Saturday, February 20, 2016

Considering Caffeine Intake TTC

Our typical Saturday morning involves waking up at about 7, then heading to the local Starbucks around 9 to enjoy some coffee and either catch up on work or a good book. This originally became our weekend routine when I was working on finishing my dissertation last Spring (thankfully, that beast is no longer part of our Saturday routine -- that was stressful to finish!). 

A few friends have mentioned in the past that they don't know how we wake up so early on our day off. Although we do "sleep in" a bit in comparison to our typical weekday, rising at 7 rather than 5:45, we end up getting out of bed significantly earlier than we used to before we had a routine. This took a little time to adjust. But now we prefer this routine -- it mimics the suggestion that it is easier to get out of bed on weekdays when you keep your sleep schedule roughly the same on the weekends. After making this our routine for several months (and I was no longer burning the midnight oil to finish my dissertation) we found it was so much easier to wake up on weekdays. Although we love our sleep, it is much better to get up earlier and enjoy a few more hours of daylight on the weekends. 

It is such a nice thing to look forward to now on our weekends. We plan out what we would like to do --  I recently joined a womens book club, so this is an excellent opportunity to get caught up on the next book I need to read. My husband enjoys catching up on his newest comic book or a podcast. 

One thing I realized was the suggestion to cut down (or completely cut out) caffeine while trying to conceive -- does that mean I have to now opt for herbal tea on our Saturday mornings? Many of the other adjustments, like cutting out alcohol (I don't drink at all, so that was no problem!) or lunch meat (I consume very little lunch meat typically) was easy. Not wanting to completely cut out my morning cup of coffee until we have officially confirmed pregnancy, I explored what this meant for my morning caffeine intake.

How much caffeine while TTC?

Several different sources [The Bump] [American Pregnancy] suggested 200 milligrams of caffeine intake to be a safe upper limit of caffeine intake. Others [] just have very vague "be as conservative as possible" intake guidelines. Previous research suggests any daily intake above 200 milligrams significantly increases the risk of miscarriage.

Comparing Options at Popular Coffee Chains

We created the following charts for both coffee and non-coffee options at popular coffee chains to provide a guide of the safest and riskiest options at each chain. You will notice across all of the chains, even small sizes of regular brewed coffee are over the 200mg limit (with the exception of Tim Hortons). It is also important to remember that darker/robust roasts tend to have slightly lower caffeine content than lighter/blonde roasts.

Have you cut down your caffeine intake while trying to conceive? Are you surprised to see caffeine levels in similar drinks differ significantly between these chains?

Note: These are recommended levels based on previous research on caffeine level use in women trying to conceive. If you have struggled with miscarriage or pregnancy complications in the past, consult with your physician to determine what caffeine level (if any) is safe during the process of trying to conceive. 

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