Everyone knows you’re not supposed to have caffeine when you’re pregnant. Caffeine and sushi. Those are the two biggies, right?
Just how much caffeine is truly harmful though? According to the March of Dimes, pregnant women should have no more than 200 mg of caffeine per day or not more than the equivalent of one 12 oz cup of coffee. That’s a Tall for you Starbucks fans out there, although Starbucks’ coffee does seem to have a wee bit more caffeine than the competitors, which may partially explain the popularity.
At any rate, caffeine is bad you naughty pregnant ladies. Bad. Caffeine can raise your miscarriage risk, reduce fertility, and contribute to small-sizes in newborns. I’m sure it will also make you bleed from your eyeballs and shoot flames from your vagina. It’s terrible stuff. It shall never cross my lips.
Here’s the deal with the “bad” stuff in pregnancy. Generally, a little won’t hurt anyone. All things in moderation. This even holds true for alcohol. I recall in my last pregnancy, at the very end when I was stressed and the Grasshopper would NOT COME OUT NO MATTER WHAT I DID that my doctor actually said, “Molly. Relax. Go home. Take a nice long bath. Have a glass of wine. Make love to your husband. Just relax.”
For the record, I didn’t drink the wine. I have a very strong aversion to anything with alcohol in it since my first round with hyperemesis gravidarum, so I don’t touch the stuff. But my point with the story is this. A little bit of the bad stuff probably isn’t that big of a deal.
Which leads me to this confession: Caffeine is getting me through this stage of my pregnancy.
I have found that if I drink one glass of restaurant-brewed iced tea around lunch time I do significantly better through the rest of the day. Just one cup. One 30 oz cup of iced tea, which ends up equaling about 75 mg of caffeine (scroll down to Lipton Iced Tea).
For the remainder of my fluid, I drink Lipton decaf iced tea. And not only is it decaf, I further decaffeinate it by brewing the bags once, dumping that off, then re-brewing a second time. For those who don’t know, tea can be brewed more than once, but the first brew will brew off the caffeine. Any subsequent brews will be caffeine-free. Thanks to the good folks at Teavana for letting me in on this, and extra thanks to my friend Mary for reminding me about it.
I’m not sure what it is about the caffeinated iced tea in the middle of the day that helps. I don’t know if it’s the boost of energy or something about the caffeine itself. Whatever it is, it really seems to help.
I mentioned this to my doctor today, and she was also stumped. To her knowledge, caffeine is never really used to help with nausea. To further that, a quick google search (and I mean really quick) showed lots of links to dealing with nausea caused by caffeine, but no links talking about caffeine helping to eliminate nausea.
My doctor said, “It’s another one of those risk/benefits things. Right now, it’s helping you eat and get through the day. Let’s just go with it.”
So, yes. I am partaking of the forbidden caffeine-fruit during this pregnancy. It’s helping me, so I’m not going to worry too much about it.