The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a Committee Opinion this month entitled Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy. The Committee Opinion examines a long-standing debate: is maternal caffeine consumption related to spontaneous miscarriage?
Caffeine raises a woman’s levels of catecholamines—hormones released into the blood in response to stress—and crosses the placenta to her unborn child. Sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, soft drinks, and chocolate.
Most studies on the relationship between caffeine and miscarriage have significant limitations, including small sample size and recall bias. The new Clinical Bulletin explores the results of several recent, higher-quality studies. The good news is that they found no link between moderate caffeine consumption and miscarriage. However, the results regarding higher levels of caffeine consumption are not black and white. The Committee Opinion states:
“Moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200mg per day) does not appear to be a major contributing factor in miscarriage or preterm birth. The relationship of caffeine to growth restriction remains undetermined. A final conclusion cannot be made at this time as to whether there is a correlation between high caffeine intake and miscarriage.”Nutrition research can be especially challenging due to the difficulty of isolating various nutrients and controlling for confounding factors. For example, are the women consuming large amounts of caffeine in these studies getting a good night’s sleep? Are they using caffeine to keep up with a high-stress job?
What are your thoughts on this Committee Opinion? If you’re expecting, will it change your caffeine habit? Midwives, will this affect the advice you give to your patients and clients?