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Tea During Pregnancy

Posted by Administrator to Pregnancy
tea during pregnancyTo tea, or not to tea during pregnancy? That is the question.

Newly pregnant women frequently have questions about tea during pregnancy. After all, so many other parts of your life that you had taken for granted—your morning cup of coffee, a glass of wine with dinner, ibuprofen for a headache, brie with baguette and grapes for a late summer picnic, acne medication—are now fraught with consequence.

Learn about the benefits and risks of drinking tea during pregnancy in this brief guide that covers herbal tea, caffeinated tea and specialty pregnancy tea.

Is it safe to drink caffeinated tea during pregnancy?

Teas that are actually made from tea leaves (green tea, black tea, white tea) contain caffeine in varying amounts. While a recent study made the news with its report that consuming caffeine during pregnancy isn’t linked to behavioral problems in children, other studies offer mixed results on the safety of caffeine on a pregnancy itself. One study, for example, showed an increase risk of miscarriage for women who consume more than 200 mg of caffeine daily during pregnancy. Another study showed no increased risk for women had a daily intake between 150 and 300 mg of caffeine. Due to the conflicting studies, the American Pregnancy Association and March of Dimes discourage pregnant women from consuming more than 200 mg of caffeine daily.

How much caffeinated tea is safe to drink during pregnancy?

It’s one thing to say, “limit your caffeine consumption to less than 200 mg daily,” but who the heck knows how many milligrams of caffeine are in your cup of tea? Each type of tea leaf—black tea, Oolong tea, green tea and white tea—varies in its level of caffeine content. But the amount of caffeine in your cup of tea varies on other factors, too. Some of the factors that influence the caffeine in your cup of tea are:
  • how much tea you use to make a cup
  • whether the tea leaves themselves are small or large
  • whether you're brewing the tea loose-leaf or cut-and-bagged
  • how hot the water is you steep it in
  • how long you steep it
Here’s a breakdown I found of the range of caffeine commonly found in caffeinated teas (source: The Fragrant Leaf): 

Black Tea: 23 - 110 mg
Oolong Tea: 12 - 55 mg
Green Tea: 8 - 36 mg
White Tea: 6 – 25 mg

In other words, no one can exactly tell you that you can safely drink 2 cups of black tea daily during pregnancy and be below the 200 mg of caffeine threshold. Similarly, no one can exactly tell you that you can’t! It’s a little confusing, but it’s your body and up to you how comfortable you feel with the risk vs reward of drinking caffeinated tea during your pregnancy.

The bottom line: ask your health care provider how much tea she or he thinks is safe for you to drink during pregnancy.

Is it safe to drink herbal tea during pregnancy?

There are many safe choices of herbal tea to drink during pregnancy. Several herbs have been trusted partners of midwives and herbalists through centuries to support pregnancy. Herbs such as red raspberry leaf and nettle have been brewed as pregnancy tea for hundreds, if not thousands, of years for their nutritional benefits and demonstrated support for the uterus muscle. In The Whole Pregnancy Handbook, Dr. Joel Evans says, “Generally speaking, herbal teas that you buy in the grocery store—for example, peppermint, ginger, chamomile, Red Zinger, etc.—are safe.” He notes that most teas sold in grocery stores are not strong enough to be dangerous to pregnant women.

That said, there are some herbal teas to avoid. Dr. Evans wants women to avoid all herbal teas formulated for detoxification, dieting, or mood enhancement. These herbal teas tend to contain herbs that can be toxic to fetuses or are known to stimulate uterine contractions, and may, therefore, put you at risk of miscarriage. Herbs such as black cohosh and blue cohosh (which often are in herbal teas marketed for women’s reproductive use because they can alleviate cramps and other PMS symptoms) are uterine stimulants that could bring on contractions during pregnancy.

So which herbal tea should I avoid during pregnancy?

Avoid herbal teas that contain:
  • Goldenseal
  • Black Cohosh
  • Blue Cohosh
  • Ephedra
  • Dong Quai
  • Feverfew
  • Juniper
  • Pennyroyal
  • St. John’s wort
  • Rosemary
  • Thuja
For a more detailed list of herbs to avoid, herbs safe for culinary use but not medicinal use, and herbs that have benefit, you can download (as a PDF) this useful article, "Wise Use of Herbs and Vitamins During Pregnancy," written by Dr. Linda White and shared at the Atlanta Birth Care website.

And Mama Roses Naturals has a thorough spreadsheet of herbs NOT to drink during pregnancy (opens as a Microsoft Word document).

Great teas to drink during pregnancy

The following herbal tea blends have been hand-crafted in the United States by either nurses or naturopathic doctors with herbal training. They’re made with careful attention to purity—all the following teas contain either wildcrafted [] or organically grown herbs. In addition to providing nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, the following herbal teas may also contain antioxidants and other nutritive support for your hard-working reproductive system. From morning sickness to labor pains, there’s a safe herbal tea to support you.

Pregnancy Tea for Anytime:
Tea for Two Pregnancy Tea (loose-leaf, one-month supply, $14.95)

Pregnancy Tea for Morning Sickness:
Happy Mornings Tea (loose-leaf, one-month supply, $16)
Organic Morning Wellness Tea (16 individual bags, $6.75)
Tea for Two Pregnancy Tea (loose-leaf, one-month supply, $14.95)

Pregnancy Tea for Heartburn, Stomach Upset, Diarrhea:
Organic Heartburn Tea (16 individual bags, $6.75)

Pregnancy Tea for Relaxation, Sleep Promotion:
Organic Peaceful Mama Tea (16 individual bags, $6.75)

Pregnancy Tea for Birth Preparation:
Organic Third Trimester Tea (16 individual bags, $6.75)
Bottom of the Ninth Pregnancy Raspberry Tea (loose-leaf, one-month supply, $16)
Tea for Two Pregnancy Tea (loose-leaf, one-month supply, $14.95)

Like all issues concerning your health and your baby's safety during pregnancy, please discuss the benefits and risks of drinking tea during pregnancy with your health care provider.

Written by Maternitique founder and pregnancy beauty expert, Tara M. Bloom. I look forward to your comments, pingbacks and seeing your shares on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ and StumbleUpon.

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