There’s lots of conflicting information about caffeine out there, especially on IVF and fertility blogs. There are also plenty of myths about what to eat / drink and what to avoid when you’re trying to conceive – all the information online can be so confusing! In this fertility blog we’ll lay out the information and some advice to help you make the best decision for your own personal journey.
What’s Caffeine and How Does It Effect The Body?
We’ve all heard of caffeine. It’s the thing in coffee that so many of us rely on to get us going in the morning! Put simply, caffeine is a natural stimulant that affects the whole body through the central nervous system and it can be found naturally in tea, coffee and cacao. It’s common in many drinks, some foods and even some medicines. In general, its effect on the body is well known: it increases your alertness, raises your heartbeat, helps keep you regular and can cause jitters or headaches. Too much can lead to caffeine dependence and therefore withdrawal symptoms. Like most things however, caffeine is completely fine in moderation and even has some benefits, like a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and some cancers.
But What about Caffeine and Fertility?
It’s quite commonly known that you should reduce caffeine intake if you’re already pregnant, as it can increase the likelihood of early pregnancy loss. However, the link is more unclear when it comes to fertility.
Related Article – Baby Loss Awareness – What Not to Say to a Woman Who’s Had a Miscarriage
The NHS advice says there is no certainty that caffeine does affects fertility. Studies that have been done on caffeine and fertility have generally come out as inconclusive – such as a 2017 Danish study that found there was no difference between women whose daily intake was over 300mg of caffeine and those whose intake was under 100mg.
When it comes to IVF specifically, another earlier Danish study showed that five or fewer cups of coffee had no effect on the likelihood of conceiving. However, when the women studied regularly had over 5 cups of coffee a day, it could halve the chance of getting pregnant through IVF. There is also the argument that if you do become pregnant, it’s general practice to cut back or stop having caffeine. That change could be a mental hurdle for you, so why not take some steps towards it whilst you’re trying to conceive naturally or having fertility treatment?
Overall, there’s no concrete evidence that you need to cut out caffeine completely. So, do not mourn your morning brew just yet! But it’s recommended if you have a very high intake that you cut it down a little.
How to Keep Track of your Caffeine Intake Whilst Trying to Conceive
We’ll be the first to admit that the terms used around caffeine can be a little confusing. We don’t think of caffeine in milligrams, but how many cups of coffee or tea we’ve had. Caffeine can also be found in soda drinks and chocolate, but we’ll tackle that one another day! A cup of brewed coffee is just over 100mg, an espresso is just over 50mg. If you’re popping out to the High Street for your caffeine fix, the rate is generally higher. In a tall cappuccino from a well-known chain of coffee bars there’s 150mg, a flat white from another chain has 277mg!
In order to be informed about how much caffeine there is in what you’re eating and drinking, we recommend the Caffeine Informer’s Caffeine Database. It has information for drinks from all different outlets as well as coffee and tea you can buy in the shops. In order to calculate quickly a rough estimate of how much caffeine you’ve had, we also recommend the Tommy’s Caffeine Calculator. It’ll give you a good rough guide without you having to get caught up in exact numbers.
What about Alternatives to Caffeine?
If you do decide that cutting down on caffeine for your fertility is a good idea for you, why not try some of these alternatives:
1. Herbal Tea
If you’re out with friends in a coffee shop and still want a hot drink, herbal teas are a great alternative! Not all of them are caffeine-free but many of them are: Rooibos is naturally caffeine-free with nutty and sweet flavours; cinnamon tea is another that is spicy and fragrant; or peppermint tea, of which the fresh minty flavour especially makes sense first thing in the morning! In fact there is a plethora of caffeine-free herbal teas on offer in the shops. Increasingly, tea brands are making a wonderful selection of different combinations – you’re bound to find one you like!
If you’re trying to conceive and want to forgo caffeine, Twinings have the perfect caffeine-free selection for you. Even better, they’re offering an exclusive 15% off their entire range for our Fertility Squad Members. Join our Squad to benefit from this exclusive discount code and more.
2. Coffee Alternatives
Something you may not have heard of is specific coffee alternatives that are made of natural ingredients, such as barley and chicory. They work the same way as instant coffee and, although the taste is not identical, they maintain the ritual of making a brew! They can be bought in health shops, for example here’s a selection from Holland & Barrett and Planet Organic.
Planet organic are offering an exclusive 10% off all their online products for our Fertility Squad Members. Join our Squad to benefit from this exclusive discount code and more.
Of course, an obvious way to cut down caffeine is through decaffeinated coffee and tea. Most coffee bars and shops do decaf alternatives. They have the benefit that they taste very similar to the caffeinated version.
In summary, why not watch the caffeine for prime fertility, but no need to cut it out completely as you might just end up causing yourself more stress!
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