Green Tea In Pregnancy: 6 Benefits And 3 Side Effects

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Green tea is considered a health drink around the world. Made from the unfermented leaves of Camellia sinensis, green tea contains high concentrations of antioxidants.

Though other teas (such as black, white, yellow and oolong teas) are made of the same plant, green tea is processed differently with minimal oxidation (1).

But can you consume green tea during pregnancy? If yes, how do you brew it and how much can you consume? MomJunction answers these questions and more about drinking green tea during pregnancy.

Is Green Tea Safe During Pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to drink green tea in moderate amounts as there aren’t any clinical studies advising against its consumption during pregnancy.

Green tea is rich in nutrients, which means you can enjoy a cup or two every day.

However, you need to limit the quantity due to the epigallocatechin (EGCG) and caffeine content in it (1).

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What Is Epigallocatechin In Green Tea?

EGCG is an active ingredient and a powerful antioxidant in green tea (2). As good as it may be, the compound can affect the body’s folate metabolism, which is important during pregnancy (3).

Folate is essential to prevent neural tube defects in the fetus. As green teas are the least processed among all the teas, they contain the highest concentrations of this component that may be potentially harmful during pregnancy.

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How Much Caffeine Does Green Tea Have?

An 8oz (237ml) cup of green tea contains about 24mg to 45mg of caffeine, although the exact quantity depends on the brewing time and the brand of tea you choose (4). The same amount of coffee contains about 95mg to 200mg of caffeine, which means a typical cup of green tea contains less than half the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee (5).

Also, a cup of decaffeinated green tea contains around 12mg of caffeine or less (6).

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[ Read: Safe Herbal Teas During Pregnancy ]

How Much Green Tea Is Safe While Pregnant?

You can have up to 200mg of caffeine a day, which accounts for three to four cups of green tea in a day. However, you need to consider the caffeine you are consuming through other sources such as soft drinks, coffee, cola, chocolate, energy drinks and more (7). See to it that everything put together doesn’t go above 200mg a day.

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What Are The Benefits Of Consuming Green Tea During Pregnancy?

Green tea offers more benefits than standard black teas, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks.

Here are some of its benefits.

1. Regulates blood pressure:

High blood pressure during pregnancy can lead to a complication called preeclampsia. Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, called polyphenols, which help in preventing cell damage in the body. Therefore, regular consumption of green tea can regulate blood pressure (8).

2. Keeps blood sugar under control:

Some of the compounds in green tea can modify the glucose levels by controlling the sugar levels in the body. Green tea is also beneficial if you have gestational diabetes (9). Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your blood sugar levels or have gestational diabetes.

3. Protects against dental issues:

During pregnancy, you are prone to dental problems such as cavities, gingivitis, and more. The antioxidant catechin, present in green tea, has the power to destroy the bacteria and virus causing some of these issues (10).

4. Resolves skin problems:

Acne and breakouts are common due to the hormonal changes in pregnancy. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea will help reduce these skin problems (11).

5. Alleviates mood swings:

Antioxidants in green tea increase the metabolism rate, which works in countering mood swings during pregnancy. Also, the amino acid called theanine in green tea provides relaxing effects, helping treat mood swings (12).

6. Boosts immune system:

Green tea stimulates the body’s ‘T cells’, which play a key role in improving immunity and fighting off common and mild illnesses (13).

Before you prepare a big cup of green tea and sit down to drink, you may want to know about its side effects, if any.

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[ Read: Effects Of Caffeine During Pregnancy ]

Are There Any Side Effects Of Drinking Green Tea While Pregnant?

Along with the benefits, green tea can also cause some side effects if consumed in excess.

  • Consumption of excessive amounts of green tea may affect the iron absorption ability of red blood cells (14). It can, therefore, lead to gestational anemia, hampering the oxygen and nutrient supply to the baby.
  • Green tea also inhibits absorption of folic acid, which is very important during pregnancy (15). Folic acid is essential during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to prevent neural birth defects in babies.
  • With a progressing pregnancy, the body’s ability to break down caffeine decreases. So green tea can affect the sleep pattern, which in turn could lead to heart issues (16).

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Which Variety Of Green Tea Is Safe During Pregnancy – Organic, Decaf Or Matcha?

All three varieties of green tea can be safely consumed during pregnancy, although in limited quantities. Also, daily caffeine intake should not exceed 200mg a day.

  • Organic green tea is a certified tea that has been extracted from the plants grown using natural farming methods, without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Decaf green tea has relatively less caffeine content, compared to the standard green tea.
  • Matcha green tea is made from the finest green tea leaves that are rich in antioxidants. The stems and veins are removed and then ground to fine powder. You can have up to no more than one cup a day of this tea since it is more concentrated than regular green tea.

Picking the right tea is just the first step. Brewing it right and drinking it at the right time makes all the difference.

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Tips For Drinking Green Tea While Pregnant

Here are a few things to remember while having green tea:

  • Do not drink on an empty stomach because green tea contains tannins that may cause acidity, further leading to nausea, constipation, and stomachache.
  • Do not have it along with meals as it may dilute the gastric juices and hampers the absorption of iron from food.
  • Maintain a gap of at least two hours between meals and green tea.
  • Do not have more than two cups of green tea a day.
  • Do not drink green tea before bedtime or late afternoon as it might affect your sleep.
  • Buy a properly packaged tea from a reputable brand or seller.
  • Use filtered water to make green tea.

Next, we answer a few common questions about green tea in pregnancy.

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[ Read: Kombucha During Pregnancy ]

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it safe to drink green tea early in pregnancy?

It is safe to consume small amounts of green tea in the initial stages of pregnancy. Overconsumption can inhibit your body’s ability to absorb folic acid, (17) which can increase the risk of congenital disabilities in babies.

2. Is it safe to consume green tea extracts while pregnant?

Consumption of green tea extracts during pregnancy is not recommended as it contains highly concentrated amounts of caffeine and other components. The extracts are available in the form of capsule or powder, with a level of caffeine that is too high and potentially harmful during pregnancy.

3. Can you drink green tea for burning fat during pregnancy?

It is not at all safe to have green tea for burning fat during pregnancy because not only does it affect your nutritional intake, but also denies your fetus the required energy for growth.

4. Is it okay to take green tea pills while pregnant?

Green tea pills are not safe during pregnancy as they speed up metabolism and may prevent the body from retaining nutrients. They are also highly concentrated, which may lead to excessive caffeine intake.

Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can have during pregnancy. But do not overindulge in it to avoid the complications. How much you benefit from green tea also depends on the quality and frequency of consumption. Take your doctor’s advice before you decide whether or not to have green tea.

[ Read: Healthy Drinks For Pregnant Women ]

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Have you been having green tea when pregnant? Tell us about your experience and share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Claudia Wilson

Claudia Wilson is a registered dietitian/ nutritionist, a Board Certified Specialist in Sports Nutrition (CSSD), and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). She founded ALL of NUTRITION and authored ONE-TWO PUNCH. She holds a BS in Public Health and an MS in Nutrition. Claudia spent 10 years as sports nutritionist for the University of Utah Athletic Department and in... more

Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She has been into health and wellness writing since 2010. She received her graduate degree in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig... more