ‘results did not provide evidence for developmental programming influences of intrauterine exposure to caffeine on offspring’s problem behaviour at age 5. Present results give no indication to advise pregnant women to reduce their caffeine intake to prevent behaviour problems in their children’.

Source:  Pediatrics Journal, Caffeine Intake During Pregnancy and Risk of Problem Behavior in 5- to 6-Year-Old Children, 9th July 2012

Photography: Aurore D @Flickr

+Louise-Anne Geddes

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