There’s a lot of confusing, conflicting advice for pregnant ladies out there.
Some of it will tell you not to drink coffee at all while you’re pregnant.
Some of it will say, “Live your life, coffee is totally fine.”
And some of it will tell you that some coffee is fine, just don’t get too crazy.
What we’ve found is that most studies out there confirm that it’s really best to just skip the coffee for these next nine months. So let’s dig into what the best alternative to coffee during pregnancy is.
Why is Caffeine so Risky During a Pregnancy?
Miscarriage, a pregnant woman’s worst nightmare, is the main concern. Caffeine limits blood flow to the uterus and, according to this study, early miscarriages were associated with lower levels of blood flow to the uterus.
Another study by Kaiser Permanente in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who consumed 200 milligrams or more of caffeine each day (about two cups of regular coffee or five 12-ounce cans of caffeinated soda) had twice the miscarriage risk as those who didn't have any.
A second scary thing that happens is that the caffeine itself also makes its way over into the placenta, which can increase your baby’s heart rate, just like it does to ours. It can stick around in his little bloodstream for longer and in higher doses, since his liver is underdeveloped right now and can’t process caffeine as efficiently yet.
Having large amounts of caffeine (we’re talking 8+ cups per day, which is probably not the best idea even if you’re not pregnant!) is linked to stillbirth, scarily enough. That’s definitely an extreme, and thankfully most people aren’t going around drinking 8 cups of coffee daily.
Beyond all that, caffeine doesn’t just affect your baby--it affects you, mama! While you’re pregnant, your body doesn’t detoxify itself of caffeine as quickly, which means it can stay in your bloodstream for longer and affect your sleep more than it used to. It’s also a diuretic, and probably the last thing you want right now is more trips to the bathroom! Caffeine has also been known to lessen the body’s absorption of iron, increase blood pressure and blood sugar, and put strain on the liver, which is already working overtime while you’re pregnant.
Looking at this info, it seems like a good idea just to skip the caffeine altogether--especially in the first trimester when miscarriage is most likely.
Weaning Off the Brew Without
Feeling Withdrawal Symptoms
Looking at all the possible consequences of coffee during a pregnancy--miscarriage, stillbirth, prolonged exposure for your baby, liver strain, and increased blood sugar--the best choice is clearly to avoid caffeine completely whenever possible during a pregnancy.
If you’ve been drinking coffee for years or decades, quitting the stuff is easier said than done.
Lots of ladies are lucky enough to naturally develop a newfound aversion to caffeine while they are pregnant--just the smell of their hubby making his morning coffee is enough to have them leaning over the porcelain throne.
If that isn’t you and you’re actually not sure how you’re going to get through this with your sanity (or at the very least, without suffering through some major migraines), we’ve got you! It can be tough cutting out coffee, and lots of people need a little extra help and maybe a few practical ideas. Try out some of the alternatives listed below!
The Absolute Best Alternative to Coffee
Switch to espresso for a day or two while your withdrawal symptoms sort themselves out! If you order a single-shot espresso drink, you’ll only be getting 75mg of caffeine. Cappuccinos and lattes are not only super satisfying, they contain things your body needs right now such as calcium and protein. It’s a great option when you’re just starting to wean yourself off of the caffeine!
Decaf coffee. This is a good alternative when you get those monster cravings, but don’t be fooled by the name--decaf still contains a little caffeine. A 12-oz cup will likely put you between 3 and 18mg. It’s not nearly as much as regular coffee, and it tastes exactly the same. Once you’re detoxed of your caffeine addiction, you’ll want to wein off the decaf. It will be worth it!
SUTRA Black. This is an amazing alternative to your morning mochas, or to hot chocolate on those cold winter nights. The rich chocolatey taste is great for satisfying cravings, and all the healthy ingredients are known to boost energy and give you a little more pep in your step! Not only that, but the activated charcoal found in SUTRA Black has some health benefits perfect for expecting mothers! According to Mom Junction, activated charcoal is great for general detoxification, reduced bloating, lower cholesterol, and reduced heartburn. Check it out here!
Fresh juice or smoothies. What can a girl do on those hot summer days when iced coffee is calling your name? Try out fresh juice and/or smoothies for a boatload of nutrients and a natural energy boost! This might even be a great time to invest in a juicer so you can make delicious juice concoctions at home.
SUTRA Gold. You’ll want to skip all the caffeine that you’d usually consume in a chai latte. Enter SUTRA Gold! It has a very similar taste and gives you an immunity boost at the same time. The ginger found in SUTRA Gold is great for reducing nausea if morning sickness is the bane of your existence right now. It also boosts blood circulation (the opposite of what coffee does!), which is extremely healthy for your little one. Not only that, but if you’re planning to breastfeed, the lauric acid found in the coconut milk can do wonders for stimulating milk production during and after your pregnancy. Click here to check it out now!
Take care of yourself! This one is for sure easier said than done for all you mamas out there, but it will help you feel naturally more energized and you won’t feel such an urgent need for caffeine. Here are a few basic boxes to check each day!
Eat enough healthy foods. Your body needs a few extras now that you have a person growing in it! Be sure you’re eating enough, and that what you are eating is high in vitamins, calcium, and iron.
Stay hydrated. Nothing will make you feel worse than dehydration. Do yourself a favor and drink at least 8 glasses of water every day--more, if you can. The Institute of Medicine advises pregnant women to drink 12-13 eight ounce glasses.
Sleep like a baby. Or, if this isn’t your first rodeo and you know that that saying is actually pretty laughable, sleep better and more consistently than a baby! You’ll wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day without feeling like you need a boost first.
You Can Do This - We Have Faith In You
At the end of the day, it helps to look at the bigger picture and think about who you’re doing it for. Your baby may never know about the sacrifices you’re making for his or her sake, but when they enter the world healthy and happy, that will be way more rewarding than keeping up a caffeine addiction.
And remember, it’s only for a few more months! You’ve got this, mama!
Want to try our favorite alternative to coffee during pregnancy? One that is energy boosting thanks to superfoods and has ZERO caffeine? Try our healthy SUTRA's below!
Thirsty for SUTRA Superfood Lattes?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jenna Martin
I’m a college lifestyle blogger on a mission to inspire other college kids to seek out adventure and live healthy, positive lives. Ever since about tenth grade I’ve been obsessed with all things health and fitness, and I love teaching what I’ve learned. In my free time you’ll probably find me writing, lifting, or doting on my handsome cat. Click here if you want to know more!