Moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy is generally considered safe. A study has not found any effect on low birth-weight or incidence of premature births. However, although it has been suggested that caffeine may stimulate milk production, cautious mothers may prefer to avoid such beverages during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Furthermore, a large study has not shown any connection of coffee or tea consumption with breast-cancer incidence. Osteoporosis is another condition which particularly affects women. Previous studies have suggested caffeine consumption as a risk-factor, but a recent analysis concludes that such an effect is probably not significant except in conditions of calcium-deficiency, which can be easily corrected.
There is even some actual positive news. The effect of caffeine on the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, which usually affects older people, has been found to be favourable for men. For women, previous results have been confusing; but a recent study suggests that a crucial factor may be the effect of hormone levels. Often caffeine may have a favourable effect against developing this disease; but when combined with hormone replacement therapy (HRT), it may have a negative one.
One study has found (for women) a strong inverse association between coffee intake and risk of suicide. However, even if confirmed, to determine whether this might be actual cause and effect is, as usual, a much more challenging problem.
Grenada, St. George’s,
Anaheim, California, USA
Kiribati, South Tarawa,
Palmerston, Northern Territory, Australia