The lifestyle changes you’ll have to make when you get pregnant

Make mine decaf, please

Even though it can be a struggle to keep your eyes open during the first trimester, new research continues to support the need to cut back on caffeine. A study of more than 1,000 pregnant women in California found that those who consumed 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day were about twice as likely to miscarry. That equals about two five-ounce cups of coffee, five 12-ounce cans of pop or six five-ounce cups of tea.

According to Dr. Masue Li, an independent obstetrician and gynecologist with offices at Central DuPage Hospital, the key time to cut back on caffeine is before you get pregnant since the increased risk of miscarriage comes in the first trimester and many women don’t find out they are pregnant until well into those first 12 weeks. For heavy caffeine consumers, she recommends cutting back gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms. That doesn’t mean you have to go completely caffeine-free, though-as the saying goes, “everything in moderation.”

Food for thought

While you may be eating for two during pregnancy, you don’t need to actually double what you eat every day. The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends consuming an additional 100-300 calories per day while pregnant. That isn’t as much as you think, though. Here are some foods that fall within that range.

Feel the burn

Aching backs and swollen feet are well-known side effects of pregnancy, but don’t be surprised if some nasty bouts of heartburn come along, too, especially in the second and third trimesters. Although antacids containing calcium, aluminum and magnesium are considered safe to take while pregnant (always consult your doctor before taking any medication), there are some things you can do to prevent heartburn altogether.The following tips are courtesy of the American College of Gastroenterology:

  • Avoid eating late at night or before going to bed. Common heartburn triggers include greasy or spicy food, chocolate, peppermint, tomato sauces, caffeine, carbonated drinks and citrus fruits.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes. Clothes that fit tightly around your waist put pressure on your abdomen and the lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Eat smaller meals. Overfilling the stomach can result in acid reflux and heartburn.
  • on’t lie down after eating. Wait at least three hours after eating before going to bed. When you lie down, it’s easier for stomach contents (including acid) to back up into the esophagus, particularly when you go to bed with a full stomach.

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