It may be a surprise when you find out you are pregnant and realize you can’t drink as much coffee as you are used to. Fortunately there are a lot of substitutes out there that contain little or no caffeine, but are still delicious.
Keep in mind that although caffeine is most popularly associated with coffees and teas, these are not the only food items that contain caffeine. Chocolates, sodas, energy drinks, sports drinks, and even some medicines may have caffeine.
Here are some delicious coffee substitutes for you to choose from, categorized according to what you enjoy most about your coffee.
11 Coffee Alternatives for Pregnancy
Coffee Alternatives That Taste and Smell Like Coffee
1. Decaffeinated coffee
Of course the most obvious coffee substitute would be decaffeinated coffee and/or tea. However, do keep in mind that a cup of decaf coffee still contains some caffeine. To learn more about decaffeinated coffee and tea, check out this article here.
The suggested caffeine intake for pregnant women according to WHO is 200mg per day. Studies have shown that consuming more than 300mg of caffeine per day for an extended period can increase the risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight (source: Amercian Pregnancy Association).
2. Roasted Fig Coffee
Fig coffee is a good alternative for coffee as it is aromatic and fruity, with notes of roasted figs (source: Coffeemaker). Its earthy flavor gives you the sense of traditional coffee but without the caffeine, as it is naturally caffeine-free.
According to research, figs are high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and phosphorus, all of which are beneficial to pregnant women and their baby’s development.
Fig coffee is also rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are all important for our body’s processes (source: USDA).
Vitamin A is of most importance for vision, but also has a role on keeping up our immunity. Vitamin D plays an important part in the development of bones. Vitamin E prevents neurological disorders, and Vitamin K helps with blood clotting (source: ScienceDirect).
Roasted fig coffee preparation is the same as traditional coffee. It can be prepared with a coffee press or a coffee maker and can be made with milk/creamer and sugar, depending on your preference.
Some manufacturers of fig coffees, such as FigBrew, carry other products that may contain caffeine, so make sure to check individual packaging labels to be safe (source: FigBrew).
3. Capomo Coffee
Capomo is a seed that grows on top of Capomo trees in Latin American Countries. It is locally known as the “Mayan nut.” These seeds are picked from the ground when they fall from the trees, then they are cooked as food or turned into coffee.
It is also rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins are the components of our enzymes, antibodies, and even our own DNA (source: News-Medical).
Capomo is rich in folic acid, a mineral that is important in pregnancy. Sufficient folic acid intake before and during conception decreases risks of neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and other congenital anomalies, as well as preterm birth (source: NIH).
Coffee Alternatives That Boost Energy
If you are craving the buzz you get from coffee, smoothies are a good alternative.
If you make your own smoothie, you can make it with cow’s milk, which contains a lot of calcium. Adequate calcium intake lowers the risk of depletion in the bones. This can occur during pregnancy since your baby’s calcium needs are solely dependent on your bone calcium reserves (source: NIH).
It would also be good to add banana and spinach for that extra boost of energy. Bananas are packed with potassium, which is important for cardiovascular health and regulation of blood pressure (source: Healthline).
Spinach is loaded with folate, which is an important mineral before and during conception due to its role in fetal development (source: NIH).
Of course, you can always customize your smoothie to your liking by adding more fruits, berries, and other vegetables to adjust the flavor.
5. Golden Milk
Golden milk, or turmeric latte, is a traditional part of Indian culture and is called haldi doodh in Hindi. It is a popular drink in India made with milk and multiple spices like turmeric (where it gets its golden color), ginger, and cinnamon.
Turmeric is a controversial spice when it comes to pregnancy, but according to the American Pregnancy Association, it is safe for pregnant women in typical food and beverage servings. Turmeric may be unsafe if taken as a supplement (source: ADA).
To learn more details about consuming turmeric during pregnancy, read this article here.
Golden milk is said to have a lot of health benefits because of the ingredients it is made with. Milk, for example, is rich in calcium, as discussed above.
Turmeric and ginger have a number of benefits as well. They are anti-inflammatory and also boost your immune system, lower blood sugar levels, play an important role in gut health, and lower the risk of heart diseases and cancers (source: WebMD).
Turmeric tea also boosts your energy without the sudden crash afterward, which you might have experienced after drinking coffee (source: MedicalNewsToday).
Here’s a simple turmeric tea ingredient list:
- 1 cup milk of your choice, (non-dairy if you want it to be authentic)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp honey
Simply combine and heat the ingredients on the stovetop to the desired temperature.
Coffee Alternatives to Enjoy With Breakfast
6. Lemon water
Lemon water is a cheap and easy breakfast drink. Lemon is a good source of vitamin C that plays a role in immunity, as well as antioxidants, which defend against free radicals. Free radicals contribute to cancer, vision loss, and other chronic diseases (source: Harvard).
Drinking enough water is important during pregnancy. Drinking 8-12 cups of water each day helps with digestion and the formation of the amniotic fluid that surrounds and protects your baby (source: ACOG).
7. Herbal Tea
Different herbal teas have different advantages. Some help with digestion, some with nausea and vomiting, and others even have a positive effect on the duration of labor.
However, do be cautious of herbal teas as some are not safe for consumption by pregnant women. Anything labeled as “herbal” is not regulated by the FDA and requires caution.
As discussed above, some teas also have caffeine, just not as much as coffee. Here are some choices of tea you can have while pregnant (source: HealthyFocus).
- Peppermint leaf tea: May help with nausea
- Ginger tea: Has anti-inflammatory properties
- Red raspberry leaf tea: Helps with labor
- Lemon balm tea: Helps with mood and anxiety
- Rose bud tea: Has lots of antioxidants that are important for immunity
Do take into account that teas not listed may cause harm to you and your baby. Be wary of herbal teas and research their safety before consumption.
8. Rooibos Tea
This tea gets a number all to itself due to its many benefits and increasing popularity.
Rooibos tea is made from fermented leaves taken from a shrub called Aspalathus linearis, which is typically grown on the western coast of South Africa. Being naturally caffeine-free and flavorful, it is often viewed as a good alternative to coffee.
Rooibos tea contains antioxidants that may reduce cancer risks. It is also said that rooibos tea can help with heart health and help people with type 2 diabetes.
It can be brewed as a normal tea with water, sugar, and a little honey, and served either hot or iced.
Keep in mind that as an herbal tea, rooibos is not heavily regulated by the FDA, so make sure to consume it in moderation.
Coffee Alternatives to Drink With Friends
9. Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is very accessible, can be served hot or cold, and comes in different blends. It is a good option for social outings as it is almost always available in coffee shops.
Chocolate does contain caffeine, but not as much as coffee. To learn more about chocolate’s caffeine content, read this article.
10. Chai Tea Latte
Another oldie but goodie option. Like hot chocolate, chai tea is almost always sold in coffee shops, making your social life a little more manageable during pregnancy.
Chai tea is made with black tea, which still contains caffeine – around 30-80 mg per 8oz serving (source: CSPI). So even though it is safe for pregnancy, you might want to double-check the total amount of caffeine you have ingested throughout the day.
A Final Suggestion
11. Exercise and Fresh Air
Some of us take for granted what a little stretching and fresh air can do to our bodies.
Exercise has been proven to relieve anxiety and stress, improve mood, boost energy, and promote better sleep (source: MayoClinic).
Exercising in “natural environments” (i.e., the outdoors) has also been linked to feelings of revitalization and decreased feelings of tension, confusion, and anger (source: ACS).
Soaking up the sun activates vitamin D production, which helps with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus that aids in our bone health (source: HSS).
During pregnancy, if you are not used to exercising, walking is a great introduction. Start with 10 minutes of walking and make your way up to 30 minutes to ensure your body adjusts accordingly.
If you have been exercising before, you can continue at the same pace as long as your medical practitioner gives you the go-ahead.
Listen to your body, and if anything feels wrong, stop immediately and consult your medical provider.
Whether you love your coffee for the smell, taste, accessibility, or for the boost of energy, these 11 healthy alternatives are great for pregnancy. You might even find your new favorite drink on this list!