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While coffee is the drink of choice for most of the population, it still ends up on opposite sides of the same discussion quite frequently. Different studies tend to find both advantages and disadvantages to the ancient brew, most often contradicting one another. As studies like these tend to do.
But whereas the current consensus on coffee is that it’s mostly beneficial, with most able to drink some five cups a day and only reap the benefits, it turns out that some cases can, in fact, be negatively affected by high coffee intake. According to a study published in the Fertility and Sterility journal, miscarriage risk is tied to both parents’ caffeine intake.
Habits and pregnancy study
The study was performed by a team of researchers from the Ohio State University and the National Institutes of Health. A meta-analysis, the study focused on data from the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study. The data was collected between 2005 and 2009 from 501 couples attempting to have children.
Both parents were asked to record their day to day use of alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, and multivitamins. They had to keep recording the data from pre-conception up until the end of early pregnancy (seven weeks after getting pregnant). The state of the pregnancy was also monitored, with clinical confirmation, menstruation, or a pregnancy test’s conversion to negative all being considered pregnancy losses.
Both parents matter
What the researchers found was quite interested and unexpected. If either of the parents had consumed more than two caffeinated drinks a day during the few weeks before conception, the couple had a higher miscarriage risk. And the odds were pretty much the same for either parent, with them increasing if both parents had more than two cups of coffee a day.
The explanation for how the males drinking coffee affected the odds of miscarriages mostly revolves around how the brew affects sperm, although previous studies deny that. Other researches, however, like one performed in Denmark in 2010, do associate high caffeine intake with a lower sperm count.
Limitations and good news
Well, here is where the limitations of the study come in. Being both a meta-analysis and observational, the study could not really find a cause-effect relationship between the two factors, but only a link. The real factor could be something else that caused the couples to drink more coffee, or something entirely different. The lack of interaction with actual subjects also limited the results.
But there is also some good news, courtesy to the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment Study. Since the participants had to document more than just one behavior, the researchers behind the current study determined that if women take at least one daily multivitamin before and after conception, it greatly reduces the risk for having a miscarriage.
Image source: Wikimedia