Drinking tea is a good way to stay hydrated when you’re pregnant or nursing, but some teas are better than others for you and the baby.
We often enjoy tea during pregnancy, since it has so many beneficial properties. It makes you feel warm and cozy during the cold winter months as it hugs you from the inside. Iced tea refreshes your body during the sweltering days of summer. A good tea can transport you all over the world, and there are so many varieties to choose from!
Change the type of tea you drink frequently, so you get a variety of different flavors and nutrients. Some teas, like fruit tea, are a perfect complement to your pregnancy diet, but others, like herbal teas have ingredients that might need to be consumed in moderation.
Most herbal teas contain plant-based ingredients, like essential oils, that can have an effect on the human body comparable to that of a medicinal product. Too much may have a negative effect, but two to three cups of herbal tea during pregnancy and lactation are usually harmless.
As a general rule, teas prepared from herbs and fruits also used for cooking are usually safe, e.g., thyme or mint tea. Sage tea is an exception, since it may increase your blood pressure, putting you and your baby at risk.
Go easy on the caffeine
It’s no surprise that coffee and cocoa beans contain caffeine, but many tea leaves do, as well. Too much caffeine during pregnancy may harm the baby, lead to deformities, miscarriages and a low birth weight.
Since there is no precise data on how much caffeine is harmless to the unborn child, caffeine consumption should be limited during pregnancy and lactation. More than 2 cups of black tea or 3 cups of green tea a day is not recommended. This also applies while you’re nursing.
Excessively large quantities of green or black tea may also lower the serum levels of folic acid during pregnancy. Folic acid (folate) is part of the B vitamin family and particularly important for the development of the fetus in the first trimester.
You shouldn’t necessarily drink black and green tea with a meal, since the ingredients inhibit the absorption of iron. Iron is a trace element and, as a component of the body’s red blood cells, important for oxygen transport in our body.
Herbal teas: it all depends on the dosage
Herbal teas are delicious and add variety to everyday life. You can consume them on their own, or as herbal mixture and tea condiment. We drink herbal teas not just because they taste good, but their healing properties make us feel good.
Several herbs are tried and tested remedies able to ease ailments that are particularly prevalent during pregnancy and lactation. The same principle applies here as before: dosage is important, as an overdose of certain herbal ingredients may have detrimental effects on the health of mother and child.
Don’t drink these during pregnancy:
- Paraguay tea
- Passion flower
- Licorice root
Drink these during pregnancy and lactation:
- Fruit tea
- Rooibos tea
- Rose hip tea
Herbal teas to drink in limited quantities
Nettle in small doses is an ingredient of many pregnancy teas as it is detoxifying, has a diuretic effect, and strengthens the body’s immune system. Pure nettle in small doses might be too much of a good thing, so it’s best to avoid.
Thyme is a good cure for coughs and colds, as it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the mouth and throat. Thyme in normal quantities is suitable for use during pregnancy, but too much thyme could stimulate your uterus and jumpstart childbirth, so go easy on the thyme.
Mint in normal quantities is completely harmless and may help to ease nausea and vomiting. Avoid pure mint oil during pregnancy, since it could give you heartburn and increase gastric acid production.
Ginger strengthens the immune system and can help ease colds. It’s also great for muscle relaxation and digestion. It can also ease pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting. Take up to 6 grams of fresh ginger per day during pregnancy, but higher doses are not recommended since it may trigger premature contractions.
Herbal teas to enjoy in great quantities
Fennel works well against flatulence and stomach cramps, aids digestion and stimulates milk production. You probably notice that many “pregnancy” teas contain fennel since it’s perfectly suitable for use during pregnancy and lactation.
Chamomile tea is another pleasant drink known for its calming, antispasmodic, antibacterial and antifungal properties for stomach and bowel. Drink it up!
Melissa has similar properties to chamomile- it can suppress muscle spasm and has great antiviral properties. It also works well against gastrointestinal disorders.
Rose hip contains a lot of vitamin C and can also stimulate the immune system. It’s mild laxative effect stimulates digestion, and counteracts constipation, which is another plus during pregnancy. Rose hip can also have a pain-relieving effect.
Herbal breast-feeding tea is not a “must”
Many women practically force themselves to drink breast-feeding tea, assuming it has a soothing effect on the baby and is important for boosting and maintaining milk supply. The effect of this tea is however completely overrated. There have been studies on the effect of fenugreek seed confirming its effect on boosting the milk supply.
Other herbs like aniseed, caraway seed, melissa or even lemon verbena have also been shown to boost milk supply. But there are also many breast-feeding teas that do not contain any fenugreek at all.
If you don’t like the taste of lactation tea, rest assured there are lots of other great things to drink, and better ways to stimulate milk production. Putting your baby to the breast as often as possible may be far more effective to stimulate milk production than some “magic herbal tea”.
You might also want to get pregnancy and lactation tips from friends or family members on the FamilyApp.
Relaxation and Pregnancy
Reducing stress also has a positive effect on milk production. When you’re relaxed and your parasympathetic nervous system is going strong, your body can work on making milk and taking care of your baby. So whether you’re drinking a fancy tea, glass of water, or even coffee (yes- everything in moderation), if your beverage of choice is helping you relax, drink up! It’s good for you and the baby.