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During pregnancy, it is essential to monitor everything that you eat or drink. Indiscriminate consumption of food items could cause harm to the baby and affect your health too, which is why you should keep a close eye on what you eat and drink. Many food items and beverages have to be avoided during pregnancy or at least consumed in moderation. Iced tea is a wonderfully refreshing drink but contains caffeine and sugar so let us verify if it is safe for consumption during pregnancy.
Can Pregnant Women Drink Iced Tea?
Packaged or bottle iced tea contains sugar in large quantities which are not recommended during pregnancy. If you have been an avid lover of iced tea all your life, pregnancy could enhance this urge further, and you will have to guard against this. Instead, you could opt for home-made iced tea with reduced sugar content, or you could add honey instead of sugar.
How Much Caffeine is Present in Ice Tea?
Levels of caffeine will vary depending on the brand and flavour of ice tea you choose. On an average, one serving of iced tea contains about 12mg to 18mg of caffeine. During pregnancy, one should not exceed the caffeine intake of more than 200 mg per day. If ice tea can replace your daily fix of coffee, then it’s consumption will do you no harm as tea contains less caffeine than coffee.
Ice Tea Benefits During Pregnancy
Tea is one of the healthiest beverage a pregnant woman can have, albeit in moderate quantities. Let us see the various benefits iced tea offers:
1. Provides Instant Refreshment
Being pregnant during summer with the heat bothering you, not to mention the morning sickness, isn’t easy. A glassful of iced tea will help you to beat the heat and helps in keeping morning sickness at bay. Thanks to the caffeine in the drink, you will also get an instant energy boost too.
2. Keeps The Brain Active
One tends to become clumsy and forgetful during pregnancy, and these are common symptoms. Drinking iced tea will keep the brain alert and active through these drowsy periods of the day.
3. Manages Gestational Diabetes
Drinking iced tea is better than consuming coffee during pregnancy as tea does not increase the risk of gestational diabetes. However, it is best to stick to homemade iced tea to avoid the overload of sugar with packaged ones.
4. Prevent The Formation of Cavities
Pregnant women often tend to neglect oral health. Drinking iced tea can lend a hand in preventing cavities.
5. Contains Antioxidants
Due to the hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy, there is an increase in free radicals and tea in any form can help in holding them. Tea contains antioxidants which are useful in the prevention of DNA damage too.
Harmful Effects of Drinking Iced Tea while Pregnant
Loaded with caffeine, tea can have harmful effects on your health and that of the baby too. Here are a few harmful effects of drinking tea that you should know about.
1. Causes Miscarriage
The chances of miscarriage increase if your intake of caffeine rises during pregnancy and consuming tea in large quantities can do that. Excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to miscarriage.
2. Enhances The Possibility of Neural Tube Defects
3. Leads to Low Birth Weight
Studies have shown that the increased intake of iced tea during pregnancy can become the cause of low birth weight. It is primarily because of the high caffeine content in tea.
4. Triggers Anaemia
Pregnant women need high amounts of iron during this period and drinking tea often causes iron deficiency. An excessive amount of tea with meals reduces the amount of iron in the body, which causes anaemia in the pregnant woman. Alternatively, you can include meat and poultry in your diet to provide the necessary iron you need.
5. Causes Stillbirth
Excessive consumptions of drinks and beverages that contain caffeine can be one of the causes of stillbirth. Although the desire will be high, make sure you do not consume iced tea beyond the prescribed limit when you are pregnant.
6. Causes Dehydration
You will notice that the frequency of urination increases after you drink tea since it acts as a diuretic. It causes dehydration and you can lose essential salts and minerals that the body needs during pregnancy.
7. Leads to Loss of Sleep
Getting sound sleep in the night is one of the basic requirements of staying fresh and healthy during pregnancy. Insomnia is one of the first casualties of increasing caffeine levels in your body by drinking iced tea, especially before you go off to sleep. Make sure you do not drink tea in any form before you end your day and this can prevent insomnia for sure.
Is Iced Lemon Tea Good for Pregnancy?
Variants of iced tea are available in various flavours and lemon is a popular one amongst iced tea lovers. Although there is no perceived harm in drinking lemon iced tea in moderate quantities, the high sugar content in bottled iced teas can make it harmful. Lemon tea can boost antioxidants and flavones in your body, but the presence of sugar can negate this benefit to a great extent. Instead, you can brew decaffeinated tea at home and squeeze a slice of lemon into it to quench your craving.
Thus we can safely say that if you practice moderation and resist the desire to consume iced tea in large amounts, iced tea cannot do a lot of harm. While a refreshing glass of iced tea can do wonders to your fluctuating moods, don’t overdo it.
Also Read: Drinking Green Tea during Pregnancy