Caffeine’s a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and some soft drinks, and its an important part of nearly every culture in the world that’s widely used as a ‘pick-me-up’ to boost energy. This isn’t entirely accurate since it’s simply a stimulant that works in the same way some drugs (like cocaine) do. So if you drink coffee regularly you’ll need that coffee each day to reach what’s become your normal level of stimulation, and without your ‘caffeine fix’ you’ll probably feel a bit ‘flat’ and lethargic.
Tea, chocolate and coffee are linked to many important health benefits, so they’re definitely not ‘all bad’, but as far as fertility is concerned, caffeine’s associated with some unwanted effects. Most of our information on the impact of caffeine on fertility comes from studies using coffee, which means there’s little data on whether it’s in tea or soda changes the caffeine effect. However as far as Chinese medicine is concerned tea and coffee have very different energetic properties, and these profoundly alter their impact on the body.
What we do know is that quantity of caffeine is important, and in 2010 the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG)i concluded that up to 200 mg of caffeine a day is safe for pregnant women, although there’s evidence drinking coffee can significantly:
- Reduce the likelihood of getting pregnant
- Increase the risk of miscarriage
- Increase the risk of “still birth”
- Likelihood of pregnancy
- A study found women trying for a baby who drank less than a cup of coffee a day, were twice as likely to get pregnant each cycle as moderate coffee drinkers
- They also found that increasing coffee intake lowered a women’s chance of getting pregnantii
- When over 500 mg of caffeine was drunk a day it took (on average) over 9½ months longer to get pregnantiii
- Risk of miscarriage
- Drinking between 150 and 300 mg of caffeine a day is linked to a three-fold increase in miscarriage risk
- Drinking over 300 mg of caffeine a day is linked to a sixteen-fold increase in the risk of miscarriageiv
- Most miscarriages have a genetic reason for them, however when women drink over 500 mg of caffeine a day these genetic problems are found less frequently, which suggests high caffeine intakes encourage a higher proportion of ‘healthy fetus’ miscarriagesv
- Women who consume over 375 mg of caffeine a day