A lot of us like an extra cup of joe or can't resist that supersized soda, but if you're trying to get pregnant, it's usually a good idea to say no. "There appears to be an association between excess caffeine intake and infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy complications," says Serena Chen, director of reproductive medicine at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J.
A lab study on female mice-they're reproductively similar to humans-published in 2011 in the British Journal of Pharmacology
discovered that caffeine (the equivalent of two cups of coffee) reduced the muscle activity in the fallopian tubes, which aids in the transport of a woman's eggs from her
ovaries to the womb.
"We're relatively conservative and recommend a limit of 50 mg of caffeine a day," says Chen
, "which means one 6-ounce cup of brewed coffee or two teas.
recommends The Fertility Diet, a book that's based on a landmark Harvard collaboration on women's health known as the "Nurses' Health Study.
Data from that epidemiological study has shown that fertility foods for women include vegetable proteins like beans, peas, and nuts; extra iron from plants such as spinach, tomatoes, and beets; unsaturated vegetable oils from seeds and fish like salmon and sardines; whole milk; and carbohydrates rich in fiber like whole grains and fruits.
And avoid sugary drinks like soda and artificial sweeteners, says Chen
If you suffer from this condition, Chen
advises seeing a reputable, board-certified reproductive endocrinologist for advice, "so that you can make an informed decision.
When all is said and done, to ensure optimal fertility, people should adopt behaviors "that we should be doing anyway to keep ourselves healthy," says Chen
: "We know that well over 90 percent of couples who seek treatment for infertility are eventually successful, yet 50 percent of people who suffer from infertility are afraid to seek help.