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Kicking the Caffeine Habit While Pregnant

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I admit it. I love my morning coffee. As I hold one of my many favorite mugs and sip the warm contents inside, I begin my day feeling motivated.

My senses awaken and I am reminded of the mornings on vacation in Cabo, enjoying breakfast outdoors as the ocean waves crash onto the beach below. I am reminded of a time when I wore suits and high-heeled shoes, had morning meetings, presentations, and bosses that were adults and not children. The warmth of the coffee eases me into my day. Coffee is one of the hardest things that I give up when I am pregnant.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I stopped drinking coffee. Cold turkey. I don't recommend it. I should have taken a few days to decrease my intake instead. The headaches came immediately and furiously. It was a pounding inside my head that was so strong, I was sure that it was shaking my entire body. Each time I closed my eyes, I could imagine a tiny man inside my head holding a mallet and swinging it at my eyes and inside of my forehead. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP.

Caffeine headaches are unmistakable. They do not go away with Tylenol or Advil (things that I had given up taking). They only begin to go away when you feed your body the caffeine that it is missing. I am sad to say, I am addicted. Or was.

It took two weeks before I was finally rid of my headaches. About four weeks after giving up caffeine, I told my doctor about the severe headaches during one of my appointments. He told me that small amounts of caffeine were okay once in a while. But after successfully giving up my daily coffee and the occasional Diet Coke, I was not going back. I never wanted those headaches again. I refrained from drinking caffeine my entire pregnancy and during the time that I nursed my baby.

After almost two years, my body no longer needed the caffeine, but I really missed the warmth of that morning coffee. So I tried making decaffeinated coffee for myself. It worked, but after several weeks, I grew tired of making regular coffee for my husband and decaf for myself. Then one day, I decided just to have a ½ cup of his coffee. And just like that, I was back to my caffeine dependency.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.