Drinking Green Tea to Increase Fertility
My journey to conceive has led me to carry out research into the many claims made about foods and supplements that supposedly improve fertility. Some of the information I have found does have scientific merit but I think it is important that we educate ourselves and not blindly follow any advice. I need to know that nothing I consume will harm a potential unborn child or me.
I have seen green tea recommended on many forums as a way to increase fertility. This article aims to look at the fertility benefits of green tea. It is already known to have many other health benefits, so how can it help a woman to conceive? Any woman (or man) who has had problems conceiving will be able to relate to the confusion experienced when using the internet to search for advice. I aim to write an honest report on my findings.
Drinking Green Tea to Increase Cervical Mucus
Approximately fourteen days into a woman’s menstrual cycle, her cervical mucus changes. During the few days that a woman is considered fertile, her cervical mucus changes from a white sticky substance (generally seen as infertile) to a clear slippery fluid that has the consistency of egg white. This “egg white” is the vehicle by which sperm can travel from the cervix to the fallopian tube where hopefully one can then fertilize an egg. It is a very important mode of transport. If the wrong type of cervical fluid is present, then fertilization is unlikely to occur.
The presence of “egg white” cervical fluid is the one of the main indications that ovulation is imminent or is already happening. However, for some women this change is not distinct or does not happen for all women. This does not mean that a woman is not ovulating. It may just suggest that other factors are getting in the way. The causes of this vary. It may have to do with side effects of certain medications. Clomid is one such medication. Clomid is taken by women to stimulate egg production in the ovaries. However, the irony is that one of its side effects is its tendency to dry up cervical fluid!
According to the numerous fertility websites out there, green tea increases cervical fluid. I’ve drank green tea on and off for years and quite enjoy it now but for many people it is an acquired taste! I could not find any studies that proved drinking green tea increases cervical fluid. I don’t know where the idea originated but the evidence seems to be no more than anecdotal. However, just as there is no evidence to prove it does work, there is no proof it doesn’t work either.
The Anti-Oxidant Effect Of Green Tea On Fertility
by Jill Blakeway and Dr. Sami S. David cites a study of 210 women, carried out at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program of North Carolina who were trying to get pregnant. It was found that those who drank tea every day, even a small amount, were twice as likely to get pregnant as those who did not. The Fertility Plan
There are two reasons for this. Firstly, hypoxanthine, which is found in many teas, is believed to “be necessary for the follicular fluid that helps eggs mature and get ready for fertilization” (pg. 121). Secondly, polyphenols from tea, which are considered powerful anti-oxidants, are thought to prevent chromosomal abnormalities, which can lead to miscarriage and implantation failure.
Blakeway recommends drinking green tea over black tea as it contains less caffeine. You could also try de-caffeinated green tea or limit your consumption to just one cup a day to reduce caffeine consumption.
A Word of Warning
Tea can interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the body. Folic acid, which is necessary before and during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida, is one such nutrient. With this information, it is probably wiser to limit green tea to one cup a day. If you are using green tea to increase cervical mucus, you could drink one cup from the first day of your period until the day of ovulation.
Blakeway, Jill and David, Sami S. "The Fertility Plan",Virago Press, 2009