Herbal Teas & Pregnancy
Consuming herbal tea during pregnancy can be a great healthy substitute for your usual soda or coffee, but it’s normal to be worried about the effect it may have on you and your unborn baby. While many herbal teas can be used safely during pregnancy — and have been part of traditional medicine for centuries — being aware of which teas are safest and which may have unwanted side effects can help you enjoy your favorite flavors safely.
Safe Herbal Teas for Pregnancy
Beyond just being a tasty alternative to plain water, herbal teas can also offer a variety of benefits to pregnant mothers. Depending on which symptoms you’re experiencing, you may find that regularly drinking herbal tea can help with constipation, nausea, anxiety and insomnia. While there are plenty of specific pregnancy teas available at health food stores and major grocery retailers, these three are a good place to start:
- Mint tea. Peppermint is a popular remedy for the morning sickness, general nausea and digestive discomfort common in pregnancy. Peppermint tea is safe for all stages of pregnancy and can be consumed in almost unlimited quantities without issue.
- Ginger tea. This tea provides a warm, spicy flavor and is most beneficial during the first trimester, when the majority of women experience the height of pregnancy-related nausea.
- Rooibos tea. Also known as red bush tea, this South African concoction is closer to a fermented drink than it is a true tea. However, its high levels of antioxidants and soothing properties make it a good choice throughout pregnancy, especially for women experiencing anxiety or skin breakouts.
Herbal Teas That May Be Safe for Pregnancy
Some herbal teas can ease the unpleasant symptoms associated with pregnancy, but many of these have not been subjected to rigorous scientific study. Here are some herbal teas that may be beneficial to drink when pregnant, but you should check with your care provider first to be sure there are no contraindications. It’s also important to make sure that you are only using commercially prepared teas from well-known brands to ensure quality ingredients.
- Red raspberry leaf tea. This is a very popular pregnancy tea and is considered safe and even quite beneficial during the second and third trimesters. However, there is mixed research about whether it may increase your risk of miscarriage if consumed during the first trimester, and many care providers caution women against using it until later on in the pregnancy.
- Green tea. The main problem with green tea is its natural caffeine content. Caffeine can pass through the placenta to the baby, so it’s important to keep track of your overall consumption. However, guidelines for how much caffeine is safe for pregnant women have relaxed in recent years, and your doctor may be fine with you having the occasional cup as long as you’re aware of the possible — although fairly remote — risks.
- Chamomile tea. This herbal tea is very commonly consumed during pregnancy, but its effects have not been well studied, putting it into the “possibly safe” category. German chamomile is usually preferred over Roman chamomile during pregnancy, but most commercially prepared chamomile teas are diluted enough to be safe for moderate consumption.
Definitely stay away from blue cohosh, black cohosh, ephedra and saw palmetto — all of which can have adverse effects — during pregnancy, and make sure to check with your care provider before trying any herbal tea you haven’t had before or don’t recognize.
Tips for Safely Consuming Herbal Teas During Pregnancy
While pregnant, it’s best to stick to herbal teas you’ve had positive results from or those specifically recommended by your health care provider. Remember that, with herbal teas, the longer you steep the better the flavor, and adding a bit of honey or lemon can do wonders if you’re still in the morning sickness stage.