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Herbal Teas and Pregnancy: Is it safe to drink herbal teas during pregnancy?

The list of things that women should and shouldn’t eat or drink during pregnancy can be confusing and hard to keep track of.  Like most pregnant women you want to steer clear of consuming anything that is not safe for pregnancy.  You know caffeine is something you should avoid or at the very least limit.  To help ditch the coffee cravings, you decide to turn to herbal teas.  But, are herbal teas safe to drink during pregnancy or are they another no-no.

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Herbs and pregnancy

Unfortunately, there is just not a lot of information out there on the safety of herbs during pregnancy.  The FDA advises women to avoid taking herbs during pregnancy because they are just not sure if they are safe.  There has not been enough research done on herbs and pregnancy to safely say that it is okay to drink herbal teas during pregnancy.

Are any herbal teas safe to drink?

While the FDA cautions women to avoid herbal teas during pregnancy, midwives and other pregnancy professionals sometimes recommend them.  Before drinking any herbal teas, do your own research.  Most of the brand name herbal teas such as peppermint tea, lemon tea, or ginger root tea, that you might find in your grocery store are probably safe to drink during pregnancy provided that you are not drinking them in large quantities. 

“Pregnancy teas”

There are several teas on the market that are made just for pregnant women.  While they may be safe to drink during pregnancy, like other herbal teas, there is just not enough information to support these claims.  They may be safe to drink during pregnancy but we just don’t know that for sure.  Before drinking teas marketed for pregnancy you may want to read over the ingredients first or consult your doctor or midwife.

Is green tea safe?

Green tea is another popular tea that pregnant women wonder about, but it is not actually an herbal tea.  If you have decided to drink green tea instead of caffeinated teas or coffees, keep in mind that it is not considered an herbal tea and it is not caffeine-free.  There is some debate over whether or not it is safe to drink during pregnancy.  There is some evidence that green tea may decrease folic acid absorption.  Folic acid is important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube birth defects.  To be on the safe side, you may want to avoid green teas during pregnancy or be cautious with the amount of green tea that you drink.

What about red raspberry leaf tea?

You may have heard that red raspberry leaf tea helps tone your uterus and prepare your body for labor.  Some midwives encourage pregnant women to drink raspberry leaf tea at the end of their pregnancies to make labor and delivery easier, but the benefits of raspberry leaf tea have not been proven.  Pregnant women may want to stay away from raspberry leaf tea during the first trimester because of its potential to stimulate uterine contractions.

Herbal teas to avoid during pregnancy

Here is a list of herbal teas that may be unsafe to drink during pregnancy.  Before drinking any of the teas on this list you may want to consult your doctor or midwife.

Herbal teas that contain:

Alfalfa
Angelica
Anise
Blessed Thistle
Black Cohosh
Blue Cohosh
Catnip
Chamomile
Dandelion
Comfrey
Ephedra
Ginseng
Hibiscus
Horehound
Labrador
Lemongrass
Licorice root
Mugwart

Pennyroyal
Raspberry leaf
Rosemary safe
Sassafras
Stinging nettle leaf
Veviter
Vitex
Yarrow
Yellow Dock

*This list is not comprehensive.


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