In most cases, a cup of tea can be a tame alternative to coffee and alcohol during pregnancy. In fact, some types of tea offer additional pregnancy-friendly nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, according to the American Pregnancy Association. However, drinking certain teas can pose risks to you and your baby.
Herbal teas may seem less dangerous because they don’t contain caffeine and they are often used to relieve minor problems such as upset stomachs and sleeping troubles. While most ingredients in herbal teas are indeed safe, some herbal teas are as potent as some medications and can be harmful to you and your baby, according to BabyCenter. Although you should ask your doctor or midwife what she recommends, teas made with lime blossom, peppermint, ginger, rose hips, thyme and roasted barley are most likely safe to drink in small amounts during pregnancy.
Some herbs in teas may stimulate the uterus and cause miscarriage when they’re used in large or medicinal doses, warns BabyCenter. Some of the teas that may cause problems are chamomile, hibiscus, lemongrass, licorice root, rosemary, ma huang, anise, mugwort and sage. Avoid these herbs during pregnancy and while lactating. However, you can continue to eat herbs such as sage and rosemary because they aren’t used in risky amounts.
Non-herbal teas such as green tea, English breakfast and Earl Grey might offer health benefits because they contain antioxidants. However, during pregnancy you should carefully monitor your intake of caffeine because caffeine reaches your baby and your baby can’t metabolize caffeine in the same way you can. Most non-herbal teas contain 40 to 50 mg of caffeine per cup, and “decaffeinated” non-herbal teas contain about .4 mg per cup; most pregnant women should avoid having more than 200 mg of caffeine per day to reduce risk of miscarriage, according to the March of Dimes. Ask your doctor or midwife whether you can safely have a small amount per day.
Considerations About “Pregnancy Teas”
Some midwives and practitioners who work with herbs support the use of teas labeled “Pregnancy Teas” and tea herbs such as red raspberry leaf. Proponents of these teas believe that drinking them on a regular basis may help reduce your chances of having complications such as pre-eclampsia, premature birth, postpartum hemorrhage and the need for assisted delivery, according to the American Pregnancy Association. However, don’t take any of these herbs or teas without first getting permission from your doctor or midwife.