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Study: Caffeine consumption before pregnancy affects miscarriage risk

In addition to finding caffeine consumption can increase miscarriage risk, the NIH study found multivitamin use can lower the chance for miscarriage.

By Stephen Feller
Study: Caffeine consumption before pregnancy affects miscarriage risk
While pregnant women have long been warned about caffeine consumption during pregnancy, a woman's consumption before conception, as well as her partner's, can increase risk for miscarriage, according to a new study. Photo by antoniodiaz/Shutterstock

BETHESDA, Md., March 24 (UPI) -- A woman is more likely to miscarry if her and her partner drink two or more cups of coffee daily before conceiving, and women who drink more than two caffeinated drinks per day in the early weeks of pregnancy also increase their risk for miscarraige, according to new research.

In addition to the findings on caffeine consumption, researchers at Ohio State University and the National Institutes of Health found multivitamin use can reduce the chances of miscarriage if taken before conception.

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While researchers said the study does not prove caffeine consumption before pregnancy increases miscarriage risk, the association with an increased chance makes it more likely that caffeine consumption can directly contribute to loss of pregnancy.

"Our findings also indicate that the male partner matters, too," Dr. Germaine Buck Louis, director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the National Institutes of Health, said in a press release. "Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females'"

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For the study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, researchers recruited 344 couples, asking them to record daily use of cigarettes, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages and multivitamins, measuring pregnancy loss based on negative home pregnancy tests, onset of menses or clinical confirmation that a pregnancy has been lost.

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Overall, 28 percent of the pregnancies ended in miscarriage. The risk for miscarriage increased by 74 percent for women and 73 percent for men based on either's consumption of caffeinated beverages. For women who took multivitamins, starting before consumption and continuing through the first several weeks of pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage dropped by 55 percent.

"Our findings provide useful information for couples who are planning a pregnancy and who would like to minimize their risk for early pregnancy loss," Buck Louis said.

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