No Joe? Caffeine and Miscarriage Update

US researchers said Monday they have conclusive proof to show that women who drink a lot of caffeine on a daily basis in the early months of pregnancy have an elevated risk of miscarriage, settling a longstanding debate over the issue. To be absolutely safe, expectant mothers should avoid caffeinated beverages of any kind during the first five months of pregnancy, the researchers said in a paper published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The study defined high intake as 200 milligrams or more a day, the equivalent of two 7.5 ounce cups of coffee or five twelve ounce cans of soda. In the study, women who ingested 200 milligrams of caffeine a day had twice the likelihood of miscarriage as those who abstained from caffeine.

Although more than a dozen studies have illustrated a link between caffeine and miscarriage, numbers from earlier research were likely distorted by the number of women who avoided caffeinated beverages early in pregnancy due to morning sickness but drank them in later months. Subjects in this study maintained a constant level of consumption throughout pregnancy.

Though the researchers believe that the first five months of pregnancy are the most vulnerable time for fetal development, they recommend women avoid caffeine throughout pregnancy. Regardless of trimester, caffeine freely crosses the placenta to the fetus, which is unable to process the stimulant. Because caffeine also temporarily narrows blood vessels, blood flow (and its inherent oxygen and nutrients) is reduced to the placenta. They stress that there is no “safe” dose of caffeine during pregnancy.

We here at MDA understand the lure of our good friend, Joe, and we’ve even sung his praises for the flavonoids he offers. (Not to leave out tea and cocoa: we love you too, guys. Soda, not so much. Sorry, Charlie.) But this study is a useful (albeit unpopular) wake-up call (pardon the pun) to expectant moms everywhere. As recently as a couple of years ago, doctors were largely still citing an older Danish study that suggested up to four cups of coffee a day was acceptable. It pays to be a skeptic!

What’s a gal to do without the extra motivation in the morning? Check out this week’s entry on “Natural Energy Elevators,” and talk to your doctor or midwife about your ideas for kick starting your day.

via Yahoo! Health

ingorr Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

Tea Time

HealthScout: Caffeine for Preemies

diet blog: How Much Caffeine in Starbucks Coffee

[tags]caffeine, miscarriage, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology[/tags]

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6 thoughts on “No Joe? Caffeine and Miscarriage Update”

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  1. I know that these researchers mean the best–or at least want to do something to continue to get their research grants–but every time a study like this comes out, it makes me wonder how the human species survived before we knew such things as these studies uncover.

  2. I’m sure there will be a lot of media buzz about this study. I followed the Yahoo link, which led ot another article with a few more details. But I was disappointed to find no link to the actual study. I did learn that Kaiser Permanente did the study on 1000 pregnant women patients who consumed caffeine as they saw fit, but how was the study conducted? Recall questionaires (notoriosly inaccurate) or daily food logs (somewhat more accurate) or another method? Did Kaiser fund the study or someone else? Do women who voluntarily reduce or stop consuming caffeine also reduce or stop other behaviors that are deemed “risky” or “potentially risky” for miscarriage or pregnancy harm? It was impossible to tell if that was accounted for in the study. I find it hard to take these sorts of news releases seriously without more detail.

  3. Yeah, like Katie, I have to wonder about our mothers and grandmothers who drank coffee all day, every day. Sure, they had miscarriages, but there could be so many other reasons for these events, and we’ll never know what actually caused the problem because it was so many years in the past.

    Then again, I find myself wondering the same thing about alcohol during pregnancy, lead paint, mercury thermometers, and a host of other things our species has done or used for a long time and continued to reproduce successfully. I think Gary Taubes is right – public health authorities DO dumb things down to be effective in reaching the largest number of people.

    Having said that, if I ever get pregnant, I don’t plan to drink, smoke (I don’t anyway), take any drugs that I can possible avoid, be around lead dust, or drink coffee, and I will reluctantly but dutifully take a folate supplement, even though I already get the USRDA of folate through diet. But I have to wonder if all this is overkill.

  4. I am a skeptic and when I hear “conclusive proof” and really have to wonder. I am sure that this was not a randomized control trial so I have to wonder about other factors involved. At the very least, a study of 1,000 cases will need to be replicated before we can start throwing around terms like “conclusive proof.”

    Having said that, we should all stay under 400-500mg/day and keep it 1-2 cups o’ joe for those that are pregnant to play it safe.

  5. so one cup of coffee still allow right? I love coffee very much and at the same time i do love my baby more than coffee but if one cup ok, then it make my life more happy 😀