Spontaneous abortion is defined as "a spontaneously occurring
termination of pregnancy before the 20th week with expulsion
fetus." Research aimed at preventing spontaneous abortions
has focused on several potential culprits, including caffeine
- a substance known to pass readily through the placenta to
A study in The New England Journal of Medicine investigated
this premise, dividing 1,515 women into two groups for comparison.
The first group included 562 women who had suffered spontaneous
abortion at 6-12 weeks' gestation; the second group consisted
of 953 women who had not suffered spontaneous abortion. Interviews
served to gather data on sources and amount of caffeine intake,
including coffee; tea; cocoa; chocolate; soft drinks; and
caffeine-containing medications. Smoking status, a potential
conflicting variable (because of its influence on birth outcomes),
was also determined.
Among nonsmokers, spontaneous abortion occurred at a significantly
higher rate in women who ingested at least 100 milligrams
of caffeine per day, compared to women who ingested less than
100 mg per day. Among smokers, caffeine ingestion was not
associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.
The authors note that the first group consisted mostly of
women who had suffered spontaneous abortions in the second
trimester, and suggest that caffeine may be even more detrimental
to the developing fetus in the first trimester.
If you're expecting a child, talk to your doctor about what
steps you can take to ensure a smooth pregnancy and delivery.
For more information on women's health, visit http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/women.html.
Cnattingius S, Signorello LB, Anneren G, et al. Caffeine
intake and the risk of first-trimester spontaneous abortion.
The New England Journal of Medicine 2000: Vol. 343,
No. 25, pp1839-45.