During your pregnancy, you’re likely doing everything you can to stay fit and healthy for you and baby, from chowing down on pregnancy power meals to fitting in time to work out. But, according to a new study, there’s one small thing — hint, you probably do it to your morning coffee — that might be a direct contributor to your baby having an above average body mass index (BMI).

pregnant woman coffee

According to the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study, which studied more than 3,000 mother-infant pairs during their pregnancy and up to the infant’s first birthday, the infants of women who consumed artificial sweetener during their pregnancy were more likely to have a higher BMI and risk to be overweight by age one.

Women who participated in the study filled out a food frequency questionnaire to determine how often artificially sweetened and sugar-sweetened beverages were consumed. More than a quarter of women consumed artificially sweetened beverages during pregnancy, including over five percent who reported daily consumption. At the end of the study, 5.1 percent of infants at their first birthday were overweight.

Happy pregnant woman licking spoong with yogurt

The results are the first human evidence that there could be a direct link between the two. Previously, only animal studies have suggested a correlation. And with childhood obesity on the rise and the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in our day-to-day lives, we’re hoping more research on the topic helps to inform pregnant women of the best dietary plan for them and their pregnancy.

Do you use artificial sweetener? Tweet us what for @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)