It’s common advice for women to curb excess caffeine consumption while pregnant. But both you—and your partner—might want to consider cutting caffeinated beverages out of your diets if you’re trying to conceive, too. According to new research from the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University, drinking two or more caffeinated beverages in the weeks before conception may heighten the risk of miscarriage, whether it was by the woman herself or her partner.
For the study, published in Fertility and Sterility, researchers looked at 344 pregnant or soon-to-be-pregnant couples from Michigan and Texas who took part in the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) study. The couple’s lifestyle factors, such as cigarette use, caffeinated beverage consumption, and multivitamin use, were tracked along with the health of their pregnancy from the weeks before they conceived through the seventh week of pregnancy.
At the end of the study, 28 percent of pregnancies ended in miscarriage. The researchers found a link between miscarriage and caffeine intake: if a woman or her partner drank more than two caffeinated beverages a day leading up to conception, they were almost 75 percent more likely to miscarry than those who didn’t drink caffeine.
Previous studies have linked caffeine consumption during early pregnancy with miscarriage, but researchers couldn't determine if the caffeine was to blame or if the pregnancy was unhealthy to begin with (women with healthy pregnancies, for instance, might have started to experience nausea early on that triggered them to give up caffeine). So looking at pre-pregnancy consumption—and male partners—helps to strengthen the link between caffeinated beverage consumption and pregnancy loss.
“Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females," Germaine Buck Louis, Ph.D, lead study author, said in a statement.
The good news? Women who took a daily multivitamin prior to conception experienced a 55 percent reduction in miscarriage.