Pregnant women who are addicted to carbonated and non-carbonated soft drinks could be at an increased risk of a pre-term delivery, a new study conducted by researchers in Denmark suggests.

The study, published in the latest issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, has been scoffed at by an organization representing the beverage trade who claim that the study does not demostrate the cause and effect of artificially sweetened soft drinks.

In fact, both the researchers and the trade body asks women not to be alarmed and believes that more research is required before any firm conclusions can be drawn from the reports currently made available by the study team.

The research team, led by Thorhallur I. Halldorsson of the Centre for Fetal Programming at Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, says that they observed an association between consumption of artificially sweetened soft drinks and the risk of a pre-term delivery.

The lead researcher further suggests that higher intake of such drinks could be non-optimal for pregnant women though it may require further studies to actually prove the case beyond doubt. The team believes that a single observational study was not enough to justify the inferences though it may be reasonable enough to suggest that pregnant women have these soft drinks in moderation.

Meanwhile, the American Beverage Association based out of Washington D.C. believes the published reports about the study could actually create unnecessary concern among pregnant women. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of the association says in a statement that, ""This study raises unnecessary concern among pregnant women; the authors themselves acknowledge that their findings cannot demonstrate cause and effect."

The association asserts that pregnant women should seek out and consult with health care providers and come to their own conclusions.