The use of tea and other medicinal herbs to improve health and treat diseases dates back to the beginning of humanity.
Medicinal herbs are totally natural, but they are precisely medicinal because they contain components with pharmacological properties. Therefore, its effects must be monitored, especially in a situation as delicate as a pregnancy.
Teas and pregnancy
All types of tea are made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis. Black tea, green, red, oolong … are variants obtained through different processes starting from the same raw material.
For this reason, it is generally possible to talk about the benefits and contraindications of tea for pregnant women without taking into account specific varieties.
A good source of hydration, but…
Hydration is especially important during pregnancy.
It is recommended to increase fluid intake to compensate for the needs of weight gain, increased energy consumption and processes that occur during pregnancy such as the production of amniotic fluid or an increase in blood volume.
Also think that if you suffer from dizziness and vomiting, it will be necessary to recover lost fluids. Listen to your body and pay attention to thirst. A good way to know if you need to drink more is to look at the color of your urine, it should be pale and transparent. If it is dark, you should drink more.
Tea and infusions are often recommended as a source of hydration, since they are natural drinks that provide healthy nutritional components and do not have calories (unless you add sugar, of course!). Now, during pregnancy it is necessary to take into account some important considerations that we describe in the next section.
The dangers of caffeine during pregnancy
Caffeine is a stimulant that can be found in coffee, tea and other vegetables such as cocoa, guarana or yerba mate.
Caffeine reaches your baby through the placenta and amniotic fluid. Although you can metabolize it quickly, the process is slower in the fetus, so it is exposed to its effects much longer.
Your cup of tea contains, as a general rule, less caffeine than coffee. The caffeine in tea is absorbed differently from coffee and has milder, longer-lasting stimulating effects for most people. Either way, tea is still a major source of caffeine that you need to watch out for, especially during pregnancy.
It recommends limiting caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day. This is difficult to calculate because it depends on factors such as the type of tea and the brewing time, but the easy rule of thumb would be a couple of cups of tea per day.
You don’t need to completely eliminate coffee and tea from your diet during pregnancy, but it’s important to be moderate. Excessive caffeine consumption is considered to exceed 300 milligrams daily. Continuing to have your cup of tea for breakfast is totally safe.
On the other hand, it may be a good time to decide to buy the decaf versions of your favorite teas. Another idea that probably comes to mind is to replace tea and coffee with infusions. We will see this part at the end of the article.
Tea and iron deficiency anemia
Iron deficiency anemia (iron deficiency anemia) is a common condition in pregnant women that can carry associated risks for the pregnancy and the baby.
This type of anemia can be avoided with a diet that includes nutrients such as iron, folate, and vitamins B12 and C. If you are pregnant, you will most likely have been recommended to take a vitamin supplement.
Consumed in large quantities, tea during pregnancy can interfere with iron absorption. The studies carried out do not consider this a problem for healthy people without risk of iron deficiency. However, in sensitive cases such as pregnancy, some measures must be observed.
As we have seen, iron deficiency anemia has a lot to do with diet.
The effect of tea on iron assimilation occurs if tea is drunk during meals. In situations of risk of iron deficiency, it is advisable to consume tea only separated from meals and wait at least 1 hour after eating before taking it.
Infusions during pregnancy
Beyond the world of teas, there are many infusions that have been used in traditional medicine to treat common conditions during pregnancy such as nausea, abdominal pain, flatulence or for their relaxing effects and to facilitate some aspects related to pregnancy Birth.
Medicinal herbs can be natural, but they contain pharmacologically active ingredients that should be taken into account. There are some infusions that can be harmful during pregnancy.
There is not much information on the effects of consuming herbal teas, generally speaking, during pregnancy and lactation. The recommendation, as always, is to drink them in moderation.
However, the world of infusions is wide and includes herbal preparations that can have negative effects on pregnant women. The first source of information that you should turn to in order to identify those infusions that are positive and those that are prohibited for your pregnancy is, without a doubt, your doctor or gynecologist.
Infusions to avoid
Pennyroyal is used to treat problems related to digestion and breathing, but its use is contraindicated during pregnancy due to its abortifacient properties.
There are studies that suggest that the intake of licorice during pregnancy can alter hormone levels and can lead to premature delivery.
It is recommended not to use it during pregnancy due to its abortifacient properties.
Although, at the moment, there is no definitive scientific evidence, it is recommended not to use it during pregnancy due to its abortifacient properties. Thyme stimulates menstruation and induces abortion.
It is recommended to avoid it during pregnancy. In some cases, eucalyptus can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Ginger infusion is used to treat nausea and heavy digestion. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used as a remedy for colds and sore throats. No detrimental effects on pregnancy have been found.
Peppermint is often used during pregnancy to control heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. Peppermint tea is generally considered safe for consumption during pregnancy. However, it is true that it has been studied that high doses can trigger menstruation and cause abortion.
Anise can be used, in normal doses, safely during pregnancy. Anise is believed to have estrogen-like activity, but there is no scientific evidence to support this.
Chamomile infusion stimulates the digestive system. It also has antispasmodic effects. Chamomile can be consumed during pregnancy in moderation. In large doses it can have uterine-stimulating effects.
As you have seen, pregnancy and lactation are not the best times to drink teas and infusions, but you can do so as long as you do it in moderation and pay attention to exactly what you drink.
The main problem with tea and coffee during pregnancy is caffeine, so it has a very easy solution. If you’re a tea addict, we recommend switching to caffeine-free versions of your favorites.
Seek advice from a specialist whenever you need it to have information on what you can take and in what dose. No one knows your pregnancy like your doctor.