How does Caffeine affect fertility?

Who wouldn’t want to start their day fresh by sipping a cup of coffee or tea in the morning? Just by visualizing an image like that makes one feel relaxed and lively. It may be heart-warming during the irksome moments of your life, but anything excessive is detrimental to health.

The addiction to caffeine beverages can induce multiple side effects over time unless consumed in a controlled manner. These ramifications come into play in an unexpected part of your lives.

The jubilant moment of any family is during the wait for their child’s birth. That is the most circumspective period for any household. There are beliefs that caffeine consumption can affect the fertility rate for men and women, which has not yet been validated.

However, certain studies and research indicate a deterioration of health and fertility rates in caffeine utilization. Here, we are going to discuss the outcomes of caffeine intake:

What is Caffeine?

Caffeine is the natural stimulant of the Central Nervous System (CNS) found in tea, coffee, sodas, cocoa plants, medications, and energy drinks. They cause increased mental alertness, energy boost, and mood elevation.

Intake can be limited to three or four cups (400 mg of caffeine) per day for harmless side effects, and this varies from person to person. The harmful side-effects that could be caused by caffeine are:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive issues
  • Muscle Breakdown
  • Addiction
  • High Blood Pressure (BP)
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue
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The link between coffee, tea, and fertility:

There are plentiful reasons for infertility in couples, including medical conditions, lifestyle choices, and genetic disorders. But, could you imagine drinking coffee would play a significant role in affecting your fertility?

Millions of people around the world can’t start their day without an ample amount of caffeine in the morning. It has become a habit that can have withdrawal symptoms if discontinued suddenly. Some research studies show that prolonged caffeine consumption might delay the conception time and harm the developing fetus’s health. It is also said to alter hormonal levels and affecting ovulation.

The consumption of caffeine during the pregnancy has been correlated with an increased risk of miscarriage, premature labour, stillbirth, congenital malformations, and long-term behavioural effects in offspring.

Studies have found out that a high intake of caffeine has lowered a women’s chance of having a baby by 25% and low sperm count in men. However, no concrete proof could be provided to substantiate the statements.

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Healthy amounts of caffeine:

Caffeine can be part of a healthy diet for most people as it provides energy boost at critical times. The effect varies from person to person depending on factors like body weight, medications intake, place of stay, etc.

According to studies on healthy adults, 300-400 milligrams a day are considered not damaging. In simple terms, four to five cups a day can be permitted for a healthy diet. However, it varies from every person’s reaction to the psychoactive drug.

The sensitivity towards caffeine will vary for different persons resulting in side effects. Children are to be given a lesser amount than the usual.

Caffeine’s effect on pregnant women:

There is no clear proof of the direct effect of caffeine on pregnant women, but observations and examinations have given a slight hint on the adverse impact of caffeine intake. The major factors observed by OB-GYNs are

  • Reduces muscle activity in the fallopian tubes.
  • Ceases specialized pacemaker cells in the wall of the tubes.
  • May trigger miscarriage and delay the chance of conceiving.
  • Can lower the offspring’s birth
  • Restricts the blood flow through the placenta during pregnancy.
  • Delay in caffeine excretion due to immaturity of the fetal liver.
  • High consumption can lead to premature birth.

These observations made people believe that caffeine intake must be reduced during the maternal period to avoid complications during labour. Women who consumed lesser consumption have had healthy babies with minimal complications than others.

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The research on Caffeine and fertility:

Many kinds of researches were conducted, but nothing gave conclusive results with concrete evidence. However, the most extensive studies on this subject were done to 3000 women in Denmark. They assessed the fertility rates to the coffee, tea, and soda intake. The concluding results they found out were:

  • The fertility rates of women who consumed 300 mg per day, and the woman who consumed 100 mg per day are quite similar.
  • The ability to conceive faster is slightly higher in the women who drank more than two teas per day than women who drank no tea.
  • The time period to conceive had reduced to the women who drank less soda than women who drank no soda at all. The fertility rates were worst for the women who drank more than three sodas per day than the woman who drank one soda per day.

Based on this study, drinking tea proved to increase fertility rates while coffee and soda lowered fertility rates. It is just speculations without proper scientific explanations. The study also discovered the following:

  • Early pregnancy loss had elevated if consumed more than 300 mg.
  • The risk for miscarriage was doubled by the consumption of more than 600 mg.
  • It did have any effect on the impact time it took for couples to conceive naturally.
  • The pregnancy rates for couples receiving fertility treatments had no adverse effect.

The ideal fertility study requires monitoring every choice the people take to conceive quickly in a lab. This was once such study and made a final report which helped some people.

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Impact of sudden caffeine withdrawal and symptoms:

When people are aboard the journey of childbirth, they try to eat and stay in the healthiest state possible. While some changes are acceptable and encouraging for a healthy outcome such as drinking, smoking, and eating unhealthy foods, caffeine instant withdrawal is not advisable. Caffeine intake has become a habit that cannot be controlled in such drastic ways. Slow restriction and appropriate treatments to relieve side effects are to be taken care of.

Knowing that caffeine loaded beverages might cause risks during labour, some turn to decaffeinated tea or coffee to limit their intake. However, any drink is acidic and can make the cervical mucus and body too acidic to delay conception. And body imbalance may become a pressing issue during the maternal period. Hence, to avoid complications, here are some guidelines to follow:

  • If the symptoms are physical, acupuncture would be of great help. Typically, caffeine narrows blood circulation in the brain. And when a sudden cutoff of caffeine is perceived, an increase of blood circulation to the brain occurs, which results in headaches. The digestive system also gets affected in the process, which can contribute to constipation. The acupuncture treatment can heal the symptoms in the first caffeine-free days.
  • Drinking black tea might be an alternative to other caffeine beverages and improve fertility according to studies. Even though tea contains some caffeine, it is not having a conflicting effect on fertility as coffee.
  • Herbal tea or green tea is advisable as it contains only about one-third of the amount in regular tea, and it also boosts health standards.
  • The time when you regularly have coffee or tea, try to indulge in some other activities or different alternatives to caffeine. As it has become a habit to drink tea or coffee at a particular time, it is irresistible to adapt to the change instantly. So, try to distract your mind and stay healthy.
  • Start consuming fresh juices, water, or decaffeinated tea/ coffee as an alternative.
  • Consult the pharmacist or physician before taking any medications for common cold.
  • Try to avoid drinking energy drinks, club sodas, which are high in caffeine.
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Caffeine amounts affecting men:

There are no definitive results for caffeine amounts affecting men’s fertility, but studies are conducted to resolve the confusion. Caffeine boosts athletic performance, attenuates symptoms of depression, and raises blood pressure, encouraging men to continue consuming.

The study conducted revealed caffeine effects on semen quality, DNA, and the time period needed to conceive. The result concluded with no adverse effect on any of the factors. However, it found out that men who drink higher caffeine (more than four cups per day) had abnormally shaped sperm in higher proportion. But this does not change the fact for fertility.

Men need to focus on other lifestyle decisions such as drinking, smoking, maintaining BMI, reducing stress levels, etc.

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FAQs about Caffeine & Fertility:

  • Q: How many cups of coffee can I drink during my pregnancy period?
  • A: Two to three cups are basically normal and harmless to both the mother and the child.
  • Q: Does high caffeine consumption affect the health of the baby?
  • A: There is no definite proof for the effect of caffeine on the baby but there have been observations made by medical practitioners that caffeine can lower the birth weight of the baby.
  • Q: Will my caffeine consumption affect my pregnancy outcome?
  • A: There have been incidents of miscarriages, premature labour but it might not be because of higher caffeine consumption. There may be additional problems that had caused the circumstance.
  • Q: Could I stop drinking coffee after I conceive?
  • A: Sudden halt of coffee might cause unnecessary problems in the body including headaches, increased blood pressure, fatigue, which are not good for the mother and the baby. Try to slowly decrease the consumption but not cutoff immediately.
  • Q: Is caffeine addiction a serious problem for normal people?
  • A: Caffeine is a natural stimulant used by millions around the world. It has its own pros and cons but anything excessive may lead to fatal damage. So, restrict the amount of caffeine intake to the normal level (300 mg per day or three to four cups per day).
Conclusive remarks

Every studies and research conclude that caffeine is not detrimental to fertility when under the general limit. When consumed in high quantities, women experience some risks in the gestation period. It can include miscarriages, premature labour, low birth weight, preterm birth, and growth restriction.

Men had trivial effects which need not be bothered. The main happy news is, these studies are not considered for public service as they do not have concrete evidence to support their statement.

Every person has a different sensitivity to caffeine beverages, making it impossible to publish a comprehensive report. So, no one needs to stop taking their refreshing morning drink unless advised. Dampen excessive caffeine consumption to have a healthy and enduring life.

Smit Kumar

Health & Wellness Coach: Smit Kumar believes in the philosophy of successful nutrition hunting mindset for the healthy body, mind and spirit.

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