Will This Affect My Fertility?
A look at the reproductive influence of aspirin, baths, cosmetics, herbs, foods, and more
Does taking an aspirin a day make it easier to conceive?
Some research has pointed to certain antibodies as culprits in infertility and recurrent miscarriage. Anti-nuclear antibodies, anticardiolipin antibodies, and lupus antibodies have been implicated. It’s the anti-inflammatory properties of aspirin that combat the antibody effects and are prescribed when such a need is proven with blood tests.
Aspirin’s famed “blood-thinning” properties won’t make conception more likely. Aspirin has sometimes been suggested for pregnancy induced hypertension (preeclampsia), but so far its routine use has not been recommended. Definitely don’t start popping aspirin to enhance your fertility, unless advised by an infertility doctor or your obstetrician.
Does taking baths hamper the chances of conceiving?
No. Not in women, anyway. Hot baths can lower the sperm count in men, though, so it’s not a silly question. If the would-be father takes frequent baths or hot-tub soaks, and you’re having trouble conceiving, it would probably be a good idea to lay off the hot temperatures for several months.
Should people trying to conceive switch to decaf?
According to Dr. Ronald Gray, PhD, a professor in population and family planning at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a study on caffeine and fertility did show some associations between high levels of caffeine consumption and reduced fertility. “What we found is that women who consume high amounts of caffeine daily take longer, on average, to get pregnant than women with low or no consumption,” he said. “They had nearly three times the risk of not being able to conceive after one year of trying.”
In Dr. Gray’s study, a “high amount” was anything over 300 milligrams per day, which is the equivalent to about two 8-ounce cups of drip-brewed coffee, four 8-ounce cups of tea (hot or iced), nine caffeinated sodas, or 15 ounces of dark chocolate.
Other studies from different research groups have confirmed that consuming more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day reduces fertility. The bottom line is that for your best chance of conceiving quickly, it’s best to reduce or eliminate caffeine consumption. Remember to count all of your caffeine sources when figuring out how much you need to cut back. (However, the caffeine in aspirin and other over-the-counter pain relievers is not a significant source.) For more details, read Caffeine and Fertility.
Contrariwise, for guys, caffeine may be a fertility enhancer. Studies have shown that coffee-drinking is related to greater sperm motility—that is, their swimming speed and endurance.
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