Decaf Black Tea & Pregnancy

There are a number of foods and beverages you may be used to drinking that aren't a good idea during pregnancy, because they contain chemicals that can harm your developing fetus. While regular black tea is best avoided, you can safely drink decaffeinated black tea during your pregnancy.

Cup and pot of tea Credit: leungchopan/iStock/Getty Images

Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant compound that activates the "sympathetic" branch of your nervous system, also called the "fight or flight" portion of the system. This branch of the nervous system assists you in dealing with stressful events by responding appropriately. As a result, caffeine makes you feel more alert and awake, while also increasing your heart rate, respiration rate and blood flow to the extremities. It's found in many beverages, including coffee and both black and green tea.

Black Tea and Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it's best to avoid some teas because of specific ingredients. For instance, caffeine can cross the placenta and increase your risk of miscarriage if you consume it in large quantities, explain Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz in their book "You: Having A Baby." Black tea, however, is safe once the caffeine has been removed. You can drink decaffeinated black tea without worrying that you'll harm your baby.

Tea Additives

While black tea made from tea leaves is safe during pregnancy -- provided it's decaffeinated -- there are many herbal substances sold as teas or added to black tea that aren't necessarily a good idea. Food-grade herbs, such as ginger and pepper, are generally safe. Nonfood herbs, however, haven't always been tested for safety during pregnancy, explain Drs. Roizen and Oz. If your decaf black tea has nonfood herbs in it, talk to your obstetrician before drinking it.

Other Considerations

If you choose to sweeten your decaffeinated black tea to give it a milder flavor, be aware that some sweeteners aren't appropriate for use during pregnancy. While they're popular because they don't contain calories, artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame haven't been tested for safety in pregnant women, explain Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel in their book "What To Expect When You're Expecting." It's safest to sweeten your tea with sugar or honey.

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