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? Drinking green tea increases fertility by improving cervical mucus. If you are someone (especially a woman) who is actively trying to conceive, you will be very aware of the importance of cervical mucus in the fertilization process.
In this article I hope to take you through the fertility benefits of green tea.
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!
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.
What Are The Negative Effects?
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. However, if you limit your green tea intake to one cup a day, there should be no interference. If you are using green tea to increase your cervical mucus, you should drink one cup from the first day of your period until the day of ovulation. It is recommended that any woman of child-bearing age should take a daily folic acid supplement to prevent neural tube defects.
Blakeway, Jill and David, Sami S. "The Fertility Plan",Virago Press, 2009