Researchers at the Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) suggest that consuming caffeine during pregnancy can change important brain pathways in the fetus that could lead to future behavior problems .
To reach this conclusion, they analyzed more than 9,000 brain scans of nine and ten-year-olds .
Small but relevant changes
Previous studies have found that caffeine can have a negative effect on pregnancy and neurodevelopment. It is also known that a fetus does not have the necessary enzyme to break down caffeine when it crosses the placenta. This new study reveals that caffeine may also have a lasting impact on neurodevelopment.
The changes are not drastic and the behavior problems are not severe, but they are relevant, according to John Foxe , lead author of the study. Basically, attention difficulties and hyperactivity were detected.
The researchers note that it is also unclear whether the impact of caffeine on the fetal brain varies from trimester to trimester, or when these structural changes occur during pregnancy. Also, as they warn:
It is important to note that this is a retrospective study. We trust mothers to remember how much caffeine they consumed during pregnancy.