Danger of drinking herbal tea

Is it Safe to Drink Herbal Tea When You’re Pregnant? Pregnancy & Tea Drinking

The general consensus is that most herbal teas are safe to drink during pregnancy. In fact, certain ones can actually be beneficial: peppermint and ginger teas make a great home remedy for morning sickness and nausea. Drinking tea can be a relaxing way to de-stress and unwind.

As with most things whilst you’re expecting, it’s best to enjoy herbal teas in moderation during pregnancy. One of two cups a day should be fine.

Herbal teas make a great alternative to highly caffeinated drinks, which should always be avoided during pregnancy. Swap out your lattes and coffees for rooibos or peppermint.

Try to change your choice of herbal tea regularly — every day if possible. Herbal teas generally contain the same chemicals and compounds as herbal medications, so you want to try and avoid these building up in your body. Plus, changing your choice of drink will help give you a little extra variety and keep things interesting.

Here are some more tips on how to enjoy herbal teas during your pregnancy.

What Counts as Herbal Tea?

Despite its name, herbal tea isn't technically a tea. This is because herbal teas don't come from the same plants that are used to create black, green, white or oolong teas : the Camellia sinensis plant. 

Herbal teas are instead made by infusing or blending various leaves, barks, roots, flowers, fruits and, even spices.

As a result of the many varieties of herbal teas and their vibrant flavors, drinking herbal tea has seen a huge boost in popularity over recent years. They can be drunk hot or chilled, which adds to their versatility and popularity. There are loads of herbal tea varieties and mixes on the market — a lot of them aimed at promoting stress relief, aiding sleep, supporting women’s health etc. 

More and more studies have proved the benefits that herbal teas can have on our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. They often provide a holistic approach to soothing and calming stress, and the very act of drinking tea can be therapeutic in itself.

Some of the most popular herbal teas include:

  • chamomile tea
  • red-bush rooibos tea
  • turmeric tea
  • peppermint tea
  • ginger tea
  • hibiscus tea
  • yerba tea.

Benefits of Herbal Teas

Drinking herbal tea has a number of benefits, both in everyday life and during pregnancy. If you are a big tea-drinker, it might make sense to swap out caffeinated black for caffeine-free herbal varieties during your pregnancy. Drinking herbal teas is a nice way to relax and treat yourself,  it can also help you burn fat up to 1lb every 72 hour. Check out our Red Tea Detox Review to learn more.

Some of these benefits include:

Reduced Caffeine Intake

Most herbal teas, including chamomile, peppermint, rooibos, and turmeric, are naturally free of caffeine. This is great for those who have a natural sensitivity to caffeine. But even people with no caffeine sensitivity should think twice about consuming caffeinated drinks on a daily basis: caffeine increases your heart rate and can make you feel nervous, jumpy, and anxious.

Non-caffeinated herbal teas can be enjoyed during pregnancy, when it's important to generally start cutting back on your caffeine intake. Caffeine has diuretic properties: this means that it can interfere with the way our bodies absorb calcium and other nutrients which are crucial to pregnancy.

Caffeine can also increase your rate of urination, which is usually increased naturally by pregnancy anyway, and certainly not something many pregnant women would want to increase further. 

All in all, a soothing herbal tea is a good smart swap for your pre-pregnancy cup of Java.

Reduce Nausea and Morning Sickness

Pregnancy Morning Sickness

Both ginger and peppermint tea make great, natural remedies for pregnancy-induced nausea (known as morning sickness). Sipping a little ginger of peppermint tea can go a long way to settling your morning sickness and reduce your feelings of nausea. During pregnancy, it’s important to try to relax and rest as much as possible.

Ease Tension and Anxiety

Expecting your new arrival can be a stressful time and emotions can run high. Your hormones will be more unbalanced than usual, and you’re likely to feel tired. Thankfully herbal teas like lavender or lemon balm tea are safe to drink during pregnancy. The soothing scent of lemon balm tea and lavender and the various components can help to reduce your anxiety levels and help you feel less tense.

Toning Your Muscles

Although there is little scientific evidence to prove it, many mums-to-be believe that raspberry leaf tea can help tone the muscles in your uterus. This, in theory, can help to prepare the muscles for the process of a physical labor. Therefore, raspberry leaf tea is often popular amongst moms-to-be when they reach the 32-week mark.

However, the scientific evidence to back up these claims is virtually non-existent. But, it is a nice-tasting tea and could help to improve your mood regardless of whether it helps your muscles or not.

High Potassium Levels

Herbal teas, such as dandelion tea, are high in potassium. Potassium is just one of the many minerals that is crucial to the development of your baby. Getting enough potassium (and other minerals) is hugely important during pregnancy for your baby’s health and development. Dandelion tea is also considered safe to drink during pregnancy.

Antioxidants

Rooibos tea, in particular, is highly recommended for women during pregnancy. This is because it is both naturally caffeine free and full of antioxidants. This means that it's great at reducing damage to cells caused by free radicals and helps to keep the cells around your uterus healthy, which is key for a healthy pregnancy.

Risks of Drinking Herbal Tea During Pregnancy

What Herbal tea is good for pregnancy

In general, there are very few risks to drinking herbal tea during pregnancy. However, there are some which could cause some unwanted side effects.

Valerian Root Tea

Although valerian root tea is often renowned for its ability to help those suffering from sleeping disorders, many experts suggest that you avoid it during pregnancy. If you do choose to drink it, stuck to no more than a cup a day for no longer than a six-week period each time. It can also interfere with certain depression and anxiety medications so it's best to avoid it if you're taking any medication for your mental health.

Chamomile Tea

Often recommended to help soothe the nerves and help you drift off; chamomile tea is known for its calming effects. However, too much chamomile can cause the opposite of the desired effect and make it difficult for you to drop off naturally. Sleep is very important to help your body recover during pregnancy — getting enough sleep helps maintain a healthy pregnancy, so try not to overdo it with the chamomile.

Raspberry Leaf Tea

If your baby is late and you pass your due date,  try to stay away from raspberry leaf tea. Some people suggest that it can help to bring about labor. However, some midwives believe that it can cause very strong contractions which would make labor very distressing for both you and the baby. A distressing labor can cause all sorts of problems, so it's best not to have too much raspberry tea in the later stages of your pregnancy.

Teas To Avoid During Pregnancy

Whilst most herbal teas are considered safe to drink (in moderation) throughout your pregnancy, there are some which should be avoided once you know you're pregnant.

  • St John’s wort tea – generally, pregnant women are discouraged from drinking tea made with St John's wort.
  • licorice root tea – some studies suggest that this could be linked to premature births.
  • ginseng tea – this herbal tea is potentially linked to fetal development problems.
  • pennyroyal tea – can cause stronger uterine contractions and should be avoided if you're pregnant.
  • ephedra tea – like pennyroyal, ephedra can stimulate uterine contractions. It's also been found to increase fetal heart rate.
  • yarrow tea – yarrow is a muscle relaxant and some studies suggest it increases the risk of miscarriage.
  • dong quai tea – this herb is thought to potentially stimulate bleeding.

Are Green Teas Safe For Consumption During Pregnancy?

There's still some debate about whether or not it's safe to drink green teas during pregnancy.

Remember — green teas are not the same as herbal teas as they are made using different plants.

Green teas contain caffeine, so they should certainly be restricted during your pregnancy.  It's also possible that green teas inhibit the uptake of folic acid, which is hugely important during the first trimester.

Overall, herbal teas should be safe to drink during pregnancy. There are some which should be avoided, but the majority can still be enjoyed in moderation. If you’re concerned or unsure about a specific form of herbal tea, speak to your doctor at your next check-up. They’ll be able to advise you on what the best thing to do for your pregnancy is. Remember, every pregnancy is different, so it’s always best to ask your doctor if you’re unsure.

About the Author Cathy

EHI Primary Care is run by Cathy, a 20-something fitness guru and yoga enthusiast. This is my blog, where I cover all sorts of topics around my healthy lifestyle.

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