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Decaffeinated Coffee While Trying To Conceive

Explore the complexities of caffeine’s impact on fertility and pregnancy outcomes. Learn about decaf’s surprising effects on hormone levels. Get the facts here.

Decaffeinated Coffee and Fertility: What You Need to Know When Trying to Conceive


What Exactly is Caffeine?

Often found in everyday items like coffee, tea, colas, and even certain foods like chocolate and energy bars, caffeine is a common component of our diets. 

As a stimulant, caffeine boosts brain and nervous system activity while also increasing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline hormones in your body. Its effects are usually felt within 5 to 30 minutes after consumption.

While moderate amounts of caffeine can help enhance alertness and focus, its impact can vary from person to person. An excess dose might lead to heightened anxiety, sleep disruptions, and digestive concerns for some.

This article delves into the complex relationship between caffeine and decaffeinated coffee while trying to conceive and the pregnancy outcomes.

Impact of Caffeine on Pregnancy: A Closer Look

Recent meta-analyses have unearthed significant correlations between caffeine and coffee intake and adverse pregnancy outcomes. One such analysis reviewed 26 studies and discovered that caffeine and coffee consumption heightened the risk of pregnancy loss. The risk increased by 19% with every additional 150 mg/day of caffeine—approximately the amount in one espresso coffee—and by 8% with every additional two cups of coffee per day.

Another meta-analysis of 60 studies confirmed that greater caffeine intake during pregnancy might increase the risk of spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, low birth weight, and small for gestational age (SGA) infants. Specifically, an additional 100g of caffeine intake was associated with a 14% increase in spontaneous abortion, a 19% increase in stillbirth, a 7% increase in low birth weight, and a 10% increase in SGA.

How Much Caffeine Can You Have When Trying To Conceive

Caffeine and Its Impact on Fertility

A prospective cohort study in 2018, which consisted of over 11,000 women, found a positive association between pre-pregnancy coffee consumption and the risk of spontaneous abortion (SAB), particularly at weeks 8 – 19. For women consuming four or more servings of coffee per day before pregnancy, the risk of pregnancy loss was increased by 20%

Interestingly, another prospective cohort study of over 2,000 couples trying to conceive in North America found that high caffeine intake among men rather than women was linked to a decrease in fertility. Specifically, men who consumed 300 mg/day or more of caffeine had 28% lower fecundability than those who consumed less than 100 mg/day. The study also indicated that caffeinated tea slightly reduced fertility among women.

Decaffeinated Coffee While Trying To Conceive: A Better Option?

Contrary to what the term ‘decaf’ may suggest, decaffeinated coffee still contains a minimal amount of caffeine. On average, you can expect to find about 4-8 mg of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee, significantly less than in a standard cup.

In a pioneering eight-week randomised controlled trial involving 42 healthy, coffee-drinking adults, researchers examined the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBG) and sex hormones. Participants were divided into three groups to consume daily caffeinated, decaffeinated, or water. While no notable differences were found among groups by week eight, some intriguing changes were observed at the four-week mark.

Specifically, in women, decaffeinated coffee slightly increased SHBG levels and reduced testosterone levels, while caffeinated coffee decreased total testosterone. In men, caffeinated coffee consumption led to an increase in total testosterone and a decrease in estradiol. However, due to the study’s small sample size, the findings should be interpreted cautiously, and further larger-scale studies are needed.

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The Bottom Line

  1. High caffeine intake is linked to increased risks of pregnancy loss and other adverse pregnancy outcomes.
  2. Pre-pregnancy coffee consumption, especially four or more servings daily, increases the risk of pregnancy loss.
  3. Decaffeinated coffee, despite having minimal caffeine, shows some impact on hormone levels.

Need More Help?

Are you seeking additional support and guidance in optimising your fertility through a personalised nutrition plan?

Schedule a nutrition consultation today and take the first step towards achieving your fertility goals.

Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for information purposes only and should not be replaced with medical advice. We recommend you discuss with your healthcare providers (doctor, dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) any medical questions for diagnosis and treatment, dietary plan, or use of any medications and nutritional supplements before you make any changes. DietitianChong Pty Ltd shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website. 

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