Caffeine ups miscarriage risk

January 21, 2008 11:56:01 AM PST
A new warning for expectant mothers... New research out today confirms a link between miscarriage and caffeine.

Doctors say women who drink large amounts of coffee, soda, tea or hot chocolate nearly double their risk of miscarriage --- compared with women who consume no caffeine.

Pregnant women have long been told to limit their caffein intake, but this new study suggests that any amount of caffeine could be dangerous.

Dr. Tracy Flanagan, the Director of Women's Health at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center says, "What's different about this study is that it shows that, that a fairly low level of caffeine may be associated with miscarriage. And that's important."

Dr. Tracy Flanagan is an Ob-Gyn who will now start advising her pregnant patients to give up caffeine.

The study looked at women who had various different intakes of caffeine, and it looked at their rate of miscarriage. women who drank up to two cups of coffee a day had an increase in miscarriage and it doubled at two or more cups of coffee a day.

According to the study... 200 milligrams of caffeine a day is too much. That's equal to about two cups of coffee, or five 12-ounce cans of soda.

Scientists believe caffeine can harm the fetus because the stimulant readily crosses the placenta, but cannot be easily metabolized by the fetus's under-developed metabolic system.

Caffeine can also cause blood vessels to constrict, leading to decreased blood flow to the placenta.

Tammy Plotkin-Oren has no way of knowing if coffee contributed to her devastating miscarriage 7 years ago - but she gave up her 3 to 5 cup a day habit for her later pregnancies.

As Tammy views it, "I figured if I can take out all the unhealthy things in my life, than the chances that I am going to have a healthy pregnancy are going to be greater."

Pregnant women often do everything they can to try to be healthy. They exercise, they give up alcohol and cigarettes. And this study makes it clear there is one more thing to add to that list.

Aimee Price admits it's a hard habit to give up, "I do miss it. I miss having a hot cup of something in the morning. But it is worth it.

As some say, it's only for 9 months.