The use of herbal tea during pregnancy is widely common. Herbal teas are commonly considered to be a safer alternative for other beverages. But during pregnancy, you need to be careful about what you eat or drink. Examples of pregnancy-safe herbal teas include raspberry, ginger, chamomile, thyme. But are they all safe to be consumed while pregnant? Do they provide nutrition? Read on as we discuss the benefits and possible side effects of having herbal teas when pregnant and also a list of the popular ones.
Is It Safe To Consume Herbal Tea During Pregnancy?
Herbal teas are generally considered safe. They are usually considered to be a part of alternative medicine or traditional medicine. They are often used as natural remedies for various illnesses and conditions. But there is not enough scientific evidence to prove their safety or benefits during pregnancy.
Herbal teas that are safe for one woman may not be safe for another. A given herbal tea may not be safe for you if you are allergic to the components in the herb. Also, the herbs might interfere with your medicines, possibly leading to reactions.
Hence, you should know which herbs can be safe for you during pregnancy, and which ones you should avoid. You may try a small sample cup with your doctor’s approval and check if it suits you.
Buy these teas from only well-known and certified brands.
Popular Herbal Teas: Can You Drink Them When Pregnant?
Below is a list of popular herbal teas that women consume during pregnancy. If your health permits and the doctor gives you a go-ahead, you may try these occasionally. But it is good not to make a habit out of it.
1. Peppermint leaf tea
Peppermint herbal tea is said to alleviate a few pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, heartburn, vomiting, and bloating. Moreover, it provides stress relief. It can also help facilitate smooth delivery. However, high dosage should be avoided as it contains emmenagogue properties (causing abortion) (1) (2).
2. Red raspberry leaf tea
Also called as women’s herb, red raspberry has strong antioxidants. It is known to be good for treating morning sickness in pregnant women. It can also prevent complications and make the delivery smoother. However, you should not have raspberry tea if you have high blood pressure, if you are planning a c-section, or are on medications (3). This tea may be taken during labor. It is good to avoid it when you are at a risk of preterm labor.
3. Ginger tea
Ginger helps improve your mood, reduce irritability, reduce digestion issues, and alleviate nausea and vomiting, which are common during pregnancy (4). It also has anti-inflammatory properties that strengthen the immune system. However, it could lower blood sugar levels and therefore may not suit women who are taking medications for diabetes. Woo Elaine, a mother, shares how beneficial ginger tea was for her morning sickness. She mentions, “I was trying not to drink too much coffee or tea, and I had a slight aversion to milk or dairy products, especially when my morning sickness occurred during weeks 7-8. I realized that drinking Ginger tea helped a great deal, reducing some nausea and indigestion. It is good to drink before or after meals. In fact, I still drink some ginger tea now to relieve mild heartburn and as a digestive aid (i).”
4. Dandelion tea
The leaves of Dandelion are known to have mild diuretic properties that help in the proper functioning of the urinary system. They also have a variety of nutrients that benefit prenatal health such as folate, vitamins A, C, and K, and minerals such as calcium and potassium. There are no proven studies on the use of dandelion during pregnancy (5). It should be avoided by women who have gall bladder problems and acidity.
5. Nettle tea
The nettle leaves are diuretic and rich sources of iron and calcium. It could help prevent allergies during pregnancy. Nonetheless, it is good to ask your doctor before drinking it (6).
6. Chamomile tea
Sipping chamomile tea before bed is said to promote sleep. However, limiting it to one cup a day is recommended when you are pregnant. Avoid this tea if you’re allergic to chamomile (3). The tea provides relaxation though it could make you feel drowsy, and it could also interact with medications such as painkillers, sedatives and antimicrobial drugs.
The above teas may have been found safe in women but the evidence is anecdotal. Therefore, it is safer to try a diluted version in small quantity and check if it has any adverse effects. Even if there are no adverse reactions, do not consume more than one cup a day.
There are another set of herbs that you should avoid during pregnancy.
Herbal Teas To Avoid During Pregnancy
Some herbal teas that are not recommended for pregnant women include:
1. Pennyroyal tea
This herbal extract belongs to the mint family. It is toxic and could result in liver failure, illness, and severe health concerns. In pregnant women, it could induce abortion and must be avoided (7).
2. Licorice root tea
3. Slippery elm bark tea
If you are pregnant, you should avoid herbal teas made with or including slippery elm bark. The bark is known to have harmful substances that are said to increase the risk of miscarriage. However, it is not scientifically proven (9).
4. Alfalfa tea
Alfalfa contains components that could have estrogenic effects and hence, is not recommended for pregnant women (10).
5. Lemon balm tea
A cup of lemon balm tea is said to alleviate anxiety, depression, irritability, and insomnia. But it is not recommended during pregnancy due to lack of sufficient evidence. Anecdotal evidence shows that lemon balm could have emmenagogic, antithyrotropic, and antigonadotropic effects (11).
Considering that not all herbs are safe for use during pregnancy, it is vital that you know how to pick a safe herbal tea.
How To Choose A Safe Herbal Tea?
Here are a few things to remember when purchasing herbal teas during pregnancy.
- Check the ingredients on the label before purchasing. In case you are allergic to any ingredient, avoid buying that herbal tea.
- If you are on medications, ask your doctor what teas are safe or unsafe when combined with the medicines.
- In case you have certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, ask your doctor if a specific herbal tea is good or bad for you.
- Only buy from well-known and certified brands.
If you’re not sure what’s in a pack of herbal tea powder or leaves, avoid it.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the recommended doses of herbal teas for pregnant women?
A pregnant woman can include up to two cups of herbal tea in a day depending on the quantity consumed. However, it is best to also take a doctor’s opinion into consideration before beginning regular consumption of herbal teas (14).
2. Can consuming herbal teas during pregnancy impact milk production during breastfeeding?
3. What should a pregnant woman do if she is unsure about drinking a particular herbal tea?
Suppose you are apprehensive about consuming a specific herbal tea during pregnancy. In that case, it is best to seek confirmation from a certified medical practitioner or dietitian before including the tea in your pregnancy diet.
4. Is it safe to drink herbal teas during each trimester of pregnancy?
Studies indicate that herbs such as ginger and peppermint are commonly used more in the first two trimesters (16). However, detailed research on this is lacking, so it is best to consult your doctor on the herb’s safety across each trimester before consuming a herbal tea.
Herbal teas have become increasingly popular due to their health and medicinal benefits. Pregnant women also consume them for hydration along with water and juices. However, you may be wondering if it is safe to try herbal teas during pregnancy, such as peppermint tea, ginger tea, chamomile tea, etc. Though some of these teas are healthy and safe to consume while pregnant, it is best to limit the intake to one cup every day. Furthermore, you may avoid certain herbal teas, including pennyroyal, alfalfa, and licorice root teas, as they may adversely affect pregnant mothers and the fetus. Speak to your doctor about your medications and health conditions before consuming herbal tea, and ensure to check the ingredients and manufacturer before purchasing herbal tea.
Infographic: Popular Herbal Teas: Can You Drink Them When Pregnant?
Herbal teas have therapeutic benefits and are known to relax the mind. But if you drink these teas regularly, you must know which ones are safe to drink during pregnancy. Explore the infographic below to find out if your favorite tea is safe while pregnant.
- It is generally safe to consume herbal teas during pregnancy, but it is important to get your doctor’s approval before doing so.
- Many pregnant women choose to drink herbal teas, such as raspberry, nettle, chamomile, and peppermint tea.
- However, some herbal teas like licorice, lemon balm, alfalfa, and slippery elm bark should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Before purchasing any herbal tea, always check the ingredient list and consider buying from certified companies for added safety.
Curious about incorporating herbal teas during pregnancy? Uncover the benefits of these natural infusions and their potential to nurture your well-being throughout your pregnancy in this video.
Personal Experience: Source
i. My 1st trimester must-haves;
2. M. Wilson; Herbal tea consumption during pregnancy; University of Wollongong (1993)
3. Red Raspberry; Beth Israel Lahey Health Winchester Hospital
4. Ginger; Mother To Baby (2017)
5. Dandelion; Beth Israel Library Health
6. P. Shinde, P. Patil, and V. Bairagi; Herbs in pregnancy and lactation: a review appraisal; International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research (2012)
7. Pennyroyal oil; Poison Control
8. K. Raikkonen et al.; Maternal Licorice Consumption During Pregnancy and Pubertal, Cognitive, and Psychiatric Outcomes in Children; American Journal of Epidemiology (2017)
9. Slipper elm; Mount Sinai
10. Alfalfa; Beth Israel Lahey Health Winchester Hospital
11. Ulbricht C, et al.; Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.): An evidence-based systematic review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration; Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy (2005)
12. Herbal Tea and Pregnancy; American Pregnancy Association
13. Herbal teas during pregnancy and breastfeeding; Pregnancy, Birth and Baby
14. Berna Terzioglu Bebitoglu; (2020); Frequently Used Herbal Teas During Pregnancy – Short Update; NCBI
15. Natural Galactogogues; University of Wisconsin
16. Beata Sarecka-Hujar and Beata Szulc-Musioł; Herbal Medicines—Are They Effective and Safe during Pregnancy?; NCBI (2022)