Teas that are Safe in Pregnancy, a Trimester by Trimester Guide
I have been there! You get that positive test and the first thing your mind goes to is what can I not eat and drink? One of the most common questions I get asked in my practice, is what teas are ok for me to continue drinking? There is more readily available info out there with respect to coffee, the consensus is pregnant women can safely consume up to 200 mg/day which is equal to one 12 oz cup. But when it comes to tea, there are many more question marks.
Green Tea May Not Be the Best Option
Did you know that green tea is one you need to be careful of in pregnancy?! I often see that women are trying to be mindful of not drinking too much coffee, so they make the switch to green tea. The issue with green tea isn’t related to the amount of caffeine, although it does still contain caffeine, an average of 30-50 mg per 8 oz cup. The concern with green tea lies in how it interacts with folate. As most pregnant women are well aware, folate or folic acid, is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Having adequate levels of folate helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. The neural tube is fully formed by the end of the first trimester. What role does green tea play in folate absorption? A component of green tea called catechins, partially prevents the cells in the intestines from absorbing folate. Having lower levels of folate increases the risk for neural tube defects. There are two main ways to ensure that you have adequate folate levels during the first trimester
- Supplement with 1000 mg of methylated folate, ideally 3 months before getting pregnant. Click this link for my roundup of the best prenatal vitamins
- Keep green tea consumption to a minimum in the first trimester, 3 or less cups/week
The first trimester is a time of fast development and is when most organs are forming. Due to ethical reasons, safety testing is not performed on pregnant women, so consequently the safety of most teas has not been evaluated meaning we have to make an educated guess on what is safe. I tend to air on the side of caution in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.
- Ginger Tea- Safe for consumption, and is also helpful for nausea and vomiting that are often present
- Black Tea- Being mindful of caffeine levels, 50 mg/cup, it is a good choice! Tannins in black tea reduce iron absorption, so space your cup of tea away from your prenatal or multivitamin
- Rooibos Tea- Caffeine free and high in antioxidants
Often considered the “golden time of pregnancy” it is also the time when you can start adding a few more teas back into your repertoire. Leg cramps can become an issue, as the baby’s skeleton is rapidly growing and hardening, steal both calcium and magnesium from mom. Don’t fret! There is a tea for that!
All of the teas from the first trimester are safe for second trimester. You can add in the following
- Nettle Leaf Tea- one cup/day. High in calcium and magnesium to help with leg cramping, as well as iron, which the body demand for increases in the second trimester
- Lemon Balm Tea- Helpful for relaxation and sleep
- Peppermint Tea- Can be helpful for digestive upset and heartburn which often present during the second trimester
The home stretch! Adding on to the teas from the first and second trimester
- Red Raspberry Tea- Considered a uterine tonic, up to 3 cups a day can be consumed from 36 weeks on the help make uterine contractions more effective
So there you have it. I hope this by the trimester guide helps you to feel more confident with your pregnancy drink choices!
Did you have a go to drink in pregnancy? Post it in the comments below