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expert reaction to conference abstract looking at caffeine in pregnancy and pregnancy loss

A conference abstract, being presented at the ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) scientific congress in Philadelphia, reports that caffeine use during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy may increase the risk of pregnancy loss. 


Prof Ying Cheong, Professor of Reproductive Medicine, University of Southampton, said:

“This is an abstract on a secondary analysis study using data collected from a randomised controlled trial on the use of aspirin in women with previous 1-2 early pregnancy losses, so the study wasn’t designed to look at caffeine.  The caffeine intake was self reported on questionnaires and serum levels of caffeine at pre conception and 8th week of conception were taken.  The researchers found an association between caffeine intake, serum caffeine levels and early pregnancy losses and they advocate women attempting to conceive or is pregnant to ‘eliminate’ caffeine intake from their diet.  I don’t think that advice is warranted based on this abstract, which has not yet been published or peer-reviewed.

“The study adds to a significant body of controversial literature around caffeine and pregnancy, although unfortunately again, the nature of the study, given it’s a study nested within a study on women with a history of pregnancy losses, I do not think the results can yet be generalised.  The ingrained coffee culture in today’s society would need many more robust studies to change.”


Abstract title: ‘Caffeinated beverage intake and serum caffeine metabolites and risk of pregnancy loss’ by Alexandra C Purdue-Smithe et al.

This is a conference abstract from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine scientific congress in Philadelphia, and is under embargo until 05:01 UK time on Monday 14 October 2019.

There is no paper as this is not published work.


Declared interests

Prof Ying Cheong: “No conflicts.”

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