Aim: To determine the association between intrauterine exposure to timing and sources of caffeine and inattention/overactivity, suggesting ADHD in the child.
Method: This study used prospectively collected data from the large population-based study, The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa). Participants were 25 343 mothers and their 18-month-old children. Mothers reported on consumption of a number of caffeine sources at the 17th week and 30th week of gestation, as well as child inattention/overactivity at 18 months. Data were analysed using univariate analyses of covariance (ancova).
Results: Once we controlled for confounders, there was a small effect of caffeine intake at 17th week of gestation on inattention/overactivity combined, and both 17th and 30th week of gestation on overactivity, when investigated separately from inattention. Surprisingly, the caffeine effect was only found for soft drinks, not tea or coffee.
Conclusion: Intrauterine exposure to soft drinks rather than coffee, the traditional focus, is associated with maternal reports of overactive behaviour in children aged 18 months.