One thing that's certain when you are pregnant is that things change – your body and your appetite, and even parts of your daily routine. Shifting habits can be tough — like how much you exercise or how much coffee you drink — so we came up with a few creative alternatives to keep you happy while you and your baby stay healthy.
1. Use tea to keep your morning routine
Good news, java junkies, you don’t have to eliminate caffeine completely. However, it’s best to keep your daily caffeine intake under 200 milligrams while pregnant (this is equal to about 11 ounces of coffee), according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
If you’re still craving a warm cup of something once you’ve hit your caffeine limit, consider a caffeine-free tea, such as chamomile, ginger, or rooibos, to keep your morning ritual intact. Chamomile has a calming effect, and rooibos, which is one of the more coffee-like caffeine substitutes, is a favorite of many patients.
2. Opt for a gentle, but effective, workout
Staying active during pregnancy will lead to more energy and less back pain in the long run. Your recommended level of exercise depends a lot on your prepregnancy fitness, so discuss your individual plan with your care provider.
As your energy levels change, you may need to scale back your routine. Our maternity team recommends lower-intensity options when you’re further along in your pregnancy, such as:
- A light jog, which can help strengthen your heart and is easy to fit into a busy schedule
- Stationary cycling, which places minimal stress on your body since the bike supports your extra weight
- Swimming, which relieves ankle swelling and keeps you cool
Note: If you experience headaches, nausea, blurred vision or fainting, stop exercising and call your doctor right away.
3. Ditch the daily soft drinks for a twist on water
That soda you crave with the occasional hamburger or slice of pizza is OK as an indulgence, but reconsider soft drinks as an everyday drink. Many of them contain caffeine, which you should limit while pregnant, and often have either sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Kick your daily soft drink habit with flavored sparkling water. Read the labels to ensure it’s truly sparkling water and doesn’t contain added or artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose. Try infusing your water with flavor by adding a frozen strawberry, or a slice of lemon or cucumber.
4. Substitute your cocktail with a fancy “mocktail”
Your favorite spirits will have to keep their place in the liquor cabinet for a while, but there are still ways to enjoy a “grown-up” drink while out with friends. Depending on your typical go-to drink, you may be able to ask for a “virgin” (nonalcoholic) version (Bloody Marys and margaritas work well for this). You can also dive into the world of alcohol-free “mocktails,” cocktail alternatives that have gained popularity, and complexity, in recent years.
5. Communicate more, stress less
During pregnancy, it’s important to proactively address daily stressors during pregnancy. High levels of stress may lead to less sleep, loss of appetite, a tendency to overeat, and even high blood pressure, which can all be harmful for both you and your baby, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Throughout your pregnancy, watch out for stress triggers. For example, a long daily commute may get increasingly difficult to handle as your pregnancy progresses. Fill your employer in on what you’re experiencing and see if telecommuting is an option.