Lifestyle and pregnancy loss in a contemporary cohort of women recruited before conception: The LIFE Study

Incidence of pregnancy loss was 28%. Risk of loss was 74% higher among couples consuming >2 daily caffeinated beverages, and 55% lower among women taking daily multivitamins.


Germaine M. Buck Louis, Ph.D., M.S., Katherine J. Sapra, M.Phil., M.P.H., Enrique F. Schisterman, Ph.D., M.A., Courtney D. Lynch, Ph.D., M.P.H., José M. Maisog, M.D., M.S., Katherine L. Grantz, M.D., M.S., Rajeshwari Sundaram, Ph.D., M.S.



To estimate pregnancy loss incidence in a contemporary cohort of couples whose lifestyles were measured during sensitive windows of reproduction to identify factors associated with pregnancy loss for the continual refinement of preconception guidance.


Prospective cohort with preconception enrollment.


Sixteen counties in Michigan and Texas.


Three hundred forty-four couples with a singleton pregnancy followed daily through 7 postconception weeks of gestation.


None. Couples daily recorded use of cigarettes, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages, and multivitamins. Women used fertility monitors for ovulation detection and digital pregnancy tests. Pregnancy loss was denoted by conversion to a negative pregnancy test, onset of menses, or clinical confirmation depending upon gestation. Using proportional hazards regression and accounting for right censoring, we estimated adjusted hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (aHR, 95% CI) for couples' lifestyles (cigarette smoking, alcoholic and caffeinated drinks, multivitamins) during three sensitive windows: preconception, early pregnancy, and periconception.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Incidence and risk factors for pregnancy loss.


Ninety-eight of 344 (28%) women with a singleton pregnancy experienced an observed pregnancy loss. In the preconception window, loss was associated with female age ≥35 years (1.96, 1.13–3.38) accounting for couples' ages, women's and men's consumption of >2 daily caffeinated beverages (1.74, 1.07–2.81; and 1.73, 1.10–2.72, respectively), and women's vitamin adherence (0.45, 0.25–0.80). The findings were similar for lifestyle during the early pregnancy and periconception windows.


Couples' preconception lifestyle factors were associated with pregnancy loss, although women's multivitamin adherence dramatically reduced risk. The findings support continual refinement and implementation of preconception guidance.

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