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Drinking Herbal Tea During Pregnancy: Yay or Nay?

For all you tea fans out there, experimenting with teas might be something you find interesting and something you like to indulge in. This experimenting involves many different kinds of teas as well as combined brews. Amongst this wide variety, there also exists herbal teas which are are some of the favourites of many women out there. Along with being healthy, they’re also yummy! However, with all the changes to be accounted for during pregnancy, is herbal tea to be avoided or is it safe?

The answer, you will be glad to hear, is that herbal teas are safe to consume in, keeping in mind certain conditions. Also to be noted is the that all teas must be consumed in moderation. Due to much of the focus going to medicines and pharmaceuticals when it comes to pregnancy safety, not much attention is given to herbal teas; this can also be attributed to the notion that most people have about herbal teas being incredibly healthy, to the extent that their negative side effects are not looked into.

While herbal teas have many health benefits including provide nutrition and nutrients including magnesium, calcium, and iron, they must be consumed with caution. Due to the lack of research conducted on the effects of herbal tea, caution is stressed upon; it is also advisable to speak to your doctor about what you are consuming. As herbal teas are not generally regulated by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, there is much uncertainty about the herbs that are present in different tea bags. The problem with this is that there are certain herbs which have medicinal properties, the effects of which might be dangerous during pregnancy, for mum and baby.

What’s safe and what’s not?

In moderation, there are some herbal teas which are alright and maybe even beneficial to drink. These include teas which are caffeine free and have certain substances which can aid with pregnancy problems.

Rooibos - Antioxidizing and caffeine free.

Ginger and mint - Prevents or acts as a remedy for morning sickness.

Lemon balm tea - Treats insomnia, reduces stress, helps with digestion, and reduces anxiety.

Red raspberry leaf tea - High in iron content which could help improve uterine tone. 

Peppermint - Prevents morning sickness and eases gas (watch out for heartburn).

Not safe

Chamomile - May trigger uterine contractions (and possible miscarriage).

Nettle leaf tea - It faces a lot of controversy as dried nettle leaves are used as tonics in the later trimesters while fresh nettle leaves may trigger uterine contractions.

Licorice root teas - It is believed to increase the risk of preterm labour.

Laxative herbal teas - These could cause dehydration and lead to an imbalance of electrolytes.

Other herbal teas that are avoidable include those containing chicory root, blue and/or black cohosh, alfalfa, dong quai, and pennyroyal, to name a few.

The teas mentioned in both lists have their own benefits as well as risks. Teas from both lists can be consumed after weighing out the costs and benefits, as long as they are done so in moderation and in limited quantities. Those teas that are present on the safe to consume list can also lead to severe complications if consumed in large quantities. Teas present on the avoidable list also have health benefits which can be accrued if they are consumed with extreme care, moderation, and caution. Always speak to your healthcare provider before making decisions in this regard because the herbs that are being consumed (in light of their presence in the teas) have their own medicinal properties which may benefit or adversely impact the consumer, depending on consumption habits. 

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