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Doctors investigate caffeine pregnancy risks

Scientists are investigating a possible link between caffeine consumption in pregnancy and cancer.
A new study is exploring the links between drinking caffeine during pregnancy and childhood cancer.

The study by researchers at the University of Leicester and funded by World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) UK involves scrutinising the caffeine intake of hundreds of pregnant women and comparing the results with blood samples from their babies after birth.

Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children, although it is still rare, and medical experts believe that caffeine may damage the DNA of unborn children and make them more susceptible to the disease.

Dr Marcus Cooke, who is leading the research, said: "We want to find out whether consuming caffeine could lead to the sort of DNA changes in the baby that are linked to risk of leukaemia.

"It is vital for mothers that we either confirm caffeine as a trigger that can make something happen to a child while in the womb or rule it out."

The Food Standards Agency already advises pregnant women not to consume more than 200mg of caffeine a day - the equivalent of two cups of coffee - because there is evidence that drinking a lot of caffeine could be a factor in low birth weight.

This advice is also supported by the WCRF UK.

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