A new study links miscarriages with caffeine, whether consumed by the mother or her sex partner before conception or by the mother early in pregnancy, said the National Institutes of Health.
Researchers found that a woman was more likely to miscarry if she and her partner consumed more than two caffeinated drinks a day during the weeks leading up to conception, said an NIH news release
on the study.
The study also found that women who consumed more than two caffeinated drinks daily during the first seven weeks of pregnancy were more likely to miscarry as well.
"Our findings provide useful information for couples who are planning a pregnancy and who would like to minimize their risk for early pregnancy loss," said Dr. Germaine Buck Louis, at the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
"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 did not prove cause and effect, said website Live Science
, but only connected the association between caffeine consumption and miscarriages. Live Science said that while other studies have pointed to such links, the "potential mechanism" has not been determined.
"It could be, for instance, that already-difficult pregnancies might lead a woman to drink more coffee than in healthy ones–food aversions and nausea are more common in healthy pregnancies, so they might steer a woman away from a harsh drink like coffee," said Forbes
in its reporting on the study.
"But that explanation is less likely, since caffeine consumption before pregnancy, and in both sexes, was also linked to miscarriage. Which suggests there may be something about the caffeine itself that's linked to a less healthy pregnancy."
Researchers examined data from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study for their results, said the NIH. That study looked at the relationship between fertility, lifestyle, and exposure to environmental chemicals.
The LIFE study enrolled 501 couples from four counties in Michigan and 12 counties in Texas, from 2005 to 2009, said the NIH.
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