Coffee Causes Miscarriage (Except When It Doesn't)

Illustration for article titled Coffee Causes Miscarriage (Except When It Doesn't)

Potentially bad news for knocked-up Starbucks babes: A study published today suggests that women who consume more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day double their risk of miscarriage in the first three months of pregnancy. (To put "200 milligrams" in perspective, a "tall" regular coffee from the 'Bux has 260 mg alone.) Researchers writing in the American Journal Of Obstetrics and Gynecology surmise that caffeine can have a negative effect on a developing embryo by restricting blood flow to the placenta or by interfering with the normal function of developing cells. (It can be difficult for a fetus or embryo to metabolize the stimulant.) But! Researchers in the journal Epidemiology aren't entirely convinced.

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"I am not persuaded [caffeine] poses a health hazard," says epidemiologist David Savitz, who, Newsweek reports, considers caffeine "among the long list of things you should think about." "We don't really know the truth." And Dr. Alan Peaceman, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University cautions against "creating hysteria": "I tell women not to be guilty about a cup of coffee if that's what they really need. There are a lot of people who are hooked on caffeine, including myself. there is so much guilt out there that women have to deal with when they have a bad outcome in pregnancy. The vast majority is not within their control."

Caffeine Doubles Miscarriage Risk, Study Finds [Reuters]
Cup Of Contradictions [Newsweek]
New Kaiser Permanente Study Fortifies Caffeine's Link To Miscarriage [Eureka Alert]

Related: Starbucks Beverages [Starbucks]

DISCUSSION

@hortense: That sounds more like gut than science, but I tend to feel that way, too. Why is it the more we "protect" kids, the worse they seem to do, health-wise? Is it just that we're diagnosing so much better now or is it more along the lines of the antibacterial everything is making mutant strains?

Granddaddy always said, you gotta eat a pound of dirt before you die. My childhoold was practically Huck Finn-ian compared to the constantly-watched, shut-in, over-scheduled childhood on offer these days.

Also, (on topic) my mom smoked and drank coffee all through my her pregancy with my oldest brother and continued coffee-drinking through the rest of us and we were all fine and dandy and continue to be so. I'm sure it's *much better* to do neither, but to invert that into blame if something goes wrong is just shitty. Too many variables—let's not guilt the poor moms.