On cold nights, one of life’s simple pleasures is getting cozy on the couch with a cup of Sleepytime Tea. But when you’re pregnant, is doing so safe? Read on to find out if drinking tea is safe during pregnancy.
Tea drinking has been a favorite pastime of many people for thousands of years. The benefits of consuming tea are numerous – tea can boost your immune system, it contains polyphenols that are said to protect your heart and has antioxidants that have the potential to lower cancer risks. If you’re like me, you may love tea. And if you’re where I was about two years ago when I first found out I was pregnant with my daughter, you may be wondering if drinking tea is safe for your baby while you are pregnant.
What The Experts Say
Though there are conflicting opinions, alternative medicine health care providers often give the OK to drink certain herbal teas during pregnancy as teas can provide nutrients such as calcium, magnesium and iron.
Amelia Hirota, D.Ac., an herbalist and acupuncturist at Phoenix Fertility Center in East Greenwich, R.I, tells fitpregnancy.com that, “herbal teas can help hydrate the body when women don’t want to drink plain water, and can also have other positive effects”. Red raspberry leaf tea is one good example. I drank this toward the end of my own pregnancy, with positive effects.
“Many midwives believe that raspberry leaf tones the uterine muscle, which may help make contractions more efficient,” says Hirota.
Not All Teas are Safe During Pregnancy
Some teas, however, can cause adverse effects during pregnancy. Not all brands and not all Sleepytime teas may be safe to drink while pregnant. Teas with caffeine are not recommended, even though teas like green tea have many health benefits due to their high antioxidant count. Pregnant and nursing women are encouraged to cut down or eliminate high amounts of caffeine during pregnancy. Why?
Hirota says, “Caffeine in any form is too stimulating during pregnancy. It also increases the load on the liver, which is already busy processing pregnancy hormones.”
Though it may be hard to give it up for nine months (I was a regular green tea drinker before I got pregnant), it is important to remember that caffeine also crosses over the placenta and directly to your baby. Unlike adults, babies cannot metabolize caffeine. Black, green and oolong teas contain about 40 to 50 milligrams of caffeine per cup. A study from Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research found that expecting women who drank more than 200 milligrams of caffeine daily had double the risk of miscarriage compared with those women who cohse to avoid it. Because of studies like this, most experts tell expectant mothers to use caution when consuming caffeine during pregnancy. If you still choose to drink beverages that contain it, you should definitely limit your intake to less than 200 milligrams per day.
David Elmer, M.D., an ob-gyn at Nantucket Cottage Hospital in Nantucket, Massachusetts, says “”If you limit your intake to two to three cups per day, there’s no evidence of any harm coming from that.”
Not all types of herbal teas are safe either as they can have medicinal properties that may be dangerous for expectant moms and their babies. Check with your midwife or doctor if you have questions about a specific tea.
Five Safe Teas For Pregnancy
1. Rooibos Tea
Caffeine-free, with high antioxidant properties. Rooibos also a good source of calcium and helps the body absorb iron during pregnancy, which is a huge plus.
2. Ginger tea
Ginger tea can help alleviate morning sickness and settle the stomach. Move over, Ginger Ale!
3. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf may help promote more effective contractions during labor, tone uterine muscle, increase milk production, decrease nausea and help ease labor pains. Many pregnancy teas contain red raspberry leaf. As recommended, many women opt to drink this tea only after the first trimester.
4. Peppermint Leaf Tea
Peppermint helps to relieve nausea, bloating and gas. It also helps to settle your stomach during pregnancy.
5. Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon Balm has a calming effect and helps to relieve irritability, insomnia, and anxiety.
Other Teas For Pregnancy