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Pain medicine and miscarriage

NSAIDS and miscarriage risk: Princeton IVF blog

Opioid pain medications are making all the headlines, but are over the counter pain medications really safe?


New research suggests that taking over the counter pain meds could increase the risk of miscarriage.

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California researchers tried to determine whether using over the counter pain medications such as acetominophen (Tylenol) and non steroidal anti-inflammatories ( such as ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil) might affect the risk of miscarriage. They studied almost 1100 pregnant women, comparing those women who took no pain medications to those who took acetaminophen, those who took non-steroidal and those who took both.

What they found was interesting…

  • Women who took tylenol or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen were more likely to miscarry that those who did not

  • Taking this medications around ovulation appeared to be the riskiest

  • Women who used these drugs for longer periods of time were at the greatest risk

  • Thin women were more at risk than overweight women

So, what does this all mean…

  • It does not mean that over the counter pain medications actually cause miscarriages, just that women who take them for whatever reason are more likely to miscarry.

  • It is a good idea to avoid Tylenol, Motrin, Alleve and other over the counter pain medications around the time of ovulation is you are trying to have a baby

Caffeine, vitamins and miscarriage

Can caffeine affect your miscarriage risk: Princeton IVF blog
Caffeinated beverages and risk of miscarriage

It may be time to cut back on coffee before pregnancy...

An new study from the National Institutes of Health suggests that the morning pilgrimage to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or your favorite coffee may not be such a good idea, at least if you or your partner are trying to get pregnant.  In the past, it was thought that small amounts of caffeine intake were not an issue, but researchers have now found that the as little as 2 drinks a day may almost double the risk of a pregnancy ending in miscarriage. Furthermore, this risk was present not just during pregnancy but when a woman drinks caffeinated beverages even several months before conception, and was even true when the male partner consumes caffeinated drinks. The risk of miscarriage was just as high when the male partner used caffeine.

So, does that mean caffeine causes miscarriages?

Not necessarily. The study was small so this could just be a statistical fluke and it is quite possible that people who drink more coffee have other unrelated issues that make them more prone to miscarriage.  Still, prudence would suggest  avoiding caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda are a good idea when planning pregnancy.

But, there is a bright side to the study...Vitamins.

It turns out that women who took multivitamins actually had a lower miscarriage risk, by about 50 %.

Miscarriages and misperceptions

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A recent survey published in Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests most of the public is poorly informed about how common miscarriage is and what causes early pregnancy losses.

First the good news. Most folks' perception is actually worse than reality, and most respondents identified genetic abnormalities as the most common cause for miscarriage.  As a reproductive medicine specialist, these misunderstandings come as no surprise. Here are some of the misperceptions the surveyors found...

10-15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, but ...

  • Most respondents believe miscarriages are rare (< 6%)

Stressful life events, lifting heavy objects and prior IUD or birth control pill use do not miscarriages but..

  • 76 % believed that stress causes miscarriages
  • 64 % believed that lifting heavy object can cause miscarriages
  • 28 % believed that prior IUD use (Mirena, Paraguard) can cause miscarriages
  • 22 % believed that prior birth control pills can cause miscarriages

The take home message from the study is that many couples attribute their pregnancy losses to factors within their control even though this is rarely the case, and counseling is the solution.