Caffeine and miscarriages

Caffeine is a well-know trigger of migraine headaches and I regularly write on this topic (my last post on this topic – caffeine causing headaches in adolescents – was three years ago). Caffeine can help migraines and other headaches, but in large amounts it worsens them due to caffeine withdrawal, which can occur in as little as 3 hours after the last cup of coffee. One of my patients was an extreme case. He told me that he figured out that his early morning migraines were due to caffeine withdrawal and he would set his alarm clock for 4 AM, so that he could wake up, drink some coffee and go back to sleep without the fear of a morning headache. A continuous intravenous drip of caffeine would also solve his problem. Most people opt for stopping caffeine, albeit it can be a difficult process. Going cold turkey is often easier than a gradual reduction in caffeine intake. To avoid severe withdrawal, prescription migraine drugs, such as sumatriptan (Imitrex), intravenous magnesium, nerve blocks and other interventions may be necessary in a small percentage of patients.

This post was prompted by a just published study that showed a higher risk of miscarriages in couples where either partner, male or female consumed more than 2 caffeinated beverages prior to conception. Caffeine has been long suspected but not definitively proven to increase the risk of miscarriages in women who drink large amounts of caffeine during pregnancy, but what is surprising is that consumption of caffeine by the male partner also increases the risk.

At the same time, recent studies widely publicized in the press have shown beneficial effects of consuming large amounts of caffeine. Caffeine supposedly lowers the risk of certain cancers, strokes, diabetes, and other conditions. However, if you suffer from headaches, heart burn due to reflux, or are trying to conceive, caffeine should be avoided.

Submit comment