Study Has Just Linked Caffeine With Pregnancy Loss
There are a lot of us java addicts out there who would struggle to make it through the day without our fix.
But can overdoing it with caffeine be harmful?
A new US study has now linked caffeine with miscarriages, and found that people who drink 'more than a little caffeine' when they're trying for a pregnancy, are at higher risk of suffering an early miscarriage, the study found.
What is perhaps the most interesting find, according to the scientists, is that this applies equally to men or women.
When either men or women drank three or more cups a day of caffeinated drinks before pregnancy — sodas, energy drinks or coffee — the woman was nearly twice as likely to lose that pregnancy early on. And if women consumed more caffeine after they conceived, they were also more likely than those who consumed little or none caffeine to miscarry.
According to NBC News, this is one of the most detailed studies yet to look at something that has been noted for a while now — that high caffeine intake seems to be linked with pregnancy loss. And it's one of the first studies to show that what men eat or drink can affect fertility too.
Their findings come out of an intensive study of 344 couples in Texas and Michigan who all agreed to be watched as they were trying to conceive. The couples wrote down every caffeinated drink they had, (as well as every serving of fish, every alcoholic drink, were weighed regularly, gave urine, blood, saliva and semen samples and the women took regular pregnancy tests.)
The idea: to see what might affect a woman's ability to get pregnant and stay pregnant.
"Our findings also indicate that the male partner matters too," said Germaine Buck Louis of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, who led the study. "There's something about drinking caffeinated beverages that is associated with pregnancy loss."
Of the 344 pregnancies, 28 percent of them ended in miscarriage: 98 in total, the team reports int he journal Fertility and Sterility.
Women who were over 35 had twice the risk of an early miscarriage as younger women - something that has been well-known for years. But more surprisingly, drinking three or more caffeinated beverages a day raised the risk of early pregnancy loss by 74 percent. That held whether it was before conception or afterwards.
It is worth noting, though, that the study did not look for differences among various caffeinated drinks, but lumped coffee and tea together with sodas and energy drinks, something the study has come under criticism for.
And it is also worth mentioning that most medical professionals agree that a little coffee is fine when you are pregnant, just don't overdo it.
"So many studies, including this one, show that one to two cups of caffeine is not harmful," explains Dr Zev Williams of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and a spokesman for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to NBC News.
"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," added Williams, who was not involved in the study.
The doctor also points out that many pregnancies naturally end in miscarriages, and was skeptical to whether or not this was sufficiently taken into account in the study.
It is absolutely worth noting that one very interesting find the study concluded with, which the researchers all were keen to stress the importance of, was how important taking a multivitamin before conception and while pregnant is.
As with all medical and scientific studies, each one builds on the other, and it will take larger studies to answer some of the questions this one left open.
If you have suffered a miscarriage and want information or talk to someone about it, the Miscarriage Association of Ireland organize regular regional meetings around the country and can also be contacted by phone. Find more information here.
Did YOU cut coffee while you were pregnant? Or was your morning latte a life-saver? Let us know in the comments or tweet us at @Herfamilydotie