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Caffeine Intake for Both Men and Women Linked to Miscarriage

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It seems like there’s a new study every day that “proves” something about the food we eat–to the point where it seems like nothing is safe. Apparently, a new study has linked caffeine intake with miscarriage. For any rabid coffee drink (like me!), this can be disappointing news, to say the least.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development led the study and found that people who drink three of more cups of a caffeinated beverage a day when trying to become pregnant are more than twice as likely to miscarriage early on. This time, the study isn’t targeting only women–the intake goes equally for both men and women. This is monumental in itself, because it is one of the first studies to show that what men consume also affects fertility, according to TODAY. Germaine Buck Louis of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development stated:

“There’s something about drinking caffeinated beverages that is associated with pregnancy loss. Our findings provide useful information for couples who are planning a pregnancy and who would like to minimize their risk for early pregnancy loss. 

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’.”

The study also found that women who took multivitamins before they got pregnant and early in their pregnancy were 50% less likely to miscarry. The research was based on the study of 344 couples in Texas and Michigan who consented to be observed as they tried to conceive–they chronicled what they ate, drank, and gave urine, saliva, blood, and semen samples.

What they found: 28% of the pregnancies ended in miscarriage, with 98 in total. Women aged 35 and older had twice the risk than younger women, which is not surprising; drinking three or more caffeinated beverages a day increased miscarriage by 74% in the participants.

It’s important to note that the study did not monitor what the participants ate or drank besides alcohol and caffeinated beverages, so of course, some of the data can be affected by other factors. Like anything else, moderation is key, as not to say all caffeine intake is negative–Dr. Zev Williams of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a spokesman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists pointed out:

“So many studies, including this one, show that one to two cups of caffeine is not harmful.

And what I do end up seeing not infrequently, an effort to really be as thorough as possible, a lot of women will go cold turkey on caffeine. And what ends up happening is invariably these women will then develop rebound headaches and take medications to treat the headaches. Those medications may be harmful.

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. We think this is really good news. We know that vitamins protect against a lot of other adverse pregnancy outcomes.”

The CDC recommends that women planning to become pregnant take folic acid, a type of B vitamin, although warns that not all multivitamins are safe, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about which prenatal vitamin is best.

As with all scientific studies, the data needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as it will take many more trials and studies to answer some of the larger questions.


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