Do I Need To Break Up With My Latte?

You love your coffee! A latte a day keeps the… Oh, who are you kidding! One?

Coffee is delicious. It’s also addictive, and we tend to have routines and rituals around coffee at work and in our personal lives. Maybe you have a coffee with your breakfast every day, enjoy a 10:30 run to the coffee shop on work days or just like to relax with your friends over a hot cup of Joe. A quick look at the trending hashtags on Instagram and you can't deny that many people are passionate about their #coffeecoffeecoffee!

As parents, we want to do the best for our children. Most parents make significant changes to their diets when planning for pregnancy or when they become pregnant. Suddenly, sashimi is out, no more rare steak, and you find yourself lying awake at night Googling whether it’s safe to each shrimp when you’re pregnant.

You've probably heard that you shouldn't drink coffee. Maybe you've had a "helpful" person or two feel the need to fill you in on the effects of coffee during pregnancy while waiting in line at Starbucks. Still, you also probably know many people who never missed an Americano and still had a healthy pregnancy.

So what’s the answer? Can pregnant people safely drink coffee?

There are many studies available on how caffeine consumption affects pregnancy. Officially, doctors recommend against excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy. Studies suggest there may be a higher incidence of growth issues. Increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight can result from excessive caffeine consumption (more than 3 cups of coffee per day) during pregnancy. Caffeine crosses the placental barrier and increases the baby's heart rate. It may also stay in the baby’s bloodstream longer and at higher levels.

Not only can caffeine have adverse effects on your baby's health, but it can also be harmful to you. When you're pregnant, your body breaks down caffeine at a slower rate than normal causing it to build up in your system. Further, caffeine has a diuretic effect which could make you have to pee more often (think night waking to use the bathroom and dehydration). Caffeine inhibits iron absorption, too.

It’s also important to mention that some studies have shown drinking coffee regularly to have no adverse effects during pregnancy. 

Health Canada (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-gs/know-savoir/caffeine-eng.php) suggests pregnant people cap their caffeine intake at 300mg per day, about 3 cups of regular coffee. Speciality coffees can be a bit trickier. For example, your Venti Flat White has about 195 mg of caffeine in it.

What is a coffee lover to do?

First of all, if you're concerned about eliminating coffee from your life for the duration of your pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife. They can help you decide what's best for you. 

If coffee or other caffeinated beverages were a big part of your life before pregnancy, there are a few things you can do to cut back.

1.     Try having smaller cups. Instead of a Venti, order a Tall and grab a bottle of water to keep hydrated.

2.     Switch to decaf. Decaffeinated coffee might do the trick for you.

3.     Cut back slowly. Try cutting out one of your regular cups of coffee at a time to ease the transition.

4.     Enjoy other hot beverages instead. Sip caffeine-free herbal teas or hot apple cider!

And finally, pregnancy should not be a nine-months long exercise in self-denial. You can safely enjoy a latte each day. Let that cranky lady behind you in line “Tsk! Tsk!” to their hearts content while you enjoy your morning cup. And feel free to enjoy that sugary treat, just to really get their blood boiling!

 

 

 

Get More Sleep Tonight

 

 

Although you were warned that pregnancy is exhausting, you probably weren’t prepared for just how tired you were going to be. Your body is working hard, making an entire, intricate human being.

 

During the first trimester, your body is making changes to prepare you to provide nourishment to your baby for many months to come. Your breast tissue changes as your body prepares to breastfeed your baby. Your blood volume begins increasing as soon as you become pregnant and will increase by 50% over the course of pregnancy. The hormone progesterone will signal your body to lower carbon dioxide in the blood, changing the way you breathe. Morning sickness can wreak havoc on your nutrition, making it harder for your body to meet demand.

The many changes your body is making deplete you of energy. Hormonal changes and the physical demands of pregnancy add to fatigue. Then there’s first-trimester insomnia! You may have difficulty sleeping even though you are more tired than you have ever been before!

So how does a pregnant person get more sleep and avoid fatigue, moodiness, lowered immunity, and other health concerns related to pregnancy sleep deprivation?

1.       Start by creating a routine. Individuals who go to bed and wake up at the same time each day feel more rested. Set a regular time and ensure you'll be in bed at least 8 hours.

2.      Reduce your evening screen time. Even with the advent of iPhone's "Night Shift," late-night screen time can discourage melatonin production and in turn sleep. If staying off your phone or other devices for the two hours leading up to bedtime is not realistic for you, be sure you're using Night Shift or some other filter, choose devices with smaller screens and turn down your screen's brightness. 

3.      Have a relaxing ritual. As an extension of your routine, adding in some relaxation techniques can help you fall asleep and stay asleep. A hot bath each night, scheduling some quiet time for yourself, reading a book, and having a small snack, can help you sleep better if added to your bedtime routine. 

4.      Exercise and physical activity have been shown to improve the quality of one’s sleep. Take some time to get a little exercise each day.

5.      Work with your health care professionals to relieve any pregnancy related discomforts you’re experiencing to make it easier to sleep. You may find adding a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or massage therapist to your prenatal care team helpful. Your Ottawa Family Doula can provide carefully vetted resources for practitioners in the Ottawa area.

Follow these tips for blissful slumber. Sweet dreams!