Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Pregnancy - the caffeine cap

Talking to a table-full of my mum's generation they've all been quite surprised by my insistence on being careful with caffeine now that I'm pregnant.  'We drank coffee, never did you any harm' they said. All of them. This may be true, but in 1985 Starbucks did not even exist in this country, I can only imagine that they're talking about a spoonful of nescafe swilled round in boiled water and a
sachet of coffee mate rather than the high caffeine drink we get as standard from any respectable establishment nowadays. It's in more things than you think, too. Ok, it was no surprise that Diet Coke packs a caffeinated punch, but a bar of Dairy Milk? Really?

Lucky for me, in terms of both pregnancy and wallet, I'm not much of a coffee drinker. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't pass up an Iced Caramel Macchiato - if you're offering - but in terms of getting those cogs turning in the morning, I don't need it. So although I was vaguely aware of caffeine limitations in pregnancy I didn't much think they applied to me. Coffee is the real problem here, right? I mean, the 200mg NHS guidelines wouldn't even allow you a Starbucks tall filter coffee (240mg) so not one to blow all my tokens on one game, I would prefer to get a days worth of jolly from my caffeine allowance. I was pretty sure I was staying within the limits until I actually started totting it up. Ok, I punctuate the day with a few cups of tea (75mg), more just to warm the cockles and give the eyeballs a screen rest...and I suppose it does give the ol' afternoon enthusiasm levels a boost. I have the odd Diet Coke (40mg), and I'm a little partial to an afternoon chocolate bar (25mg). Add these together and I've blown the 200mg budget. I know that this stuff is not what the baby needs but i'm washing it all down with a rainbow of fruit and veg, and the company I work for is not keen on a mid afternoon desk nap, so needs-must.

That Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiato, in the medium size costs 150mg of caffeine, go any larger and you’re over. In one drink. So i'm completely avoiding coffee, it just makes things easier. Aside from this, totting my intake of anything up as I go just feels a little but too much like a diet and feeling like I’m on a weight-watchers points system does not sit well with me. I have enough to think about right now what with avoiding all the best cheeses, remembering to take my supplements and rearranging my drawer of baby things (yes I have a drawer already) that I just don't have the headspace for jotting down how many hot beverages I have consumed in a day. So, i've made the switch, and actually decaf tea tastes pretty much the same. It doesn't give you the afternoon boost, quelle surprise, but it makes things a whole lot easier and leaves me free to indulge in an after dinner hot chocolate without a care in the world. Well, not too many cares. Obviously there's all the sugar to be concerned about but I need the sugar boost to give me the energy for all this worrying. 

What's your pregnancy caffiene policy, blow it all in one delicious cupful or stagger it throughout the day?


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