Tuesday, July 8, 2008



Four cups of coffee a day seriously damage a woman’s chances of having a baby, research suggests.

The effect is almost as bad as the problems in pregnancy caused by alcohol, smoking or being overweight, a fertility conference heard.

Women drinking that much caffeine were 26 per cent less likely to have a baby — adding to evidence that it can harm fertility and the health of an unborn baby.

The Dutch researchers followed the health and habits of 9,000 women with fertility problems for up to 13 years.

When the researchers from Radbout University in Nijmegen looked at why some women conceived naturally and others didn’t, they found lifestyle played a critical role.

Those who drank four or more cups of coffee, tea or other caffeinated drinks a day were 26 per cent less likely to have had a baby, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s annual conference in Barcelona was told.

Having three or more alcoholic drinks a week had the same effect, while being slightly overweight cut the chances of getting pregnant.

Smoking still appeared to be the most damaging, with more than one cigarette a day cutting the odds by more than a third.

Professor Ledger a professor of obstetrics and gynaecology added that caffeine could also damage sperm, meaning that men should also think about how much tea or coffee they drink.

The British Coffee Association conceded that previous studies had shown a high intake of caffeine delayed conception, but insisted smoking was worse.

Spokesman Zoe Wheeldon said: ‘Scientific evidence demonstrates that for pregnant women or those trying to conceive up to 300mg of caffeine per day is perfectly safe.

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