Preconception care: Caffeine, smoking, alcohol, drugs and other environmental chemical/radiation exposure

Zohra S. Lassi, Ayesha M. Imam, Sohni V. Dean, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction. As providing health education, optimizing nutrition, and managing risk factors can be effective for ensuring a healthy outcome for women and her yet un-conceived baby, external influences play a significant role as well. Alcohol, smoking, caffeine use and other similar lifestyle factors, have now become an integral part of the daily life of most men and women, who use/misuse one or more of these harmful substances regularly despite knowledge of their detrimental effects. The adverse health outcomes of these voluntary and involuntary exposures are of even greater concern in women of child bearing age where the exposure has the potential of inflicting harm to two generations. This paper is examining the available literature for the possible effects of caffeine consumption, smoking, alcohol or exposure to chemicals may have on the maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). Methods. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence was conducted to ascertain the possible impact of preconception usage of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and other illicit drugs; and exposure to environmental chemicals and radiant on MNCH outcomes. A comprehensive strategy was used to search electronic reference libraries, and both observational and clinical controlled trials were included. Cross-referencing and a separate search strategy for each preconception risk and intervention ensured wider study capture. Results: Heavy maternal preconception caffeine intake of >300mg/d significantly increase the risk of a subsequent fetal loss by 31% (95% CI: 8-58%). On the other hand, preconception alcohol consumption leads to non-significant 30% increase in spontaneous abortion (RR 1.30; 95% CI: 0.85-1.97). Preconception counselling can lead to a significant decrease in the consumption of alcohol during the first trimester (OR 1.79; 95% CI: 1.08-2.97). Periconception smoking, on the other hand, was found to be associated with an almost 3 times increased risk of congenital heart defects (OR 2.80; 95% CI 1.76-4.47). While the review found limited evidence of preconception environmental exposure on maternal, newborn and child health outcomes, occupational exposure in female radiation workers before conception showed an increased impact in risk of early miscarriages. Conclusion: Identification of substance abuse and environmental history during preconception period provides an opportunity to assist women in reducing major health risks and identify key determinants of healthy pregnancy. Studies have shown that the aversion and prevention of exposure feasibility can play an important role in improving the health of women and their families, however, the results should be interpreted with great caution as there were few studies in each section. Therefore, there is a need for more rigorous studies to test the hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS6
JournalReproductive health
Volume11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2014

Keywords

  • folic acid
  • nutrition
  • overweight
  • preconception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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