If you’re a tea drinker, you’re most likely curious about the safety of drinking tea during pregnancy.
You probably want to know if there are any teas you need to avoid too.
With all of the warnings about consuming caffeinated drinks during pregnancy, many pregnant mamas-to-be can be a bit hesitant to consume their favourite tea.
So, is drinking tea during pregnancy safe? And if so, what varieties of tea are safe?
No matter if you’d like to enjoy an occasional cup of herbal tea during pregnancy, or your usual english breakfast tea, we have the answers for you.
Tea During Pregnancy
BellyBelly’s Naturopath, Nicole Tracy of Nurtured By Nature has given the consumption of most herbal tea during pregnancy the tick of approval.
“Overall, herbal teas are generally very safe to consume, and most often beneficial during pregnancy. This is as long as recommended doses are not exceeded. Because you’re drinking an infusion or decoction of the leaves, flowers or roots of a plant, it’s not as potent as consuming the plant in its entirety,” Nicole states.
And in fact, according to Nicole, drinking tea while pregnant even has a few additional benefits!
But of course, there are some teas which are best avoided during pregnancy too.
Benefits of Drinking Tea During Pregnancy
“Drinking herbal teas during pregnancy is certainly a wise choice when compared with caffeinated beverages,” Nicole says.
According to Nicole, caffeinated drinks have a diuretic effect, reduce nutrient absorption and deplete the adrenal glands.
Meanwhile, herbal teas hydrate, provide easily assimilated nutrients and feed the body during pregnancy.
They’re also packed with antioxidants and vitamin C which helps lower your anxiety and stress levels.
Various types of herbal teas can also reduce morning sickness symptoms and even prepare the uterus for labour.
Well, you sold us at ‘no more morning sickness’.
So which teas are best for pregnant sippers?
The Safe Tea List
#1: Ginger Tea During Pregnancy
Eases nausea (goodbye, morning sickness!), aids the digestion process and relieves stomach issues.
Ginger is a warming digestive herb, a circulatory stimulant, anti-nausea and great source of zinc.
#2: Nettle Tea During Pregnancy
Provides high levels of water soluble iron, magnesium and calcium.
Nettle leaf tea is described by Nicole as being a brilliant nutritive tea to sip whilst pregnant, especially as you near the end of your pregnancy.
Stick to one or two cups a day, or drink in a blend with other herbs.
#3: Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy
One of our favourites at BellyBelly!
Raspberry leaf tea prepares the uterus for labour due to its rich mineral content.
It also helps to prevent post-partum hemorrhage due to its gentle astringent effect.
Raspberry leaf tea was traditionally used in late pregnancy to prepare for birth and breastfeeding.
Raspberry leaf is also a galactogogue, so it supports breast milk production.
According to Nicole, this herb is also high in calcium, magnesium and iron.
Raspberry leaf tea is safe to drink from the second trimester onwards.
“I usually recommend women drink one cup per day from 26 weeks. Then they can build up to two cups at 30 weeks, three cups at 36 weeks and 3-4 cups from 37 weeks.” Nicole suggests.
Interested in finding out more? Check out our article on raspberry leaf tea.
#4: Dandelion Leaf Tea During Pregnancy
“This tea is a wonderful support in late pregnancy when fluid retention is an issue,” Nicole says.
She explains that dandelion leaf tea is high in potassium and has a gentle but effective diuretic effect.
It’s also considered to be a kidney tonic and gentle digestive, and is alkalising.
Nicole suggests adding dandelion leaf to another tea such as spearmint or chamomile, as it has a slightly bitter, grassy taste.
#5: Spearmint and Peppermint Tea During Pregnancy
Spearmint and peppermint tea is great for relaxing your stomach muscles, to help settle an upset stomach.
It also helps with nausea and vomiting, which is common in early pregnancy.
Spearmint is preferred to peppermint tea as it doesn’t increase reflux (as peppermint can).
Both are safe in pregnancy, and are safe alone or in blends.
#6: Rooibos Tea During Pregnancy
Rooibos tea is highly recommended in pregnancy!
Nicole switches most of her die-hard tea drinkers to rooibos during their pregnancies.
Of all the herbal teas, its taste is most similar to traditional black tea.
Rooibos is caffeine-free, contains calcium, magnesium and loads of antioxidants.
It also has positive effects on digestion, and can ease colic and reflux.
Unlike black tea, rooibos is not high in tannins, which reduce nutrient absorption.
Children can also drink rooibos.
It’s lovely with milk of your choice and a little honey.
Rooibos is also a great base for caffeine-free chai or iced tea.
Teas To Avoid During Pregnancy
According to research, caffeine consumption during pregnancy (particularly over has 200mg) has been directly linked with reduced birth weights.
According to this study:
“Caffeine is rapidly absorbed and crosses the placenta freely. After ingestion of 200 mg caffeine, intervillous blood flow in the placenta was found to be reduced by 25%. Cytochrome P450 1A2, the principal enzyme involved in caffeine metabolism, is absent in the placenta and the fetus.”
BMC Central has published research this year (2013) which again produced results showing that caffeine is implicated with low birth weight. They found that for a baby expected to be of average birth weight (3.6kg), it equated to a loss of 21-28 grams per 100mg of caffeine consumed per day. Caffeine also extended the length of pregnancy by 5 hours per 100mg of caffeine per day, however if you’re also a coffee drinker the news is even worse! Coffee was associated with an even longer pregnancy – 8 hours longer for every 100mg of caffeine per day.
This research illustrates the importance of keeping an eye on your caffeine consumption during pregnancy. For this reason, teas that are particularly high in caffeine should be restricted while you are pregnant.
These teas include:
- Black, e.g. english breakfast, earl grey, ceylon etc.
- Green / matcha
- Lapsang souchong
- Hong mao
- Golden monkey black
- Quinshola clonal
Teas and herbs to avoid during pregnancy due to their risk of side effects include:
- St John’s Wort
- Don Quai
- Pennyroyal (known to cause miscarriage)
- Licorice Root
You would have noticed that green tea is on the restriction list. This is because there is still some discussion concerning how safe green tea is for pregnant women.
Green Tea During Pregnancy
Green tea contains high amounts of caffeine and is said to reduce folic acid absorption.
So if you’re a green tea addict, consider limiting yourself to maximum one cup a day.
Use that as your caffeine allowance, or try sourcing a caffeine-free green tea.
Chai tea contains caffeine, but 1-2 per week is okay. You can purchase dandelion chai at organic shops and healthy cafes, which is caffeine free and great for your liver.
Chamomile Tea During Pregnancy
Chamomile tea is fine as long as there is no history of hayfever.
The chamomile herb is from the same family as feverfew, which isn’t recommended during pregnancy.
You’d need to drink a huge amount of chamomile to have any issues.
Other Teas To Avoid During Pregnancy
Nicole also advises to steer clear of rosemary, oregano and majoram in large amounts.
Otherwise, stick to the safe tea list and feel free to sip away and spend your pregnancy days in a tea-ensconced bliss!
If you’re a coffee drinker and wondering how much you can have, check out our article here.
Please speak to your naturopath or herbalist if you have any concerns about which teas are safe to drink during pregnancy.