Green Tea and Pregnancy
A Fertility Aid?

Three green tea and pregnancy studies suggest this healthy beverage may help increase fertility and the odds of conceiving a baby.



When you begin trying to get pregnant, all of the sudden everything you eat or drink is under the microscope. What about that hot, steaming cup of green tea you've become accustomed to? Is it good or bad? Encouraged, allowed or forbidden?

First of all, I should make one thing clear: when it comes to pregnancy, green tea is neither a magic bullet nor a poison.

The evidence is conflicting when it comes to whether or not green tea helps or hurts your chances of getting pregnant, but either way, it is not the most important part of the process.

There are far more important issues to consider when it comes to getting pregnant, including your reproductive health and that of your partner.

For the woman involved, having regular cycles and normal ovulation is really the key. If you want to get pregnant, please visit your doctor first to make sure everything is in working order.

When trying to conceive a baby, doctors are likely to tell you to eat healthy foods, smoke less and exercise more. It is often not clear whether you should drink more or less green tea.

Green Tea for Fertility?

Green tea contains caffeine and tannic acid. When consumed in large amounts, both substances have been linked to fertility problems and miscarriage risk.

However, green tea also contains flavanoids and other nutrients that have been found to confer many health benefits.

Studies have shown that green tea slows down aging, converts fat to energy and reduces the risk of many diseases, including breast cancer, ovarian cancer and heart disease.

So, could it be true that drinking green tea helps boost women's fertility? Three small scale studies suggest that it may help a woman conceive a baby.

Green Tea and Pregnancy Study #1:
Kaiser Permanent Medical Care Study

The 1998 study conducted by Kaiser Permanent Medical Care Program in Northern California discovered that green tea can double the chances of conceiving a baby.

Women who participated in the study drank more than one half cup of caffeinated green tea a day. Other caffeinated drinks did not produce the same effect.

It was suggested that tea constituents other than caffeine might have been responsible.

However, the study is not conclusive. The researchers said their results might be explained by other lifestyle factors. For example, those green tea drinkers may be exercising more and eating a healthier diet than the people who did not drink green tea.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health in 1998.

Green Tea and Pregnancy Study #2:
Stanford University Study

Another 2004 study carried out by Stanford University examined a nutritional supplement called Fertility Blend , which contains green tea extract, chasteberry, folic acid, L-arginine and other vitamins and minerals.

30 women aged 24 to 46, who had tried unsuccessfully to conceive for 6 to 36 months, completed the study.

A third of the 15 women taking the supplement were pregnant after 5 months, while none of the 15 women taking a placebo had conceived. No side effects were observed.

The researchers concluded that Fertility Blend may complement conventional fertility treatment. However, they did not comment on the effects green tea might have when used in isolation.

This green tea and pregnancy study was published in the April 2004 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

Green Tea and Pregnancy Study #3:
University of Bologna Study

In a study published in the April 2008 edition of Theriogenology, researchers at the University of Bologna performed an experiment to see what effect, if any, EGCG would have on the ability of pigs to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization.

The researchers found that at low concentrations (10 microg/ml), EGCG “significantly increased the fertilization rate.”

However, at concentrations of 25 microg/ml, EGCG actually decreased the percentage of eggs that were successfully fertilized.

Now, there is a big difference between test-tube piglets and humans conceiving the normal way. However, based on the study's findings, it is probably a good idea to keep your green tea consumption moderate as you try to conceive.

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References

Spinaci M, Volpe S, De Ambrogi M, Tamanini C, Galeati G (2008). Effects of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) on in vitro maturation and fertilization of porcine oocytes. heriogenology. 2008 Apr 15;69(7):877-85. Epub 2008 Mar 17

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