Is It Safe To Drink Decaf Tea During Pregnancy?

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Caffeine is a compound commonly associated with coffee. However, it is also present in tea. It is one of the reasons why you may find tea refreshing. However, if you are a tea drinker, you may consider switching to decaf tea during pregnancy.

Decaf tea has the same pleasant flavor and aroma as standard tea but without caffeine. Decaf tea could be an option during pregnancy due to the potential side effects of caffeine on the mother and the baby in the womb. You need not completely avoid caffeine, and moderate quantities are usually safe to consume during pregnancy. However, if you are an avid tea drinker and need several cups a day, decaf tea could be an ideal choice since it can help you stay clear from excess caffeine consumption.

Read on to learn about decaf tea, its safety, and how much decaf tea is safe to consume during pregnancy.

What is Decaf Tea?

Decaf is simply your caffeine source, tea or coffee, minus the caffeine. When you opt for a decaf tea, the flavoring elements remain intact while the caffeine is either removed or reduced significantly (1). It means that you don’t compromise on taste while removing caffeine that may have negative effects on your pregnancy.

Why Is Too Much Caffeine Bad During Pregnancy?

Consuming high levels of caffeine during pregnancy can have negative effects on your baby. Common problems, including the low birth weight, preterm labour are often linked to high caffeine consumption during pregnancy (2). Here are few other risks that you expose yourself and your baby with excessive caffeine consumption (2):

  • Excess caffeine can harm your baby’s development during pregnancy.
  • Caffeine acts on your central nervous system by acting as an instant stimulant. This, in turn, can increase your blood pressure and hence your heart rate.
  • It can lead to severe gastritis.
  • Health risks like miscarriages are also found to have an increased rate due to high caffeine consumption.

Is Decaf Tea Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, decaf tea during pregnancy is absolutely safe! It is the best way you can enjoy your share of daily caffeine but in a controlled and healthy way (3).

Will I Have To Give Up Caffeine Completely?

No! Although, it is best to avoid it if you can, if you cannot, you still can enjoy your tea or coffee, but in moderation (2).

How Much Decaf Tea Is Safe During Pregnancy?

Your total caffeine consumption in a day should not exceed 200 mg (2). It roughly is around two regular mugs of tea or coffee. A cup of decaf contains about 2 milligrams of caffeine (3). So adjust your caffeine intake accordingly.

It is not just your cup of coffee or tea that contains caffeine. Here are other some other drinks and foods that contain caffeine (2):

  • Chocolate (both milk and plain)
  • Cola
  • Energy drink
  • Instant coffee
  • Brewed coffee
  • Brewed tea

So remember that your total caffeine intake should not exceed 200 mg in a day and that limit must include all caffeine foods and drinks you consume through the day.

Decaf tea during pregnancy is a great alternative as it protects both the mother and the baby from the detrimental effects of caffeine while still retaining the flavorful aspects of caffeine. However, switching to decaf should be done gradually since sudden caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches. Depending on how much caffeine you consume in a day, you can adjust your decaf daily intake. You may also try substituting healthy herbal tonics, beverages, and fruit juices for caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks, brewed and instant coffee, tea, etc.

References:

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Dr. Meenu Vashisht Ahuja

(MBBS, DGO, DNB)
Dr. Meenu Vashisht Ahuja owns her private practice in New Delhi and works as a visiting consultant at Fortis Hospital. Her special interests lie in infertility cases and procedures such as IUI, IVF, and ICSI. Having completed her Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynecology (DGO) in 2004, she did her Diplomate of the National Board (DNB) in Ob/Gyn in 2009. She... more

Ria Saha

Ria is a techie-turned-writer and writes articles on health, with special emphasis on nutrition. She did her B.Tech from West Bengal University of Technology and was previously associated with IBM as SAP ABAP technical consultant. She moved into freelance content writing in 2013 and worked for various websites including MomJunction, Brainpulse Technologies, and Emarketz India.

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