When pregnant, the first thing every expecting mother needs to do is adjust her diet to an adequate intake of vitamins, protein, and minerals. The diet needs to be healthy, providing of necessary energy and nutrition for both the mother and the child. However, many expecting mothers tend to make mistakes and continue consuming the same diet as they did prior to pregnancy. For that reason, there tend to be issues and problems during pregnancy, especially during the early stages. Usually, these women’s diet is insufficient in, for example, vegetables, meat, fruit or dairy; but, an even bigger problem is the continuation of caffeine consumption.
Caffeine tends to be the most difficult part of diet-change in pregnancy. Many women cannot even function without their daily caffeine intake. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find out that one of the most frequent questions coming from pregnant women is this; how much tea is it safe to consume, and should it be left out during pregnancy? For all the pregnant women out there wondering about the same question, here’s a short but sweet guide to drinking tea during pregnancy.
Benefits of Tea in Pregnancy
Let’s start with this; drinking tea during pregnancy should be safe, as it does provide numerous health benefits for the mothers and their babies. Here are the basic tea-drinking benefits every expecting mother should know;
- Antioxidants galore – tea is incredibly rich in beneficial antioxidants that can boost the immune system and metabolism during pregnancy. Antioxidants help the body fight off cancer cells, viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases and overall harm to the mother’s or baby’s health. They also help lower stress levels and anxiety that comes with the daily struggles of pregnancy.
- Nutrition and hydration – alongside antioxidants, tea is also rich in vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutritious compounds that are necessary for the development of the baby and overall healthy pregnancy. Because of the nutrients and healthy compounds, tea can help with morning sickness and general hydration of the body. You can say that tea actually feeds the body with the nutrients and prepares it for the pregnancy as well as the labor.
- Regulation of metabolic activity – during pregnancy, metabolism can become disrupted. Luckily, tea can help free the body of toxins, free radicals, enhance the absorption of the vitamins and minerals as well as boost immunity and help the body fight off the flu and other infections. Tea can also help with digestion, fluid retention, and acid reflux, which tend to be a common occurrence in expecting mothers.
Caffeine and Negative Effects on the Baby
Caffeine intake for the majority of expecting mother tends to be a huge problem. So, in order to avoid coffee, many pregnant women turn to tea. However, even with tea, there are many other concerns as well alongside its health benefits;
- Caffeine – Studies have shown that caffeine intake during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of pregnancy loss, preterm birth, lower IQ and other negative effects. The already conducted studies are, however, still observational and the outcomes are yet to be proven during controlled tests and trials. Nevertheless, international health organizations do advise lower caffeine intake, regardless of whether in coffee or tea. Expecting mothers should consider either avoiding caffeine completely, or keep the daily intake under 200mg; that would make one, to two cups maximum, per day.
- Folic acid – folic acid, also known as vitamin B9 is often recommended for expecting mothers. It is very beneficial, and usually reduces the risk of birth defects. If an expecting mother is dealing with low levels of folic acids, there can be some complications, like the neural tube defect. To avoid such occurrences, it is recommended to avoid certain tea in pregnancy. Tea is known to reduce the effects of folic acid and increase the risk of birth defects.
- Iron absorption – tea can play an important role in the restriction of iron absorption during pregnancy. Iron absorption is especially important because it helps transport oxygen to the baby. Without iron, babies can develop anemia, breathing complications, cardiovascular issues, and other, long-term defects even prior to birth.
Which Teas are Safe for Consumption During Pregnancy?
Sure, teas during pregnancy are safe for consumption, if done properly. And of course, if the intake is inadequate, teas can also cause some serious complications. However, it is important for expecting mothers to know that certain teas are completely safe for consumption during pregnancy. We believe that the best teas expecting mothers can drink are herbal teas.
Herbal teas are usually made via infusion of leaves, roots, flowers or seeds of various plants. These plants are generally known to provide an abundance of health benefits, especially for expecting mothers. Some of the best herbal teas include:
- Red raspberry leaf tea – this tea is recommended for consumption from the third trimester onwards. It is beneficial for uterine muscles as well as better and more efficient contractions that enable easier labor later on. The tea is rich in calcium and magnesium. However, it is not recommended for consumption during the early stages of pregnancy as it can trigger contractions and lead to miscarriage.
- Ginger tea – this particular herbal beverage is exceptionally beneficial; it provides active compounds that reduce inflammation, calm digestive upset and fights off cancer and other disease-causing cells. It also regulates blood sugar levels, provides vitamins like B3, B6, C, Iron and Zinc, and helps with nausea, morning sickness, and vomiting. This makes it especially suitable for expecting mothers.
- Rooibos tea – now, this tea is highly recommended for consumption during pregnancy. Rooibos is caffeine-free and it is exceptionally high in antioxidants as well as in zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium. Rooibos is also helpful when it comes to nausea, acid reflux, upset stomach, and digestion-related issues. Also, unlike other teas, Rooibos does not restrict iron absorption, but rather enhances and promotes it.
More: Where to Buy Rooibos Tea
- Dandelion tea – regardless of whether it is made from flowers, leaves, stems or the root, dandelion tea is a miraculous beverage. It is rich in active compounds that reduce inflammation, prevent the formation of cancer and help the body fight off any bacterial or viral infection. It is also rich in complex vitamins, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, and zinc. The tea promotes healthy digestion, healthy weight, bone density and is effective in urinary tract infections, which can be common during pregnancy.
- Peppermint tea – even though it is not recommended for consumption during the first trimester, peppermint tea is good for dealing with nausea and upset stomach. It also helps deal with bloating, gas as well as morning sickness. However, it can cause uterine contractions and possible miscarriage, so it is the safest for consumption after the first trimester, onwards.
Which Teas to Avoid During Pregnancy?
Even though the majority of teas are safe for consumption during pregnancy, it is important to point out which ones are generally unsafe and should be avoided. For example, teas that contain caffeine(See which tea has the most caffeine), like green, black, white or Oolong, should be either completely avoided or taken in limits. One cup of the day should not cause any troubles, but during pregnancy, it is better to be safer. Caffeine in these teas tends to linger in the body for a longer period and can interfere with daily functions as well as the sleeping pattern in expecting mothers.
Moreover, it is important to pay attention to the so-called ‘pregnancy teas’, herbal laxatives and detoxification teas. These can actually affect the electrolytes, which are required for a healthy cell and organ function. Herbal laxatives and detoxification beverages especially can cause diarrhea, and increased urination. This can cause dehydration, which can be extremely dangerous for both, the mother and the baby.
It is also essential to reiterate one particular point; regardless of which tea you choose to consume, it is important to stay within the lines of moderate consumption. Herbal teas contain low levels of caffeine, so they can be consumed more regularly unlike black, green or Oolong, which can contain up to 50mg of caffeine per cup. The recommended caffeine intake for expecting mothers is definitely under 200mg daily.
Tea is generally conceived as an exceptionally healthy beverage. However, during pregnancy, there need to be safety precautions, especially when It comes to diet. Expecting mothers need to be aware of the benefits and negative risks of tea consumption, as well as which teas are safe and which are not. However, this is not a reason for the mothers to give up the tea; this beverage is still something you can enjoy, as long as the consumption is safe and moderate.