Drinking Herbal Teas During Pregnancy

If you have cut completely or reduced your caffeine consumption during pregnancy, you may be wondering what you can replace your favourite hot drink with. Many herbal teas are considered safe for pregnant women, but there are a few notable ones to be avoided.

Teas to avoid

Some teas are considered unsafe for consumption during pregnancy due to the potential side effects. The following teas should be avoided during pregnancy:

  • St John’s wort tea – pregnant women are advised to avoid St John’s wort during pregnancy
  • licorice root tea – it is believed consumption of licorice root tea may be linked with preterm delivery
  • ginseng tea – this may cause fetal development problems and should be avoided during pregnancy
  • pennyroyal tea – this may stimulate uterine contractions and should be avoided during pregnancy
  • ephedra tea – ephedra should be avoided during pregnancy because it can stimulate uterine contractions. It has also been found to cross the placenta and increase fetal heart rate.
  • yarrow tea – yarrow is a muscle relaxant and is thought to be linked to risk of miscarriage
  • dong quai tea – this herb may stimulate bleeding

Teas in moderation

The following teas contain caffeine, and so should be enjoyed in moderation. Pregnant women are advised to restrict their caffeine intake to less than 200mg each day. If you’re trying to avoid caffeine during pregnancy, you should avoid the following teas altogether:

  • black tea
  • green tea
  • chai tea
  • earl grey tea
  • oolong tea
  • darjeeling tea
  • lapsang souchong tea
  • golden monkey black tea
  • lychee tea
  • hong mao tea
  • nilgiris tea

A note about green tea

There is some debate about how safe green tea is for pregnant women. It contains caffeine and so intake should be restricted, but there is also evidence to suggest that it can reduce folic acid absorption. Folic acid is very important during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester, and so some women choose to avoid green tea altogether during pregnancy.

Safe teas

The following herbal teas are considered safe to drink during pregnancy:

  • raspberry leaf tea – this one is considered safe once you have reached week 24, but should be avoided until that point
  • ginger tea – many women rely on this drink to help them through the rocky weeks of morning sickness in early pregnancy
  • peppermint tea – another tea often used to combat nausea in early pregnancy
  • dandelion leaf tea – high in potassium, and safe to drink in pregnancy
  • rooibos tea – caffeine free and full of antioxidants, this is tea comes highly recommended for pregnant women

There isn’t much research on the effect of drinking herbal teas during pregnancy – on pregnant women or developing babies. Some people advise limiting your herbal tea intake just just one or two cups a day. There isn’t any evidence to suggest herbal teas can cause problems, but it is worth being cautious with the amount you drink, just in case.

What are your favourite herbal teas, and have you had any success in using them to stave off nausea?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.