Everything that goes in your body and on your body has an effect on your ability to live life to the fullest, what I term, “LIVING YOUNGER”.  Women are usually hyper-diligent about everything they put in their body and on their body when they find out they are pregnant in order to give their baby the best chance at health.  We are finding out that what happens before conception has a huge impact.  Both parents’ prepregnancy caffeine consumption matters.

Many substances have a greater effect on a growing baby than they do on an adult.  We all know people who break down caffeine fast (fast metabolizers) and others who metabolize it slowly (slow metabolizers), but every developing baby has a much harder time breaking down this stimulant.  Decrease caffeine before pregnancy to prepare for a healthy conception and a healthier baby.  

The current research on how caffeine affects fertility and pregnancy is conflicting.  Some studies report that caffeine doesn’t influence the rate of miscarriage while other researchers believe that it does.  Personally, I believe that more than a little caffeine can have a big effect.  It goes back to individuality of genetic makeup.  If you are hoping to get pregnant, why take the chance?  

In a study released March 24, 2016, from the National Institute of Health (NIH), researchers found that a woman was more likely to miscarry if she OR her partner drank more than two caffeinated drinks per day leading up to the weeks before conception.  The researchers analyzed data from 2005 to 2009 involving 501 couples from both Texas and Michigan.  Called LIFE, which stands for Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment, the study examined the relationship between fertility, lifestyle, and environmental chemical exposure.  

More than two caffeinated beverages a day before pregnancy was associated with a higher rate of miscarriage.  One of the researchers, Dr. Buck Louis said, “Male preconception consumption of caffeinated beverages was just as strongly associated with pregnancy loss as females.” What a surprise!  Caffeine can also decrease blood flow to the placenta.  So, what do you need to know in order to START SOMEWHERE for a healthier pregnancy?

  • Start keeping track of your caffeine consumption. Caffeine crosses the placenta and can build up in the baby’s body.  Remember, this includes chocolate, teas, sodas, energy drinks, and some medications.
  • Systematically start decreasing it.  Once you know how much you are taking in, you can start eliminating it.  Caffeine withdrawal needs to be done slowly; the symptoms can be horrible!
  • Most sources advise to drink 200 mg of caffeine a day or less.  This amounts to about two cups of coffee.  
  • Slow metabolizers of caffeine must pay attention. If caffeine easily keeps you awake, you may genetically be a “slow metabolizer” of the drug.  According to some studies, that may double the chance of stillbirth.

At this point, if I were you, I would be thinking, “OK, I’ll drink decaffeinated coffee and tea.” Unfortunately, decaffeinated beverages are more likely to contain mold because caffeine is a natural antifungal for the coffee plant.  One cup of green tea has 35-70 mg of caffeine and is loaded with antioxidants, so this may be a good alternative for you coffee drinkers.  Caffeine consumption after the baby is born also has effects via breast milk.  Since it is a stimulant, it can cause irritability and sleep problems for your baby.  Water is always a safe bet!   

Remember, both parents’ prepregnancy caffeine consumption matters.  As I continue to research preconception health, I keep thinking that the START SOMEWHERE strategies are the same for anybody who wants to take the best care possible of their body and LIVE YOUNGER.  Thanks for being part of this community.

Both Parents' Prepregnancy Caffeine Consumption Matters

Both Parents’ Prepregnancy
Caffeine Consumption Matters