It’s been known for some time that pregnant women should not consume more than a small amount of caffeine each day to reduce the risk of miscarriages and other pregnancy-related problems.
Now, a study has found that lowering the caffeine intake of male partners before conception may be just as important in preventing miscarriages. The findings by researchers at the National Institutes of Health were published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
A miscarriage is defined as a spontaneous fetal loss before the twentieth week of pregnancy. Generally, between 15 and 20 out of every 100 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.
The study looked at 98 couples who experienced miscarriages to determine what factors might have been at work. Women who consumed more than two caffeinated beverages a day in the weeks before conception were 74 percent more like to experience a miscarriage than those who consumed less.
But researchers found that caffeine consumption among men also matters. Couples with a male partner who consumed more than two caffeinated beverages a day were 73 percent more likely to experience a miscarriage than those whose male partner ingested less caffeine.
While previous studies have also found an association between caffeine consumption and miscarriage, this was the first study to show caffeine intake can be a direct cause of miscarriages rather than just an indicator of an unhealthy pregnancy.
So, if you’re planning on starting a family soon, now is the time to think about cutting back on the caffeine. And don’t fret. Once the baby arrives and the sleep-deprivation begins, you can ramp up the caffeine — you’ll need it.