If you’re planning for a baby, you and your partner may want to cut down on the coffee.
A recent study from researchers from the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. and Ohio State University shows that couples who drink more than two caffeinated drinks a day in the weeks before conceiving had a 74 percent increased risk of miscarriage. In addition, moms who drank two caffeinated drinks a day in the first seven weeks of pregnancy also increased their risk, researchers found.
Previous studies have already linked caffeine to a greater risk of miscarriage. This new study shows that the father-to-be’s coffee consumption matters, too.
“Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females,” says the study's first author, Germaine Buck Louis, Ph.D., director of the Division of Intramural Population Health Research at the National Institutes of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the U.S.
The study was published online in the March 2016 in the journal Fertility and Sterility. It involved analyzing data from a previous study conducted from 2005 to 2009 which examined the relationship between fertility, lifestyle, and exposure to environmental chemicals.
Researchers then compared lifestyle factors such as cigarette use, caffeine consumption, and multivitamin use to 344 couples from the weeks before conception to the seventh week of pregnancy. Of the 344 pregnancies, 28 percent ended in miscarriage, according to the report.
The study notes that it doesn't prove that caffeine directly causes miscarriage, "only that there appears to be an association," says lead researcher Katherine Sapra, a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "This is an observational study, so we can't prove cause and effect, but we are confident of these findings," she adds.
On the brighter side, the researchers also found that women who took multivitamins through early pregnancy lowered their risk of miscarriage by as much as 79 percent.
Getting the right amount of vitamins and minerals is vital to a healthy pregnancy. Taking prenatal multivitamins help cover the nutritional gaps that a pregnant mom may not be getting from her diet.
The National Health Service of the U.K. lists some vitamins and minerals that are especially essential to a pregnant mom:
Vitamin D (10 micrograms each day) – Vitamin D is needed to keep bones and teeth healthy as it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. It's crucial during the first few months of a baby's life. Vitamin D supplements are usually prescribed to pregnant women
Folic acid (400 micrograms each day) – to help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects. Folic acid supplements are usually prescribed to pregnant moms and women trying to get pregnant
Iron – iron will keep a mom strong throughout her pregnancy and will prevent anemia
Vitamin C – protects cells and helps keep them healthy
Calcium – vital for making an unborn baby’s bones and teeth
It is also advised that pregnant women do not take multivitamins with vitamin A as vitamin A can harm the baby. When in doubt, always consult your doctor.