Miscarriage is one of the most difficult aspects of infertility. When I work with couples having trouble getting pregnant, and then they get pregnant, it’s a celebration for all of us! And losing a pregnancy (or more than one) can be a roller coaster of emotions- where you almost don’t even want to get your hopes up AFTER you find out you’re pregnant, in case something happens…
You know that for me and with Perfect Fertility, the goal is not just to get pregnant, but to have a healthy baby. And if you’ve worked with me, you know just how much I focus on how you prepare for pregnancy in the 4 months before you conceive. Well, here’s another reason why- it helps you not only GET pregnant, but also STAY pregnant!
Last July, there was an interesting article about this published in Fertility & Sterility, one of the top medical journals for infertility. In this study, about 350 pregnant couples from Michigan and Texas were followed though their pregnancies and researchers looked to determine what lifestyle behaviors were correlated with miscarriage.
Not surprisingly, a few trends really showed through. First, guess what had the strongest correlation with miscarriage? I’m so sorry to tell you this…. caffeine. Greater than 2 caffeinated beverages daily prior to pregnancy was correlated with higher risk of miscarriage, especially with MEN! That’s right, when men drank caffeine before conception, it had an even bigger impact on miscarriage rates. So, if your man is still downing Red Bulls, it might be time to sit and share this article.
Other factors that contributed to increased risk of miscarriage included age (>35 years old) and alcohol intake (>10 drinks/weekprior to pregnancy, and >4 drinks/week in pregnant moms).
On the plus side, taking a multivitamin consistently had a huge positive impact on miscarriage rates, meaning they went down. Women who took their prenatal multivitamin 100% of the time had a 55% reduction in miscarriage rates. That’s worth swallowing those pills even when nauseous!
These are simple factors that every couple should adhere to when trying to get pregnant. Most miscarriages (especially in early pregnancy) are caused by genetic defects. So, if these interventions help strengthen the DNA for your future baby, it seems a no brainer! A few tips for you when you’re trying to conceive:
1. Don’t consume more than 3 drinks/week when trying to conceive (both mom & dad!)
2. Take your prenatal daily. (There are lots more things you can add here, but that’s for another day!)
3. Cut out the caffeine. If >2 cups per day is enough to influence miscarriage rates, I’d recommend just cutting it out altogether! This study didn’t look at whether substitutions are safe, butif you can go decaf or just stick with water and diluted juices, you’ll be better off.
We need more research in this area- anything we can do to lower the 22-25% miscarriage rate in the US can help to make this process easier in every way!