coffee in pregnancy, caffeine in pregnancy, caffeine, healthy pregnancy

Can’t imagine the day without your morning cup of coffee? You won’t have to give it up altogether, but you may have to change some of your coffee habits now that you’re pregnant.

What are the risks?

Small doses of caffeine are considered safe in pregnancy. However, excessive consumption has been linked to increased risk of miscarriage. Too much caffeine also impacts your fetus growth and may result in lower birth weight, which can cause health problems when the baby is born.

RELATED: Is Coffee Sucking The Life Out Of You?

How much is too much?

Current recommended limit in Australia is a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine a day. According to NSW Health, this limit can be obtained from 1 cup of strong espresso style coffee, 3 cups of instant coffee, 4 cups of medium strength tea, 4 cups of cocoa or hot chocolate or 4 cans of cola. Keep in mind that this is an estimation only. Caffeine content in drinks vary widely and it’s always better to err on the side of caution.

Something else to consider is when you have your drink. Caffeine makes it more difficult for your body to absorb iron and calcium. You need your iron and calcium more than ever when you’re pregnant, so it’s best to have your meals and your coffee separately.

Why do you crave caffeine?

This is a good question to ask when you’re making changes to your coffee routine. Do you need your coffee to wake you up? In that case, you’re probably not getting enough rest or you lack important nutrients. Instead of reaching for your cup, carve out time for more sleep, drink plenty of water and choose healthy energy boosting foods like nuts, cooked eggs or spinach.

Do you love the taste of coffee? Make it decaf. It’ll only give you a fraction of the caffeine that regular coffee has and you’ll still give your taste buds a treat.

Sometimes, you’d crave a caffeine drink (not necessarily coffee) because it makes you feel better. For me, black tea was an effective relief for morning sickness. If you find yourself drinking cup after cup just so that you can get through the day, look for a decaffeinated option. In my experience, decaffeinated black tea was just as effective as the real thing. Clearly, it wasn’t the caffeine that was making me feel good.

As you can see, there’s no need to panic that you’ll have to do without coffee for the next 9 months. You can still enjoy your favourite drink and meet your needs, while keeping your baby safe.

Image by Bellezza87 via pixabay.com