Pregnant women are asked to give up a lot during their nine months, including caffeine. While a little caffeine is ok, more than a cup or two of coffee can push you past the safety guidelines recommended by most experts. Fortunately, with a few lifestyle changes pregnant women can still enjoy low or no-caffeine beverages, and even a few peppy snacks.
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Different types of tea contain different amounts of caffeine. If you are looking for something to replace coffee, however, a cup of green or black tea often contains less than half the amount you would find in a standard cup of Joe, per the American Pregnancy Association. You can also try white tea, or herbal tea, which contains minimal to no caffeine. For example, peppermint tea is caffeine free, and has the added advantage of soothing upset tummies. Before you try any herbal teas, however, run it by your doctor: not all are considered safe for pregnant women. Also keep in mind that you can still overdo caffeine even with low-caffeine beverages. Be sure to monitor your daily intake.
Sometimes you just need a soothing beverage, whether it contains caffeine or not. It may sound ridiculous, but why not try a cup of hot water? Add a little flavoring with a lemon or a lime, or some other steeped fruit. You can adjust the amount of fruit to your taste. Another option is broth, which can offer the same type of comfort as a cup of coffee, and add a little flavor to your meal. Opt for low-sodium broth when able.
Sodas are the caffeine culprits for many women, whether they contain sugar or not. If you must have soda, switch to a caffeine-free citrus soda or root beer. Read the labels: not all root beer is caffeine-free. However, What to Expect suggests you consider sparkling water over soda during pregnancy, which has fewer calories and less sugar or sweeteners. Fizzy water can satisfy your carbonation craving without any caffeine, and as a bonus, it promotes hydration. If you can’t stand plain sparkling water, try adding a little fruit juice or fruit puree for flavor.
Decaf Coffee and Tea
It’s kind of cheating, because even decaffeinated drinks contain a little caffeine. However, a decaf coffee contains minimal caffeine when compared to a regular. If you can’t live without your fancy coffee drinks, indulge in a treat from time to time: just be sure to request your latte in decaf form. You can also find many teas commercially available in decaffeinated varieties, including green and black.
Swapping out your caffeine-filled cappuccino for a handful of nuts may not seem very logical to you, but it can give you the energy you may feel you're lacking since you cut your caffeine habit. What to Expect suggests keeping a variety of snacks on hand for a blood sugar boost between meals. Trail mix, cereal bars and fresh fruits are all healthy snack choices for pregnant women, and may be exactly what you need to get through the afternoon slump.