Thursday, January 24, 2008

Because moms need MORE guilt.

This article. Maybe you've heard about this study? That drinking coffee while pregnant may increase the risk of a miscarrage? This article ticks me off. Let me tell you all the reasons why.

One of the tidbits include is that, "The nausea and vomiting of morning sickness, caused by elevated hormones, is generally a sign of a reduced risk of miscarriage" Right away, those of us who were lucky enough NOT to be sick immediately...REGRET it? What? We should be concerned if we're not puking?

Although the study the article is reporting on did seem to indicate that drinking 200ml of caffine a day (2 cups of coffee or the equivalent) or more doubled the risk of miscarriage, it also said, "Overall though, caffeine is not a major cause of miscarriage, which occurs in up to 20 percent of known pregnancies. More than 60 percent of these faulty pregnancies are due to chromosomal defects in the fetus that are beyond the mother's control." That DOES NOT mean that 40% of miscarriages are due to something within the mother's control. Included in that 40% are all issues not chromosomal - including age & previous miscarriage.

Then there is this statement, "It's too early to sound the alarm though," of course conveniently placed towards the end of the article. I would say that the national (& probably international) release of an article titled 2-cup coffee habit may double miscarriage risk is probably an alarm. How many moms/other people are going to actually read the article and get to that disclaimer? Maybe half? And the rest are ready to blame/feel guilty for any caffeine consumed.

And do moms really need that? I get so frustrated by all these studies on prenatal nutrition and its effects. The last one I remember is that eating citrus will make your baby smarter. Don't get me wrong - I'm not promoting total negligence. It's just that there are so many issues to worry about with pregnancy, I don't think the stress of worrying about everything you eat is really necessary. Can't we just encourage women to eat a healthy balanced diet and keep taking their prenatal vitamins?

If you think I'm overreacting on the guilt issue, the article wraps up with this lovely little story:
Although there's no way to know if her 3 to 4 cups of coffee habit per day played a role in the miscarriage, she said she decided to eliminate her intake during her next three pregnancies as part of her overall health plan and each one resulted in a successful birth.
Plotkin-Oren missed the social aspect of meeting friends for coffee and developed headaches from caffeine withdrawal, but overall she found it easy to kick the habit. “It wasn't that hard because I was committed to doing everything I could to ensure a successful pregnancy,” she said.

Kudos. And moms, be prepared for the advice/lecture from total strangers and family/friends alike the next time you want to enjoy your favorite caffinated beverage. Because if you DO drink that coffee or soda, of course, the logical conclusion is that YOU are NOT committed to your baby's health. Great.


Ruth said...

soooo interesting. nice rant. also...when i wored at atomic coffee, this very nice little woman (who i learned later was the wife of an aquaitence) would come through the drive thru and order a half-caf latte every morning.

i didin't even KNOW that doctors recommend lowering your caffeine intake when you are pregnant, but one day she caught my eye and said "you know, my doctor said it's okay if i do half caf." and i believe my response was like, what? what are you talking about? oooohhh. you're pregnant. right.

so yes. i think the guilt is already out there. scary article! not at all one-sided.

mama.nichols4 said...

From my experiences with pregnancy and loss, the miscarriages I've had wouldn't have been contributed to caffeine intake but it's very likely that they were due to something more complex, like genetic complications. However, it's hard to say either way because the end of life was so early on that my awareness in the pregnancy may not have even been known. I do know that not once was I ever asked about my caffeine intake potentially being a factor in the losses.

With any sort of medical documentation, I personally take it with a grain of salt. (not that I'm careless by any means) More specifically, this situation is one that any sort of "testing" seems virtually impossible to carry out so I find it hard to trust the validity of the findings. Granted, there may be some truth behind it, but without being of a Higher power, we really don't know at this point.

As with anything during pregnancy (and life), moderation is key and this situation seems to be no different. Unfortunately, we're left to make it a personal decision until something more concrete is established.

nydampress said...

Boy am I glad I don't drink coffee or soda. At least I can avoid that whole debacle when/if the day comes. Something tells me I will be getting enough grief for continuing to exercising during pregnancy.