22 January 2008

Caffeine: birth control in a cup

Caffeine is the latest form of ‘birth control in a cup’. It has been suggested that coffee drinking both before and during pregnancy primes fetuses for a cascade of physical problems later in life but in the last few days a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology suggests that just two cups of coffee per day can double the risk of miscarriage.

Pregnant women should try to give up caffeine for at least the first three or four months, said the lead author of the study, Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

Whereas earlier 200mg of caffeine was deemed to be 'safe' in pregnancy, now pregnant women are asked to completely avoid caffeine to miminise their risk. I hate this. The advice to pregnant women is just another instance of social control: either follow medical advice or risk your baby’s life. I would take this study lightly, at best. Interviewing women following a miscarriage is sketchy and also just bad science. Moreover, the causes of miscarriage are still largely unknown and 'good' mothers are supposed to be altruistic, putting the needs of the fetus above their own.

Dr. Carolyn Westhoff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and epidemiology, at Columbia University Medical Centre sees this study as another scare tactic:

"Moderation in all things is still an excellent rule,” Dr. Westhoff said. “I think we tend to go overboard on saying expose your body to zero anything when pregnant. The human race wouldn’t have succeeded if the early pregnancy was so vulnerable to a little bit of anything. We’re more robust than that.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/21/health/21caffeine.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Im a 24-7 coffee drinker and I drank coffee while I was pregnant same way i did before i was and guess what!!!!!??? I didnt lose my baby and she came out healthy and perfect so really I dont think that coffee has anything to do with losing kids! Its ur BODY and how it takes to it thats why some people cant have babies its because their body cant handle a pregnancy or maybe a trauma happened or just that they cant!

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