Getting off caffeine can be a challenge but we recommend that women lose their dependence on this stimulant when they’re trying to conceive. While sources are all over the board – some suggesting that a moderate caffeine intake of 400-700 mg per day, about the amount in three cups of coffee – appears not to affect a woman’s fertility, other studies have found that women who consume more than 300 mg of caffeine per day had a 27% lower chance of conceiving each month they “tried.” One study even found that drinking tea nearly doubled monthly odds of conception!
Clearly the data is all over the board. However, Pulling Down the Moon’s view of caffeine is that it is not a good choice when you’re trying to conceive. Artificial stimulants create imbalances in our bodies’ systems. Drinking caffeinated beverages can also make it harder for us to relax and may exacerbate poor sleeping habits as well as camouflage the effects of sleep deprivation – all conditions that are potentially detrimental to fertility. Furthermore, you’ll have to give it up anyway once you’re pregnant, where repeated studies have linked caffeine consumption of > 300 mg/day with low birth weight, miscarriage and birth defects like cleft palate. If you decide to drink caffeine, limit your intake to < 300 mg (a Starbuck’s Grande coffee has 320 mg).
And while the goose is giving up her daily cup, the gander better not laugh too hard. Research indicates that men who consume more than three cups of coffee per day had increased DNA damage in their sperm.
There are many different strategies for getting off of caffeine, but one that we like is to first make the transition from coffee to green tea, which is filled with antioxidants and has lower caffeine content than coffee. Then, gradually, begin to alternate your cups of green tea with herbal teas, until the switch to herbal tea is complete.
What the Literature Says
Research Finding: Caffeine not associated with ovarian age indicators (FSH, follicle count, estradiol, inhibin B)
Hum Reprod. 2007 Apr;22(4):1175-85. Epub 2007 Jan 29.
Research Finding: Caffeine intake not associated with endometriosis.
Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Oct 15;160(8):784-96.
Research Finding: High level of caffeine consumption (> 500 mg per day) associate with decreased fecundity (longer time to conception)
Am J Epidemiol. 1997 Feb 15;145(4):324-34.
Research Finding: Moderate caffeine intake (400-700 mg/day)associated with improved fecundity, high (>700 mg/day) caffeine intake associated with lowered fecundity.
Prev Med. 1994 Mar;23(2):175-80
Research Finding: Caffeine intake no effect, but drinking tea doubled monthly odds of conception.
Am J Public Health. 1998 Feb;88(2):270-4
Research Finding: Women reporting caffeine consumption of > 300 mg per day had a 27% lower chance of conceiving each month.
Am J Epidemiol. 1993 Dec 15;138(12):1082-92.
Research Finding: Sperm from men who consumed > 3 cups of coffee per day had 20% more DNA damage than men with low caffeine intake.
Hum Reprod. 2007 Jan;22(1):180-7. Epub 2006 Oct 19