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How to survive pregnancy without caffeine

Once you find out you're pregnant, one of the first changes to your usual routine might be skipping that second (or third, or fourth...) cup of coffee. Most experts recommend limiting your caffeine intake to less than 200 mg a day (which is about one or two small cups of coffee), since this amount doesn't pose a risk to pregnancy and the effects of larger amounts are unknown. But do you usually start the afternoon with a venti latte? Or order soda every time you go to a restaurant? Then you probably weren’t terribly excited to hear about these recommendations. But fear not! There are a lot of healthy and delicious alternatives.

Caffeine alternatives

  • Decaf drinks: If you love a regular cup of joe, try tricking yourself with decaf coffee for the same taste without as much caffeine. Keep in mind, though, that decaf doesn't mean caffeine-free, as decaf coffee does have a small amount of caffeine, but far less than regular coffee.
  • Tea: The benefits of tea have been widely appreciated for centuries - it comes in lots of delicious varieties, tends to have a soothing effect, and has great health benefits, including improving mental alertness. Be careful in your selection though, since teas like green or black tea can contain just as much caffeine as coffee. Look for caffeine-free herbal varieties if you want to skip caffeine entirely. 
  • Sparkling water: If you want the kick of carbonation without all the artificial sweeteners, sparkling water is a great way to stay hydrated and wake yourself up.
  • Hydrate: If you’ve gotten eight hours of sleep (one can hope!) that’s eight hours your body has gone without consuming any water. A lot of morning drowsiness can be linked to dehydration. Try drinking a tall glass of water first thing in the morning, you might be surprised by how alert you feel. When you are hydrating, avoid sugary beverages like soda, sports drinks, and some juices.
  • Healthy snacks: You might think the only way to get your morning buzz is by drinking a cup of coffee, but there are lots of snacks that can energize you just as well, like nuts, cereal, and fresh fruits.

Energy, the natural way

In addition to changing the way you eat and drink, continue to get regular exercise to keep you energized. Make sure you’re eating small meals throughout the day, and even if your cravings are calling out to a candy bar, try to reach for the healthier snack option as much as possible. If you feel absolutely exhausted around the clock, talk to your healthcare provider because you might need a blood test to look for thyroid problems. Take advantage of natural energizers throughout your pregnancy, and you’ll have no problem keeping up the stamina to support your growing baby.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • "Modetate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy: Committee Opinion Number 462." ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 8/10/2015. Web.
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