Caffeine is one of the most controversial topics in pregnancy nutrition. Can you have it at all, and if so, how much is okay? Well, while caffeine does need to be limited during pregnancy (around 200 mg/day is recommended), you don’t have to cut your morning cup of Joe out completely.
Image via @Andrea
Is coffee dangerous in early pregnancy?
The issues with caffeine stem mostly from its effect on folic acid. It blocks folic acid absorption, which is vital to your baby, especially during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Caffeine also increases your blood pressure.
However, it takes a lot of caffeine to do this! An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine, so as long as you stick with one to two cups per day, you’re probably safe.
6 Alternatives to Coffee During Pregnancy
If you’re like me then you probably don’t stop at two cups. It looks like a compromise is in order doesn’t it (pregnancy, right?!) Consider having your daily buzz fix, but then substituting the rest of the day with one of these great options (with added health benefits!)
1. Lemon Water
Not only is lemon water a great way to stay hydrated, but it can also give you a little burst of energy in the morning. It can help rid the body of toxins, improve digestion, and make minerals more available to your baby during pregnancy. A good habit (during pregnancy and after) is to have a glass of water with the juice of ½ a lemon each morning upon waking to stimulate the body to get going!
Need another reason to drink lemon water? It’s been shown to help reduce morning sickness! (Yes, really!)
Image via @ rpavich
2. Peppermint Tea
Just the smell of this one does a lot to wake you up in the mornings. The hot temperature combined with the cooling sensations is a great revitalizer. It can also help soothe the stomach after a meal and improve digestion. Yummy!
Image via @Chris RubberDragon
3. Matcha Green Tea
Not to be confused with regular green tea, Matcha is the purest form of green tea, only made in one region of Japan. Most people don’t know that when you steep green tea leaves in water, and then throw the bag out, you’re throwing away the most beneficial part- the LEAVES! Matcha fixes this, because is made after the leaves are carefully grown and shaded from the sun.
While this coffee alternative isn’t caffeine free, one serving contains only 25 mg (which is much less than a cup of coffee.) It also contains a special amino acid that helps to balance the effects of caffeine, providing calmness.
What are the health benefits of green tea?
Proven benefits of consuming Matcha include cancer protection, lower blood pressure, increased heart health, improved concentration, and a ton of antioxidants. It can be used to make hot tea, lattes, baked goods, and more!
Image via @Kirinohana
4. Flax seed
Okay, you probably don’t want to pop these into your mouth solo, but added to oatmeal or your morning smoothie (see below) this energy dense, high fiber, nutritious super food is another way to get your morning energy boost without consuming a too much caffeine. (Since you have a limit on the amount of caffeine, you want to make it count , right?)
Image via @Maddie Hagedorn
5. Green Smoothie
The power of fruits and veggies on your energy and mood is not to be underestimated! With ingredients like spinach, kale, romaine, berries, bananas, and many more, a green smoothie in the morning (like our Cinnamon Spice + Pear Smoothie) is a great, chilly wake-up call. They are so nutrient-dense, offering an impressive amount of vitamins and minerals, for fewer calories. They’re very versatile, making them easy to personalize with all of your different flavors.
Image via @Stacy
6. Herbal Tea
While herbal tea has no caffeine content, the antioxidant load is enough to provide some energy during the afternoon slump! Think roobios, ginger, licorice, dandelion, schizandra, and many more. Herbal tea is both refreshing and calming at once, making it a perfect afternoon or evening treat. Plus, the little one will thank you for calming yourself down after a busy day.
Image via @Takashi Hososhima
Do you have any favorite coffee alternatives? Share the love with other pregnant mamas in the comment section below.
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