WHEN YOU DECIDE to start trying for a pregnancy, you’re quick to realize that it comes with a whole list of lifestyle changes, which of course include the diet of the newest mom-to-be on the block. In addition to adding key nutrients to your diet that a growing baby would need, most healthcare professionals suggest also cutting out a lot of food and drink that grown-ups really love but aren’t so good for developing fetuses… like coffee. Sure, coffee might be the only thing that makes you feel like you can function, but it turns out fetuses can’t function so well on the brown sauce; studies have shown that pregnant women consuming 200mg of caffeine a day — the amount found in two cups of coffee — more than double their risk of miscarriage.
Most women already know — or soon find out — that they should cut the brew and other caffeine sources when they find out that they’ve conceived, but now research is showing that some of the potential damage might have already been done by the time conception took place.
A study found that the man’s coffee drinking habits prior to the pregnancy could play into the likelihood of miscarrying. The study’s publishers theorize that it might have something to do with changes that caffeine causes in the expression of certain genes.
The Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) study gathered information on 344 different couples, including their habits over the course of a year while they were trying to get pregnant. Overall, 28 percent of the women had miscarriages, and the odds doubled if the women were aged 35 or older.
But the researchers also noticed the coffee link. Women who drank two or more cups of coffee before they got pregnant were 74 percent more likely to have a miscarriage, supporting conclusions drawn in earlier studies. Interestingly, couples in which male partners who also drank two or more cups of coffee each day had almost as high of a risk that the female partner would have a miscarriage… at 73 percent more likely a risk than men who did not drink coffee prior to conception.
There’s still a lot of research to be done, since the researchers don’t yet know exactly why this phenomenon occurs. We do know from previous studies that what a man does to his body on a macro scale also affects his sperm on a micro scale, so it’s a good thing to keep in mind. As above, so below, in a manner of speaking.
For people who are trying to conceive, urging your dude to cut back on the brew might be the way to go. Caffeine withdrawals suck, but at least you can suffer through them together… and hopefully for good reason.