Few things in life are more frustrating than not getting pregnant when you want to have a baby. Green tea, a drink high in antioxidants, may increase your chance of pregnancy when taken in conjunction with other ingredients, but there is no clinical proof that green tea alone has any fertility benefits. Green tea may also reduce your levels of folate, called folic acid in its synthetic form, an essential vitamin for proper fetal development. Talk with your doctor to find out if green tea is safe for you.
Green tea has the highest amount of a chemical called polyphenols of any type of tea. The antioxidant benefits of polyphenols enables it to scavenge and destroy free radicals, which are molecules that can cause damage to the DNA in your cells. Free radicals may contribute to the development of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In addition to antioxidant benefits, green tea may also reduce inflammation. Other potential benefits of green tea are increased egg viability and decreased cellular damage to reproductive organs, according to the What to Expect -- when you're pregnant -- website.
On the downside, green tea contains caffeine, although black tea has two to three times more caffeine than green. Both caffeine and the tannic acid found in tea could decrease your chances of getting pregnant, They might also increase your risk of miscarriage if you consume them in large amounts, reports reproductive endocrinologist Helen Kim on the Baby Center website. Keep caffeine consumption below 300 mg per day, she suggests.
The University of Stanford has conducted several studies on the potential benefits of what they call "FertilityBlend," a mixture of green tea, the herb chasteberry, vitamins and minerals, and the amino acid L-arginine. The participants in the first study were 30 women aged 24 to 36 who had been unsuccessful in getting pregnant for 6 to 36 months. At the end of 5 months, 33 percent of the group taking FertilityBlend got pregnant; none of the women taking a placebo got pregnant during this time. A follow-up study tested 96 women by giving half of them the same mixture for 3 months. At the end of 6 months, 32 percent of the FertilityBlend group got pregnant compared to 10 percent of the placebo group.
Green tea may have a negative effect on folate, or folic acid, levels. While folate doesn't impact getting pregnancy, a deficiency can cause serious neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. A Japanese study of pregnant women reported in the October 2010 issue of "Bioscience Trends" found that women who drank the most green tea had the lowest folate levels.
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Green Tea; September 2010
- BabyCenter; Will Green Tea Help Me Get Pregnant?; Helen Kim
- What to Expect: Conception Myths
- "The Journal of Reproductive Medicine"; A Nutritional Supplement for Improving Fertility in Women: A Pilot Study; L. Westphal, et al.; April 2004
- "Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology"; Double-Blind,Placebo-Controlled Study of Fertilityblend: a Nutritional Supplement for Improving Fertility in Women; L. Westphal, et al.; 2006
- "Bioscience Trends"; Association Between the Serum Folate Levels and Tea Consumption During Pregnancy; M. Shiraishi, et al.; October 2010