If you want to increase your chances of falling pregnant, it is best to ditch caffeine all together. Here is why I even consider 200mg too much caffeine when trying to conceive.
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Ditching caffeine when trying to conceive?
When it comes to all the rules when you’re trying to conceive, the easiest is to already act like you’re pregnant. This is what is usually suggested right?
Because you shouldn’t drink alcohol or smoke when you are pregnant, it is therefore recommended also not to when trying to conceive.
“But what about coffee?”, you wonder.
The recommendation for pregnant women is to not take any more caffeine than 200 milligrams a day.
That amounts to about
• Two cups of coffee when they are filter coffee, or
• Four cups of black tea.
However, as a fertility homeopath, I would argue to completely ditch caffeine when trying to conceive as well as when pregnant.
The effect of caffeine on your fertility
Imagine one day you have drunk ten cups of coffee. What does this make you feel like?
Restless? You might not be able to fall asleep at night.
This is what caffeine does, right?
Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to fire off stress hormones.
If you are my patient or you’ve been following me for any length of time then you know I’m always talking about the adrenal glands. Because the thing is that the adrenal glands, fire off stress hormones if there is a stress situation but they’re also the ones responsible for sex hormones.
So if you’re trying to conceive you want to make sure you have plenty of those sex hormones, so that the egg can mature properly and that you can release it at the right time.
However, if your adrenals are constantly firing off stress hormones what do you think the chances are you’ll have enough of the good hormones for your fertility? One of the problems I often see compromised adrenals is for example low progesterone.
- Low progesterone can be recognized by:
- A short luteal phase (eg 12 days or less)
- Slow temperature rise after ovulation
- Spotting before your period
- Short menstrual cycles (eg 26 days or less)
- Repeated early miscarriages
A fertilized egg implants between day 6-12 after ovulation. If progesterone levels are however low, that may mean you start bleeding at 10-12 days after ovulation. That means that either the egg does not get a chance to implant properly or to implant at all.
A “perfect” menstrual cycle looks like this:
- Ovulating every month around day 14 of your cycle
- Periods are not painful, no nausea, no headaches
- Periods show up regularly, about every 28 days
- Flow starts immediately without spotting before
- No PMT/PMS symptoms
- The flow looks bright red, no clots
- Luteal phase (from ovulation till period) is 14 days
If your cycle does not look like that and/or you have a history of difficulty with conceiving or holding on to a pregnancy, then I would argue to leave the caffeine to the side completely.
Caffeine when pregnant
Let’s go back to how a lot of caffeine makes you feel.
In a worst-case scenario, it will bring up your heart rate, you’ll feel jittery, you won’t actually feel great and you won’t fall asleep well, or not stay asleep. Right?
Can you imagine what that will do your little baby? Your baby is a lot smaller than you are but the things that you are affected by, your baby will be affected by.
Not to mention, if they start off their early life with adrenals firing stress hormones, chances are they will be born with wired adrenal glands. That means they may have sleeping and relaxing problems already from the day they are born. Later in life they will also be more prone to burn-out and fertility problems.
It takes a while for a baby’s liver to get rid of toxins in their little fetal body, so getting rid of the caffeine is a lot harder than it is for you.
So although the 200 milligrams a day has been recommended as an upper limit for pregnant women, I would recommend to avoid all caffeine.
Your alternatives to caffeine
Listen, I am a definite coffee addict, so I know kicking the habit isn’t easy! However, it does not have to be as hard as you think if you just make sure you have nice alternatives to coffee and black tea in the house:
- Decaf coffee (still has a little caffeine, around 3g a cup)
- Rooibos tea (very warming and great anti-oxidant)
- Red raspberry tea
- Just hot water. Don’t say no until you’ve tried it!
- Mint tea (just be careful with that if you’re on homeoapthic treatment)
Remember that caffeine is not just in coffee & black tea but also in some sodas like coke, and in chocolate. The latter though, you should definitely keep in your diet in tiny amounts and then the good quality dark chocolate for it’s lovely anti-oxidants!
So, are you ready to kick caffeine to the curb?