Newly pregnant? Say goodbye to that morning cup of joe. Not only does caffeine flush much-needed nutrients out of your system, it also contributes to frequent bathroom breaks and intensifies mood swings. Most importantly, and the top reason to avoid it, consuming too much caffeine may also increase your risk for miscarriage. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists advises expectant mothers to limit their intake to two cups of caffeinated coffee each day – the equivalent of one 12-ounce cup. If you're the type of woman who doesn't get to noon without a serious coffee boost, we have some work to do. Here's how to safely and gently wean yourself off caffeine during pregnancy:
Quitting coffee cold turkey will only make you miserable and bring out some pretty uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. You may get hit with headaches, fatigue and moodiness as your body cries out for the good stuff. Instead, your goal here should be easing your system down from five cups a day to two 6-ounce cups. Each day, cut out another half cup, swapping it out for decaf. You can always increase your intake again once baby arrives.
Make healthy substitutions
So, you feel like you can't get past 3:00 p.m. at the office without your afternoon latte? If an energy boost is what you're after, there are healthier alternatives to put a pep in your step. If the weather's amenable, slip into your walking shoes and go for a stroll in the sunshine. Getting your heart pumping and blood flowing will help you through the afternoon slump. A snack of complex carbohydrates may do the trick, too. Try nibbling on a handful of almonds and dark chocolate – or a slice of peanut butter toast with bananas.
Carry on the ritual
For some, coffee-drinking is all about the experience. But just because you're cutting back, doesn't mean you have to deny yourself a daily ritual. We've already established that you can continue to drink two cups safely. You can also add in decaffeinated drinks and start switching to herbal teas when you need a cup to accompany your morning paper.
Get enough sleep
Cutting back on your trusty energy provider is bound to leave you fatigued. While you're weaning, be sure to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. You'll feel better physically and emotionally – and you may find it easier to kick your caffeine habit in the long run.