Caffeine and Conception

It's early morning and you just can't wait for that first cup of coffee to wake yourself up. Then, at 3:00pm, you look forward to the kick a large coke gives you to make it through the balance of the day. While caffeine has the potential to stimulate the mind and body, it also has the ability to decrease the potential of producing a pregnancy. Studies indicate a link between caffeine consumption and infertility.

Studies Show Caffeine Affects Fertility

Several years ago, in 1999, a study of 100 women who limited their coffee intake to less than one cup of coffee or its equivalent per day conceived 26.9 pregnancies per 100 menstrual cycles compared with 10.5 per 100 menstrual cycles among women who consumed more than one cup of coffee per day.

These numbers echo a study done ten years earlier in which 104 healthy women who were trying to conceive for three months were interviewed about their use of caffeinated beverages. In this study it was discovered that women who consumed more than the equivalent of one cup of coffee per day were half as likely to conceive, per cycle, as women who drank less. The more caffeine a woman ingested, the lower her chances for becoming pregnant.

More recently, research done by The March of Dimes has influenced their recommendation that a woman who desires to become pregnant should limit her caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams per day. The chances of miscarriage double when more than the recommended allowance is ingested-and the source of the caffeine does not matter-although most of it is from coffee.

Where Does Caffeine Hide?

It is important to be aware of the sources of caffeine, especially if a woman wants to become pregnant. However, limiting consumption is not only important to conception, but also throughout the pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Caffeine makes conception difficult, can cause miscarriage, and has a profound effect on nursing babies.

The sources of caffeine are myriad and it is often found in places one would not suspect. The obvious sources are coffee, tea, and soft drinks. Less obvious, or perhaps less considered, are chocolate, coffee-flavored yogurt or ice cream and chocolate syrup. The amount of caffeine in coffee and tea is dependent upon the brand, roasting techniques and types of beans or leaves used. It would make good sense to reduce caffeine intake from all sources, and be aware of where it is hiding. If you just can't let that cup of coffee go, at least cut back to only one cup per day.

It's Found In Medicines As Well

Another place caffeine is found is in medicines, especially cold remedies, medications for congestion, pain relief and the famous "wake-up" pills. They all contain caffeine. Since the law requires full disclosure of contents of over-the-counter medicines, reading the label is a good way to know the number of milligrams of caffeine in a product. If pregnancy is already established, then a check-in with the health care professional is prudent before taking any type of medication-especially those with caffeine.

Women who desire to become pregnant will often go to whatever lengths they must in order to have a healthy pregnancy. Limiting caffeine intake is another way to help ensure a safe and healthy conception and pregnancy.

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