A morning cup of coffee or tea is practically routine for most women particularly working-class women. However, there’s some research that shows that consuming high amounts of caffeine can, in fact, harm your chances of getting pregnant. Caffeine is largely present in your coffee, soda, energy drinks, some soft drinks, chocolate and in certain types of medication.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s critical that you’re mindful of what you consume. Women who regularly consume coffee and/or energy drinks reduce their chances of getting pregnant by about 27 per cent. Drinking three or more cups of caffeinated beverages a day can also increase the risk of early pregnancy loss by up to 74 per cent. Caffeine may affect ovulation and corpus luteum functioning through alterations to hormone levels. To optimize your fertility, you need to make small, yet impactful changes in you or your partner’s lifestyle, medication regime and overall emotional and physical health.

The University Of Nevada School Of Medicine in Reno carried out a study and found that caffeine interfered with the muscular contractions of the fallopian tubes. Without the fallopian tubes, it’s almost impossible for conception to take place as the fallopian tubes are where conception takes place. They are responsible for moving the egg from the ovary to the uterus. Thus, muscle contractions can interfere with the movement of the egg. The researchers recommend that women who are trying to get pregnant should quit consuming caffeine.

Willcox et al conducted a study involving 104 women in their attempt to get pregnant. The amount of caffeine they consumed was recorded at regular intervals as well as daily information regarding menstrual bleeding and intercourse until pregnancy occurred. What they found was, women who consumed less than one cup of coffee were twice as likely to become pregnant, per cycle, as moderate coffee drinkers and the risk of not becoming pregnant increased with higher consumption.

Caffeine and Lower Sperm Count
A group of researchers at the University Department of Growth and Reproduction in Denmark investigated the impact of caffeine consumption on sperm count. What they found was, some of the participants who consumed mainly cola as a part of their 800mg daily caffeine consumption had 30% lower sperm count when compared to another group who consumed coffee and tea as their primary source of caffeine. The men that primarily consumed coffee and tea had no change in their sperm count. The researchers were led to believe that perhaps there’s some ingredient in the cola flavoured soda that could have caused the disparity. 

Another study revealed that caffeine did not affect semen quality or sperm count. However, research done at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that men who consumed 265 mg of caffeine or more had lower chances of becoming a father through IVF. The reason for this was unclear caffeine didn’t affect the number or quality of the sperm. 

Although the connection between caffeine intake and fertility problems is uncertain, it’s generally considered safe to consume 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine daily while trying to conceive. That’s up to two 8-ounce cups of coffee for a week. Anything more than that might be a good idea, and you may need to cut back.

Which foods and beverages contain caffeine?
In order to adequately track your caffeine intake, you need to be aware of its sources and just how much caffeine is in them, like tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, coffee ice cream, some herbal products and over-the-counter drugs, including some headache, cold, and allergy remedies. Learn to read labels carefully.

Amount of caffeine in common foods and beverages

Coffee Amount Caffeine
coffee, generic brewed 8 oz 95-200 mg
coffee, Starbucks brewed 16 oz 330 mg
espresso, generic 1 oz (1 shot) 64 mg
coffee, generic instant 1 tsp granules 31 mg
coffee, generic decaffeinated 8 oz 2 mg

 

Tea Amount Caffeine
black tea, brewed 8 oz 47 mg
green tea, brewed 8 oz 25 mg
black tea, decaffeinated 8 oz 2 mg
instant tea, unsweetened 1 tsp powder 26 mg
Snapple 16 oz 42 mg
Lipton Brisk iced tea 12 oz 5 mg

 

Soft drinks Amount Caffeine
Coke 12 oz 35 mg
Diet Coke 12 oz 47 mg
Pepsi 12 oz 38 mg
Diet Pepsi 12 oz 36 mg
Mountain Dew 12 oz 54 mg
7-Up 12 oz 0 mg
Sprite 12 oz 0 mg

 

Energy drinks Amount Caffeine
Red Bull 8.3 oz 77 mg

How can I cut back on caffeine?
Decide to cut back on the amount of caffeine you intake. Then, cut back slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue and headaches.
It’s a good idea to switch to other drinks that are either half regular brew or half decaf. You may find a cup of ginger tea to be a nice coffee substitute  and the health benefits are incomparable.

Other Culprits, You Should Avoid

Alcohol

Although studies are limited in showing just how much damage alcohol could do to affect male and female fertility, but the level, high levels of maternal alcohol consumption have shown to be dangerous to the unborn child. In men, excessive alcohol consumption could cause impotence, reduced libido and affect sperm quality.

Smoking

Smokers are more likely to be infertile, there’s really no way around it. There is strong evidence that smoking adversely affects male and female fertility. Women who smoke or are exposed to smoking may take longer to conceive and reach menopause earlier than non-smokers. Smoking also increases the risks of birth defects and low birth weight. In men, smoking can damage sperm DNA. Heavy smoking by fathers at the time of conception increases the child’s risk of childhood leukaemia and shortens the reproductive lifespan of daughters.

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