Tea in pregnancy: let’s talk caffeine, Pope Francis & more

Can you drink tea while pregnant? Short answer is yes. But first things first – congratulations on your pregnancy!

Although most would argue against drinking tea while pregnant, in fact, tea contains low levels of caffeine compared to coffee and other caffeinated drinks. On average, one cup of strong black tea contains up to 80 mg of caffeine whereas a cup of coffee has at least 110 mg and more (more in this infographic).

Tea types

Black, green, oolong and white teas all come from the same plant (Camellia Sinensis). Yet, that doesn’t mean they all contain the same amounts of caffeine. Black teas and its blends are typically high in caffeine because oxidation is part of their making process. Green and white teas are processed differently and are low in caffeine which makes them a much safer option.

Herbal infusions aren’t tea (hence, the term infusions) and are absolutely safe to drink (with some exceptions but not because of caffeine, read further). Rooibos is caffeine-free as it comes from a different plant and not Camellia Sinensis and is valued for its antioxidant properties. Learn more about rooibos in my post The unknown tea continent and its flavors.

What teas to avoid

Stay clear of matcha and yerba maté. Matcha is a type of green powdered tea and it packs about 35 mg of caffeine per half-teaspoon (1-gram) serving.

South America’s favorite drink maté is another highly caffeinated tea drink that comes from Ilex paraguariensis plant. It usually contains 85 mg of caffeine per cup (237 ml). Remember that image of Papa Francisco sipping on maté all day long? Well yes, he was never pregnant 🙂

Image source: www.infobae.com

What’s safe?

My advice is to go for rooibos, green and white tea blends. You can always dilute regular tea with a dash of milk too and enjoy a new taste. The best secret to healthy pregnancy (and not only!) is consumption in moderation and according to your health.

One of the things I’ve learned with my pregnancy is to listen to my body. When I was in my second month of pregnancy, I suddenly lost any interest in drinking tea. Just like that! Hard to believe, I know and I was puzzled too! Everybody knows how much I love drinking tea and I’d easily have 5-6 cups a day. And during that time I just stopped drinking tea for like a month or so. And then it returned – again, just like that. So don’t be afraid to listen your body.

A good rule of thumb mentioned across many sources is to limit your caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day.

Infusions for the first trimester

  • Ginger – soothes stomach issues and nausea. Also good if you have a cold or flu
  • Mint and peppermint – helps alleviate morning sickness, vomiting and relaxes stomach muscles
  • Fennel and red raspberry – helps with morning sickness and good for those who cannot have chamomile

Infusions for the second trimester

  • Chamomile – calms, eases nausea and anxiety, helps relieve insomnia, nourishing. Good for swellings and achenes. Some sources suggest to avoid it if you have a history of miscarriage

Infusions for the third trimester

  • Nettle leaf – a great source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamins A, C and K, and potassium
  • Red raspberry – it is said to prepare the uterus for labor and also to prevent post-partum hemorrhage

Safe throughout pregnancy

  • Lemon balm – uplifting, calming, great for digestion. Use in moderation. Good for headache, depression, insomnia, allergies (antihistamine, in combination with nettles)
  • Rose and Rosehips – calming, cooling, uplifting, rich in vitamin c, flavonoids, astringent, mildly diuretic
  • Red Raspberry – #1 herb for female health. Tonifying. Astringent. Tightens, tones, and strengthens pelvic muscles. Rich in vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, vit. E, B, C.) Also helps enhance the flow of breast-milk. Limit to 2-3 cups per day
  • Rooibos – can be enjoyed hot or cold, with or without milk, this tea is so universal and is super healthy as it’s loaded with immune-boosting antioxidants and vitamin C

Stay hydrated

The bottom line is tea helps to stay hydrated which is even more important when being pregnant. Also, most teas are a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

This post is not a medical advice and is based on personal experience. If you have doubts about drinking tea during your pregnancy, it is best to talk to your doctor or midwife.

Sources:

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