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In link between miscarriage and caffeinated drinks, the 'who' might surprise you
Caffeinated beverages have been linked to increased chance of miscarriage. But the when and the who might surprise you and there's help to reduce the risk, as well. - photo by Lois M Collins
Caffeinated beverages have been linked to an increased chance of miscarriage. But the when and the who might surprise you. Besides that, there's something common that reduces the risk.

According to research by the National Institutes of Health and Ohio State University Columbus, a woman is more likely to miscarry if she and her partner have more than two caffeinated beverages a day in the weeks prior to conception. For seven weeks after, a woman's consumption increases the risk.

The researchers emphasized that the male's caffeine consumption, often overlooked, also was linked to early miscarriage.

According to an NIH news release, taking a daily multivitamin before becoming pregnant and early on in the pregnancy decreases the risk of miscarriage.

The study is published online in Fertility and Sterility.

"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 the study's first author, Germaine Buck Louis, director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, in a written statement.

The data researchers used comes from a large longitudinal study looking at links between fertility, lifestyle and environmental chemical exposure. Participants answered lifestyle questions like whether they smoked, how much caffeine they drank, and more. Then the researchers compared the data to pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage in the first seven weeks of pregnancy.

The study showed links, but was never designed to prove cause and effect, the researchers said.

CBS reported that "of the 344 pregnancies, 98 ended in miscarriage about 28 percent. When both the woman and the man drank more than two caffeinated beverages a day in the weeks leading up to conception including cola, tea and coffee there was a higher risk of miscarriage."

Risk was also higher with older moms, those older than 35.

Women who take a multivitamin before conceiving and into the pregnancy reduce the risk. But as CBS noted, "If a woman only took a multivitamin preconception and didn't keep taking them during the early weeks of pregnancy, there was still a reduced risk of miscarriage, but it dropped to about 55 percent."

The article noted that the male parent taking a vitamin did not appear to make a difference.

Today quoted the researchers on future analysis of the data: "There will be answers later to questions about mercury from fish and chemicals such as pesticides."
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