Drinking Peppermint Tea During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is often portrayed as a time of great joy and inner radiance, and while this can be true, many women also find it a time when they are struggling with common side effects of pregnancy such as bloating, excess gas and morning — or all day — sickness. If the thought of drinking plain water makes you want to find the nearest bathroom, peppermint tea may be a beneficial alternative.
Can Pregnant Women Drink Peppermint Tea?
For most women, the answer is yes. The American Pregnancy Association categorizes peppermint as one of the herbs that is “likely safe” for consumption during pregnancy. A 2012 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine also found no correlation between the use of peppermint tea during pregnancy and the risk of delivering a low-birth-weight infant. However, it’s important to use a quality brand and double check the ingredients for any additional herbs that have been blended in. Most common herbal teas are safe during pregnancy, but herbs like goldenseal and black and blue cohosh should be avoided.
Even though peppermint tea is generally regarded as safe during pregnancy, it’s important to let your doctor know about any herbal supplements you are using. Women who have heartburn during pregnancy may find that eating or drinking anything with mint exacerbates this condition. Those who are planning on breastfeeding should also be aware of the slight possibility of peppermint decreasing milk supply. Most teas are diluted enough not to produce this effect, but you may want to avoid all forms of peppermint after birth if you have struggled with low milk production before.
What are the Benefits of Peppermint Tea?
In addition to being easier than plain water for the nauseous pregnant stomach to keep down, peppermint tea can also be a natural way to ease some of those problematic pregnancy symptoms. Particular benefits peppermint tea may have for the pregnant mother include:
- Easing morning sickness. Many women find that mint flavors help relieve the nausea common in the first trimester of pregnancy. Drinking a cup upon waking with a light meal, such as crackers and a piece of fruit, may help prevent morning sickness from occurring.
- Relieving bloating and gas. Peppermint has long been used to promote gastrointestinal health and relieve digestive discomfort. Peppermint can help settle your stomach and relax the digestive tract to help it pass food through more efficiently.
- Reducing headaches. While hormonal headaches are common in pregnancy, the increased stress during this time can also lead to tension headaches or exacerbate migraines. Peppermint has shown to be helpful in relieving the pain associated with headaches as well as reducing their frequency.
- Staying hydrated. Those suffering from nausea can quickly become dehydrated. Proper fluid intake is very important for pregnant women, as dehydration in late pregnancy may cause an increase in Braxton-Hicks contractions. Sipping on peppermint tea throughout the day can help you meet your daily fluid goals without relying on beverages that have artificial flavorings, sweeteners, or other additives.
Other types of herbal teas that may be helpful during pregnancy include red raspberry leaf — often the main ingredient in so-called pregnancy teas because of its uterus toning properties — ginger root and slipper elm bark. Getting into the habit of drinking tea now can also provide you with a relaxation ritual as you adjust to life after the birth of your baby.