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Baby health

6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancy

Dreading giving up your cup of java? Don't go into withdrawal yet, we've got some caffeine alternatives.

By Theresa Albert, DHN, RNCP
6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancy

Get your fix: 6 caffeine alternatives

Do I have to cut out caffeine?

You have just found out you're pregnant and chances are you feel some dread. Oh sure, you're overjoyed at the preggers part, but you know you should give up your beloved latté. But maybe not.





















Cutting down instead of cutting out appears to be safe. Health Canada suggests that consuming up to 300 mg of caffeine per day is considered a safe amount to prevent any risk of miscarriage. (Know that the studies done on caffeine and the risks were done with women who already had a previous miscarriage.) That said, we do know that the caffeine crosses the placenta and increases baby’s heart rate.





















What you need to know are your limits and your alternatives.




















6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancyPhoto: iStockphoto

Spread it out

Three hundred milligrams of caffeine each day is equivalent to two small cups of coffee. If you need to, spread those two cups out throughout the day by going half-caf or cutting back a quarter cup at a time.








6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancyPhoto: iStockphoto

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Try chicory

While decaf appears to be perfectly safe, why not kick the coffee habit for good? Check out Caf-Lib products, which are roasted chicory root coffee substitutes for coffee and tea. This type of beverage was popular during the war when coffee beans were scarce, and it tastes kind of/almost/maybe like coffee. The bonus is that the key ingredient, chicory, is a pre-biotic that feeds the good bacteria in your gut.








6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancyPhoto: iStockphoto

Beware of herbal teas

Be careful with your herbal teas. Some have uterine contracting effects and other things you don’t want going on when you are pregnant. The ones to avoid include: Guarana, Aloe Vera, Coltsfoot, Juniper Berries, Pennyroyal, Buckthorn Bark, Comfrey, Labrador Tea, Sassafras, Duck Roots, Lobelia, Senna Leaves and Chamomile.









Get the full list of herbal teas to avoid in pregnancy here








6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancyPhoto: iStockphoto

Go for loose leaf tea

Learn to love tea! Even rich, dark Darjeeling can contain less caffeine than coffee if you brew it for less than three minutes. 





Buy loose leaf tea and you can reduce the caffeine even more. Take the time to swish the leaves for 30 seconds with boiled water and pour off before your real brewing. Much of the caffeine is leached off in that first flush and the tea still has lots of flavour.




6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancyPhoto: iStockphoto

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Go green

Green tea still has caffeine, but if you brew the same leaves all day long, the amount is nominal. Jasmine does quite well with this process as does any other flavoured green tea. The possibilities are endless.


6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancyPhoto: loooby/iStockphoto

Go with Rooibos

Rooibos is your go-to, all-day, caffeine-free tea. It is perfectly safe, high in vitamin C and antioxidants and pleasant to sip. Unlike other herbals, it will stand up to a bit of milk and honey if you are mourning your morning, milky cup of java. 

6 caffeine alternatives that are safer during pregnancyPhoto: iStockphoto

Read more: Study: Coffee intake before conception linked to miscarriage Pregnancy food guide: Truth about what you can eat (+ cheat sheet) A new study on drinking during pregnancy draws alarming conclusions


This article was originally published on Aug 06, 2016

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