Too Much Caffeine Makes Risk Of Miscarriage Jump, Even When Dad Consumes

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
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The risk of miscarriage goes up whether it’s mom or dad having too much caffeine before conception

For years, doctors have advised pregnant women to either limit or entirely avoid caffeine. However, a recent study suggests that couples who drink more than a little caffeine before conception are more likely to miscarry. That’s right — couples. The risks associated with consuming caffeine were found to be equal for both men and women. The even more shocking part? The risk of losing a pregnancy because of caffeine consumption is a lot higher than you’d think.

According to Today, a study led by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that the risk of miscarriage increased by a staggering 74% with the consumption of more than three caffeinated beverages per day, during conception or afterward. Germaine Buck Louis, one of the researchers, says, “Our findings also indicate that the male partner matters, too. Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females’.”

Wow. 74% is not just a statistical aberration. Three quarters of the study participants who miscarried is a highly significant and overwhelming statistic. This study is incredibly unique as it’s the first of its kind to show that not only is caffeine intake absolutely correlated with a higher risk of miscarriage, but that it proves what men consume can also affect fertility.

However, there is good news. This study also found that taking a multivitamin helps reduce risk of miscarriage overall. Louis says, “We were really surprised at how strong the reduction in risk was. We think this is really good news. We know that vitamins protect against a lot of other adverse pregnancy outcomes.”

And as with almost everything involving the pregnancy and preconception diet rules, moderation is still what most professionals will recommend. Dr. Zev Williams of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a spokesman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists notes that “a little caffeine” is OK. “So many studies, including this one, show that one to two cups of caffeine is not harmful.”

He goes on to explain that when women quit caffeine cold turkey and get withdrawal headaches, they may take pain relievers which can also harm an early pregnancy concluding, “So, it’s probably better to just have one to two cups of coffee a day and avoid to having those medications to treat a rebound caffeine withdrawal headache than to go completely cold turkey.”

This is a lot of information for would-be parents to digest. Caffeine is OK, but not too much. But don’t give it up all at once, because that could prove harmful too. At this point you may be wondering, what is a couple trying to have a baby to do? Dr. Rebecca Starck of the Cleveland Clinic boils it down saying, “Anybody of childbearing age who is contemplating pregnancy should maintain a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle and someone who is going to conceive should be aware of effects of lifestyle on the offspring.”

That sounds like common sense and is probably what most couples planning to become pregnant soon are already doing. The interesting part of this study is definitely that it’s couples and not just women. For a couple to produce a healthy pregnancy, it’s ideal for both parties to be as healthy as possible. For women giving up any number of things in order to have a healthy pregnancy, this is welcome news. Having a partner in some of those restrictions sure would be nice instead of sitting there with your lame bottled water while your husband happily sips his third coffee of the day.

Couples trying to conceive can take this information and do with it as they will. At least it’s there. As Today points out, every study like this builds on the ones before it and answers more and more questions. Even though it can be overwhelming, we’re fortunate to live in a time where science is telling us so much about what we should (and shouldn’t) do in order to have the most healthful pregnancy possible.

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