back to article Caffeine doubles miscarriage risk

Pregnant women have been warned to lay off the coffee after US researchers found that those who "drink two or more cups of coffee a day have twice the risk of having a miscarriage as those who avoid caffeine". The study led by Dr De-Kun Li of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, which appears in the American Journal of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is Interesting

    I have a friend who is of Costa Rican extraction and has children.

    As a Costa Rican, she loves her coffee. However, when she was pregnant, just the smell of coffee would make her nauseous.

    I wonder if that was her body doing some self-defense?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Useless statistics

    'Doubles the risk of miscarriage' sounds pretty scary, but it doesn't say what it doubles it from. 1%? 0.01%? 5%? As ever, the Devil is in the details.

  3. Mark Broadhurst

    So you can eat nothing when your pregnant ?

    but of course you should eat twice as much nothing since your eating for 2.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    RE:This is Interesting

    "While previous research showed a link between caffeine consumption and miscarriage, this is the first study to thoroughly control for morning sickness, which typically causes many women to avoid caffeine,"

  5. Jaap Stoel
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Useless statistics

    Its kind of hard to put a percentage on things like that. The chance of a miscarriage is influence by a whole mesh of variables. Just saying it increases the overall chance by X percent is very difficult.

    Paris Hilton icon because she probably has to drink a pot of coffee every morning for this exact reason.

  6. Chris Collins

    Lock them in birthing tanks

    Clearly in order to facilitate the birthing process, pregnant women should be sequestered in birthing tanks within a week of conception and fed only nutrient goo through a pipe until you can scoop the final product off the top with a net. A non-stop loop of Beethoven being played for nine months to ensure proper development.

    Soon you'll be accused of attempted infanticide for farting in the same room as a pregnant woman. It's a good job women never had babies before all this stuff was discovered.

  7. Clarence

    Even so...

    "Its kind of hard to put a percentage on things like that. The chance of a miscarriage is influence by a whole mesh of variables. Just saying it increases the overall chance by X percent is very difficult."

    They must have got a result significantly outside the uncertainty of the results, other wise they wouldn't have released their findings right? Or at least I hope.

    In which case they would have found that women who drink a certain amount of caffeine are x% more likely to suffer a miscarriage.

    Anonymous Coward is quite right, the findings are useless unless backed up by statistics, and if the statistics are too hard to come up with, then their findings are useless also.

  8. Nev

    Starbucks: Environmental heroes!

    Looks like they're out to solve our (+6billion and rising) world population problem!

  9. Viet

    What is it they have with coffee ?

    IANAMD, but from the outlook it seems like there are more american studies done on the alleged dangers of coffee than of nicotin or marijuana. It's like US researchers are desperate to prove that nothing can be enjoyable and tasty without being at the same time (in no specific order) toxic, addictive, dangerous for fertility, and / or making you grow fat.

    This study is another case of "see, see, we *told* you ! can't you think about the children ?!"

    As others have noticed, most pregnant women can't stand even the smell of coffee, so maybe there's truth in there, but nevertheless, I'm cautious that it may be another case of rampant puritanism. All previous studies on the dangers of cafein have been debunked in the past, so let's wait a bit.

  10. Ash


    Marijuana has none of the side effects you've listed. A feeling of calm well being, slight paranioa (until you start giggling) and the need to eat Mini Chedders with ketchup at 4am on a saturday are more apt.

    Memory loss? Don't know what you're talking about...

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Re: RE:This is Interesting

    Nope, that wasn't it. Nice try, though.

    It was a taste/smell thing. This is that "Pickles and Ice Cream" effect. Morning sickness only lasts for a couple of months or so. This lasted her whole term.


  12. Bad Beaver
    Paris Hilton

    No, really?

    Wow, this is... like... the first time EVER that I hear that pregnant women should lay off addictive psychoactive stimulants. It's like THE news. Wow!

  13. Herby

    How was I ever born?

    Given all the things that can go wrong with a pregnancy these days, it is a wonder that I am healthy these days. Being a product of the 50's (there are some of us that old here), and born to a mother who (at that time) both smoked, drank, and had coffee, it is a wonder that I am alive at all. The only explaination I have is that these problems didn't exist in that era (or it is global warming). The statistics that are thrown about these days (50% less...) let the reader assume the original problem rate, which in this instance is probably less than .00000001%. All I can say is that there are three things we all know: Lies, Damn lies, and Statistics, you can say anything!

    p.s. Mom quit smoking when I was quite young. Still living to this day! Must have been the coffee!

  14. Anonymous Coward

    So coffee's off the menu

    but I believe it's still okay for the expectant mother to take a large swig of brandy before bedtime to settle the baby down so she can get a good night's sleep. After all, there's nothing worse than a grouchy pregnant mum.

  15. Richard Scratcher
    Paris Hilton

    87% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

    The problem with these so called studies is that the targets are statistical trends rather than physiological mechanisms. The researchers have no real idea why drinking coffee might be bad for pregnant women, they just see a statistical link between the two. Fair enough you might say but several years ago a similar study found a "link" between coffee drinkers and heart disease. Further study showed the real problem was smoking (lots of smokers also drank coffee, which skewed the statistics) rather than the daemon caffeine. Until the reason coffee causes miscarriages is proven, I'd take it all with a pinch of salt (low sodium salt if you're pregnant).

  16. Mike Lovell
    IT Angle



  17. Jach
    Black Helicopters


    They can show 'links' between all sorts of things, like the falling number of real pirates has led to an increase in global temperature.

  18. Steven Swenson

    The drink of intelligence. A plan for the human race.

    One study has shown that people who have higher functioning brains get an intelligence boost from coffee. Unfortunately, people who have lower functioning brains, aka are stupid, just get stupider from coffee.

    I propose all aspiring parents are put on a regimen of coffee and studied. If they don't both show more intelligence from the coffee, the mother must remain on the coffee regimen throughout the pregnancy.

  19. Brian

    more coffee for me!

    Well, this just means more coffee for me, even though I hate the stuff... however the way my dissertation is going, I may be turning to it more and more...

    How does it equate in the form of the great British tradition of tea? That's what I'd really like to know!

  20. Rob Aley

    1 in 3 mis-carry

    There are quite a few comments here along the lines of "how did they ever manage to give birth before all this advice" trying to imply that miscarriage is a minor problem.

    It might help to reflect on the fact that around 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage in the first three months. Thats a third of all pregancies. And it was higher in "the good old days". While it may be "natures way", it isn't a comfort for those it happens to.

    In my humble opinion anything that can reduce that figure is a Good Thing (tm).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Rob Aley

    In the usual sarcastic, cynical realm that is theregister comments, thanks Rob for actually saying something useful. Me and Her are currently losing 5-nil so anything that will help, well... helps.

  22. Alan Potter
    IT Angle

    What's a woman to do?

    So - this story says that caffeine "doubles miscarriage risk", but this story ( says that three cups of coffee a day "reduces the risk of ovarian cancer". Maybe they should drink one and a half cups of coffee?

    I suppose the IT link is that they probably used Excel to calculate the probabilities.

  23. Amanda

    Did they control for causes of heavier coffee consumption?

    I drink more coffee when I have to work longer hours and/or with frustrating co-workers and clients. I imagine these sorts of stresses would not contribute to a healthy pregnancy, no matter what drugs I was or was not consuming.

    That said, I routinely give up alcohol for 6-7 weeks at a time (Lent), but could not fathom going off coffee that long, much less 9 months. I'd suck it up for the sake of my theoretical child, but I don't think it'd be easy.

    @ Alacrity: A good childhood friend who was something of a party girl swore her pregnancy caused an aversion to even the smell of alcohol and pot. I had been worried that she would be able to refrain from drinking or smoking for 9 months, but she did, and still only has two drinks a week at most while breastfeeding, and doesn't go near pot anymore. It also stopped her smoking tobacco. She's become even more of a hippie, though...

    (Tux, because it isn't Linux users who cause me professional grief, and in honor of my pinko commie hippie friend)

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