I grew up drinking tea. It’s part of my culture. I love to drink tea in all variations (and I also love my espresso based hot drinks). In fact, tea and coffee are my choice drinks each day, all year round. But when I was pregnant I was concerned about my caffeine intake and any side-effects. But didn’t know who to ask. My doctor would tell me “in moderation” is okay. Luckily, pregnant women can search the internet and read blogs like this one to discover the benefits of drinking tea!
I’ve been fortunate to have very knowledgeable tea experts within reach. I recently visited t-buds in Toronto to ask them about tea and pregnancy (in consultation with Dr. Priya Prakash, ND, their go-to Naturopathic Doctor).
UrbanMoms: I know that caffeine consumption should be minimized as much as possible during pregnancy. Why is that?
Dr. Prakash: Pregnant women can safely consume caffeine during pregnancy but in moderation. Health Canada has produced guidelines that recommend pregnant women to consume no more than 300mg of caffeine daily. Several recent studies have suggested that pregnant women limit their intake of caffeine to 200 mg daily from all sources.
Apparently, over consumption of caffeine has the ability to cross the placental barrier but the fetal liver is unable to efficiently process it. The fetus may thus experience effects of caffeine such as increased heart rate, alertness and nervous stimulation or tremors for a longer time than the pregnant mother. However, moderate consumption of caffeine (200-300mg per day) does not pose a significant risk so it’s okay to enjoy!
Interestingly, tea seems to be supportive for women attempting to conceive! A study out of Northern California found that drinking one half or more cups of tea daily approximately doubled the chance of conception each cycle.
UrbanMoms: Does green tea have caffeine?
Dr. Prakash: Yes, but it has lower amounts of caffeine as compared to black teas. Rooibos, on the other hand, thought not strictly a “tea”, has minimum to no caffeine. Here’s an interesting breakdown…
An 8 oz cup of green tea has between 10-50 mg of caffeine.
An 8 oz cup of white tea has between 5-25 mg of caffeine.
An 8 oz cup of black/oolong has approximately 45 mg of caffeine.
Chinese green teas have less caffeine than Japanese counterparts. The most popular at t-buds is the Imperial Spring and Dragonwell.
So which herbal teas are beneficial during pregnancy?
Like anything else, it’s best to consult your health or naturopath practitioner if you’re not sure, especially if you have any underlying medical concerns.
Alfalfa: this herb is a rich source of nutrients such as calcium, iron, carotenes, and vitamin C when taken as a tea during pregnancy, it helps provide minerals and vitamins. Alfalfa is particularly rich in vitamin K which may help reduce the risk of post-partum hemorrhages.
Ginger is an effective digestive aid and it is used during pregnancy to alleviate nausea and digestive upset. Limit the per day intact to 2 cups which is about 2 gms.
Kelp is high in vitamins and minerals and can help regulate the thyroid gland. However if you have a thyroid dysfunction make sure you seek advice first.
Nettle is also very rich in many vitamins and minerals especially iron. During pregnancy and lactation, it is important to have high iron intake. This herb can be safely taken at this time.
Chamomile is useful during pregancy but should not be taken in high amounts. An herbal tea can lift the spirits and calm the nervews. It’s also useful for digestive disorders during pregnancy. It has high calcium content as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
Raspberry Leaves. Among all the herbs for pregnancy, this is definitely the most used because it tones and nourishes the uterine muscles by helping the uterus contract more efficiently during delivery. It is rich calcium, iron and B vitamins and is a great support throughout pregnancy and post-partum. It also increases milk flow during lactation.
Partridge Berry has actions similar to raspberry leaf in that it helps tone and prepares the uterus for birth. And during labour it can reduce uterine spasms.
Lemon Balm has a very soothing aroma and it is very useful during pregnancy. It helps calm the nerves, reduce nervous tension and promotes relaxation. It can help in digestive problems as well.
Oatstraw is particularily high in calcium and magnesium, which are important minerals during pregnancy.
WHAT HERBS SHOULD YOU AVOID WHEN PREGNANT?
Angelica, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Borage Oil & Evening Primrose Oil, Comfrey, Dong Quai (can cause bleeding during pregnancy), Fenugreek, Goldenseal, Licorice, Mugwart, Nutmeg, Pennyroyal, Rue, Uva Ursi, Yarrow, and Saw Palmetto.
And when you’re breastfeeding it’s best to avoid Parsley and Sage which reduces the milk production. Also avoid Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh and Basil which have constituents that are harmful to the baby.
t-buds is launching a new line of herbal teas specially made “for her”, “for mum-to-be” and “for him”. The creation of specially formulated tea blends are designed with herbs that are most beneficial for different stages in life. The blends are currently in production and have been screened by Dr. Priya Prakesh, ND, Canadian Certified Naturopathic Doctor.
t-buds retail store & t-buds Tea Lounge and Creperie is located in Toronto at 3343 Yonge Street. You can also order their specialty teas at www.t-buds.com . There’s also lots of great information about tea on their website that you may want to check out!
Dr. Priya Prakash, ND, has a special interest in women’s health conditions, fertility, pregnancy, children, hormonal balances, fatigue and environmental toxicity. You can visit her website www.awakenlife.me for more information.
This post is written by me and is based on my experience and interviews.
It is not sponsored nor have I been compensated.