Can Caffeine Make You Infertile?

If you're considering taking a shot at becoming pregnant, you may have begun by assessing your lifestyle and your daily habits. You figure it would be wise to quit smoking, eat only healthy food, and get regular exercise. But you may have drawn the line at giving up coffee. But it nags at you: can caffeine affect my fertility?

Slight Correlation?

The short answer is a qualified maybe. Some research does suggest that caffeine consumption may hamper a woman's ability to become pregnant. In one study, for instance, women who had a minimum intake of 300 milligrams of caffeine daily lowered their chances for conception by 27% in comparison with women who ingested no caffeinated products. On the other hand, other studies show that there is either only a very slight correlation, or none at all between caffeine consumption and a woman's fertility.

Of course, if you're really gung ho on the idea of becoming pregnant, it makes sense to at least limit the amount of caffeine you take in on a daily basis. Experts seem to agree that a modest amount of caffeine, say less than 300 milligrams daily, won't impact your fertility.

Devil's Advocate

Playing devil's advocate, there is evidence that taking in a minimum of 200 milligrams of caffeine per day during pregnancy raises the risk of miscarriage. That may be a good reason for you to begin cutting back on the coffee and cola, now.

Keep in mind that caffeine is a drug and if you cut out all caffeine at once, you'll experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. For this reason, it's best to cut out caffeine in a gradual manner, rather than go cold turkey.

Gradual Reduction

One way to cut down your caffeine intake without missing your delicious cups of java is to start cutting your coffee so that your blend is half decaffeinated, half regular. Of course, you could just make your coffee or tea a bit weaker. If you've got a Jones for English Breakfast tea, steep your tea just for a minute instead of the long, English five minute steep. You'll cut the caffeine in your brew to half.

Coffee and tea are two obvious sources of caffeine. But you may not be aware that manufacturers add caffeine to a variety of products including soft drinks and energy drinks. Chocolate contains caffeine as does the seemingly innocuous bowl of coffee ice cream. Caffeine also makes an appearance in many over-the-counter medications such as allergy, headache, and cold remedies.

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