Caffeine during pregnancy is a thorny issue. In some countries (such as the US), it's frowned upon for women to drink coffee or tea while pregnant. But over here in the UK, where tea is a part of our national identity, the very idea that a pregnant woman might forsake a refreshing cuppa is - in some circles - laughable.
Certainly, no one in my family has ever given up tea during pregnancy, but I admit to cutting right back on my intake of caffeine when I got pregnant. Pre-pregnancy, I was always careful to limit my coffee and tea to no more than three cups of tea a day (or one cup and one cup of coffee), but when I found out I was pregnant, I often switched tea for redbush or mint in a bid to cut out excess caffeine.
Given the fact that caffeine restricts the uptake of vitamins (and most vitally, iron - which is hard enough to absorb at the best of times) cutting back your caffeine makes sense. However, I found it all pretty much a moot point in the end. Increased heart-rate, anaemia, and never-ending acid indigestion have all meant that a strong cup of coffee is the last thing on my mind. Now, if I have a coffee at all, it's watered right down, laced with milk and comes in a tiny cup.
A cappuccino hasn't passed my lips in months.
Did you give up caffeine? And if so, what did you drink instead? How about herbal teas? Mama Tea is the first range of tea "specifically designed in the UK for pregnant women".
Anna Louise Simpson, a former corporate lawyer, was inspired to tailor-make a range of herbal teas for pregnant women after getting into tea during her own pregnancy.
The teas are designed to support women through each stages of their pregnancy. I've got to admit, I love this idea and I wish I'd had the Morning Mama (with ginger and chamomile) during my morning sickness stage.
The rest of the range includes Glowing Mama (with Rooibos and Echinacea), Cool Mama (with Spearmint and Marshmallow Leaf for heartburn and stomach upsets) Ready Mama (Raspberry Leaf tea blended with Rose petals, Echinacea and Rosehip) and New Mama (with fennel, fenugreek and nettle leaf, which are - apparently "natural galactagogues to support milk production and flow".)
I've been working my way through the range, and so far I'm certainly impressed. I'm not a big fan of herbal teas, but the ginger tea was delicious, the redbush had a bit of extra excitement, and the "Cool Mama" helps out with gastric reflux no end.
The teas are available from Waitrose, or you can buy them online at the Mama Teas's website.
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