Drinking Tea During Pregnancy
“There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea,” said the famous philosopher Bernard-Paul Heroux.
A warm cup of aromatic tea is a great way to help you relax and unwind. You will have some reservations about what drinks to consume when you are expecting. Most women consciously keep away from coffee as it contains high amounts of caffeine. But these reservations are kept aside when it comes to a comforting cup of tea that can ease morning sickness and uplift your mood. Herbal tea especially offers multiple health benefits and can ease physical discomfort and mental stress during pregnancy.
Yes, it is considered safe and beneficial to drink certain teas during pregnancy. Tea contains polyphenols that protect your heart. Packed with antioxidants, it boosts your immunity and lowers your risk of developing certain types of cancer. However, pregnant women must exercise moderation and stay away from some teas that can be unsafe for consumption during this time.
Herbal teas are a great alternative for expecting mothers to combat the anxiety and stress of pregnancy. Herb-infused tea water is a great way to hydrate the body. While most teas are safe to drink during pregnancy, some are best avoided. It is recommended that you consult your doctor before trying out something new during pregnancy.
Caffeine can be too stimulating during pregnancy, and most women avoid caffeinated beverages during this period. It is safe for you to consume less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day during pregnancy.
The percentage of caffeine in your cup of tea can change based on the way it is prepared, the water temperature, steeping period, and the size of the leaves. In general, a cup of non-herbal options like chai or milk tea, white tea, green tea, and black or oolong tea contains about 40-50 milligrams of caffeine. On the other hand, herbal teas contain about 0.4 milligrams of caffeine, making them a safer option to consider during pregnancy.
Herbal teas, also known as tisanes, are made by infusing the bark, leaves, berries, roots, flowers, and seeds of various plants that offer medicinal benefits to the drinker. They are available in many combinations. Some teas that are safe to be consumed during pregnancy are as follows.
- Ginger tea is a great way to combat morning sickness. It offers relief from stomach aches, alleviates nausea, and aids digestion. A few slices of ginger boiled in hot water and served with honey are good for pregnant women. You can also prepare milk chai with ginger.
- Peppermint tea helps ease vomiting sensations and nausea. It also helps relax the stomach muscles and eases gas and bloating. It is great for morning sickness and can lift your mood instantly.
- Red raspberry leaf tea, consumed from the third trimester onwards, helps prevent post-partum haemorrhage and tones the uterine muscles for efficient contractions during labour. It is high in magnesium and calcium. However, please note that it should be avoided in the initial pregnancy period (first and second trimester). This is because this tea has the potential to trigger contractions, especially if you drink it in large quantities. This can lead to a miscarriage early in your pregnancy.
- Roobios tea is a caffeine-free option packed with zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants. It helps fight free radicals and detoxifies the body. It also helps ease acid reflux and aids in digestion. It enhances iron absorption in the body and helps fight allergies, colds, and other infections. A cup of this tea is a great way to boost immunity.
- Nettle tea is high in Vitamins A, C and K and rich in minerals like iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. It is recommended to be consumed in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It should be avoided in the first trimester as it can lead to the stimulation of the uterus and result in a miscarriage.
- Dandelion tea is high in calcium, iron, and potassium. It is a gentle and effective diuretic remedy during pregnancy. It also eases fluid retention.
- Chamomile tea is a good source of magnesium and calcium and helps ease the inflammation of the joints. It prevents insomnia and promotes effective labour contraction. However, avoid chamomile if you have a history of being prone to hay fever.
- Lemon balm tea offers a calming effect and helps fight insomnia, anxiety, and irritability during pregnancy.
- Rosehip tea, also termed as the ‘Elixir of Youth’, is rich in vitamin C. It helps reduce swelling and fights the flu. It can also help reduce the number of trips made to the restroom.
You can even make your own blend of herbal teas by adding different ingredients like honey, cinnamon, cloves, citrus rinds, and fruit juices to boiling water. You can also consume decaffeinated green or black tea.
Benefits of Drinking Safe Teas During Pregnancy
Sipping on pregnancy-safe teas provides a host of benefits. Each herb has different medicinal properties, and you can choose the best tea based on your requirement and mood. Pregnancy-safe teas are a wise choice to make over-caffeinated beverages because they:
- Help ease morning sickness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
- Help lower anxiety and stress levels
- Prepare the uterus for labour
- Provide nutrients in an easy way
- Make water consumption delicious and easy
How to Choose a Safe Tea to Drink
Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free. This makes them beneficial and safe for pregnant women when compared to their non-herbal counterparts. However, not all herbs are safe for consumption during pregnancy. You need to check the ingredients list and consult your healthcare practitioner for a list of teas deemed safe for you to drink. Read the labels carefully before choosing your chai.
Moderation is key when it comes to the consumption of anything during pregnancy. This applies to your cup of tea as well. You can start with a small amount and see how your body reacts to it before adding more quantities of that tea to your daily diet.
Do not consume anything if you are unsure of the ingredients and their benefits. Avoid unfamiliar ingredients as you can’t be sure how they will affect your body or the baby.
It is best to practice moderation during pregnancy. Since it is safe to consume less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, you can have three to four cups of non-herbal teas without any harm. Note that an overdose of caffeine can increase the risk of suffering a miscarriage.
Prevention is better than cure. In case of doubt about the safety of a certain tea, you should always check with your doctor. Some of the herbal teas to be avoided during pregnancy are as follows:
- Sage tea is linked to problems like high blood pressure and miscarriage.
- Parsley tea affects the development of the foetus and increases the risk of miscarriage.
- Hibiscus tea induces contractions and results in miscarriage.
- Lobelia tea contains nicotine.
- Poppy tea needs to be avoided completely.
- Senna leaves tea is a natural laxative.
- Aloe tea induces labour and contractions.
- Green tea is high in caffeine and reduces the absorption of folic acid.
- Any diet tea, PMS, detoxification or cleansing tea should be avoided.
- Any tea that includes herbs that can induce abortion, contraction and labour should not be consumed.
- Any tea that has diuretic effects and contains herbal laxatives should be avoided. These include black cohosh, blue cohosh, cocoa, dong quai, alfalfa, anise, basil, calendula, catnip, fenugreek, fennel, gingko, ginseng, juniper, lemongrass, mistletoe, nutmeg, rhubarb, and yellow dock.
Possible Side Effects of Drinking Unsafe Pregnancy Tea
Drinking teas that are not safe to consume during pregnancy can lead to multiple complications that can result in miscarriage, abortion, or induce premature contraction and labour.
Can You Decaffeinate Tea at Home?
There is a common technique that has been experimented with for years by tea lovers to decaffeinate tea made at home. It is said that to decaffeinate the tea, all you have to do is steep a tea bag in hot water for about 20 to 40 seconds, throw away the water, refill the cup with hot water, and steep again. It is claimed that the tea’s caffeine content comes down by a large percentage (50% to 80%) with this technique. Unfortunately, this is not true. The process of decaffeinating tea is a lot more complicated, involving chemicals like carbon dioxide, ethyl acetate, or methylene chloride, and something that commercial tea producers do to produce packaged decaffeinated tea. So, simply rinsing a tea bag for 30 seconds doesn’t really work wonders. Instead, you can switch entirely to caffeine-free teas that are healthy and provide you with plenty of benefits.
It is said that tea can be good for pregnancy if you select the right tea. If you consume a pregnancy-safe tea and drink it in moderation, it can help lower your anxiety and stress levels. Consult your doctor to understand which tea you can drink during pregnancy and the safe quantity for you.