Fertility Blog

ASK THE EXPERTS - Addicted to Caffeine

Question: I'm a heavy coffee drinker, consuming five cups per day. I'm concerned that my addiction to caffeine will hurt my chances of getting pregnant. How much caffeine is acceptable? Answer: Moderate caffeine intake for women trying to conceive is acceptable. As a general guideline, women trying to conceive should limit intake to 3 cups of coffee (or 300 mg of caffeine) per day (Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS) 2001). Results from large published studies have not demonstrated that moderate caffeine intake adversely affects fertility (International Food Information Council (IFIC) August 2002). Furthermore, caffeine consumption has not shown to have an impact on fertility or birth defects for the male partner or sperm donor (OTIS 2001). For women who are pregnant, there have been several studies analyzing the affect of caffeine and pregnancy with the conclusions of those individual studies being mixed (IFIC August 2002). Keep in mind that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the caffeine you consume may transfer to the infant. As such, guidelines for caffeine intake of pregnant or breastfeeding women are a little more rigid. The recommendation by OTIS and Motherisk is that consuming less than 1.5 cups of coffee (or 150 mg of caffeine) per day is not likely to increase the chances of miscarriage or a low birth weight baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that: "no harm is likely to occur in a nursing child whose mother drinks one cup of coffee a day." For more information on the affect of caffeine on fertility, visit the National Toxicology Program-Department of Health and Human Services website. The website provides a more detailed look at some of the clinical studies referenced above. Additionally it provides a chart showing the levels of caffeine in certain food and drinks. This information is available at: http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/common/caffeine.html

Posted on October 10th, 2008
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