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Systematic review and meta-analysis
Review: higher caffeine intake during pregnancy increases risk of low birth weight
  1. Jack E James
  1. Department of Psychology, Reykjavík University, Reykjavík, Iceland; School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to : Professor Jack E James, Department of Psychology, Reykjavík University, Menntavegur 1, Reykjavík 101, Iceland; jack{at}

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Implications for practice and research

  • The findings indicate that caffeine intake should be avoided during pregnancy.

  • Research is needed to clarify how advice on caffeine abstinence should be framed to be most effective and to evaluate the actual effectiveness of such advice.


Caffeine is a widely consumed psychoactive substance. Although controversy exists concerning some implications of caffeine consumption during pregnancy, questions concerning maternal caffeine and low birth weight have been largely settled. This study adds further weight to an otherwise consistent conclusion. Using meta-analysis involving 13 prospective studies consisting of more than 100 000 participants from Europe, Canada or the USA, Chen and colleagues assessed …

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  • Competing interests None.