I spent a lot of time reading tea labels when I was pregnant with Lily. I was often over at my mother-in-law’s and we’d decide we wanted a cup of tea. Then I’d rustle through the tins, boxes and jars of tea in her cupboard, searching for one that fit our mood—and my pregnant state. At work, Starbucks had just introduced their new line of teas and all of us baristas were supposed to be sampling and promoting them. But most of the teas contained ingredients that weren’t safe for me to drink while pregnant.
I’ve been surprised by how many of my friends have offered me herbal tea instead of coffee when I’m pregnant. They’re aware that caffeine isn’t the greatest for the baby, but don’t realize that some teas should be avoided too. Here’s what I’ve learned about drinking coffee and tea during pregnancy.
Coffee and Pregnancy
Studies have shown that consuming too much caffeine during pregnancy can cause either miscarriage or low birth weights. Caffeine acts a stimulant, which increases your heart rate and metabolism—and your baby’s. Too much of that can be bad for the baby.
However, one or two cups of coffee a day is okay. If you like more coffee than that, try switching to decaf coffee instead. For more details, check out “Caffeine and Pregnancy: What’s Safe?”
Tea and Pregnancy
Black, green, and oolong teas contain caffeine, although not as much as coffee, so they should be consumed in moderation. Green tea can prevent your body from absorbing folic acid and iron, important nutrients for pregnant moms.
Herbal teas do not have caffeine, but herbs have their own medicinal properties which may cause miscarriage or affect your unborn baby. The BabyCenter explains that “only a few of the herbs used for teas have been studied in pregnant women.” If you have a favourite tea, ask your prenatal care provider if it’s okay to keep drinking that. The Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding herbal teas during pregnancy, so you may be safer to just have one or two cups of regular tea or find a different drink.
Herbs you will probably want to avoid during pregnancy include passion flower, goldenseal, black and blue cohosh (unless recommended by your midwife to induce labour), chamomile, hibiscus (a common ingredient in many teas), lemongrass, licorice root and evening primrose.
Teas that are helpful during pregnancy include ginger and mint teas, which may reduce morning sickness, and rooibos tea, which is caffeine-free and antioxidant. (Even so, check the ingredients; the rooibos tea in my cupboard also has licorice root and chamomile in it, two herbs which fall on the “may be unsafe” list.) You can also look for teas blended specifically for pregnant women.
Drinking Coffee and Tea During Pregnancy
In the end, it comes down to what you think is best for you and your baby. My first midwife recommended raspberry leaf to me for strengthening the uterus; other health experts advise avoiding raspberry leaf tea because it can cause uterine contractions and miscarriage. Personally, I prefer coffee over tea, but I’ll probably still limit myself to a cup a day—and keep reading tea labels.
As Marissa from Just Simply Mom says, “Most things in moderation should be ok. It will do more harm to our emotional and mental well-being to rid our lives of all potentially harmful products so it’s best to use anything in moderation.”
Are you a big coffee or tea drinker? Did you keep drinking coffee and tea during pregnancy?
Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert; I am simply sharing my opinions based on what I’ve learned in my research from pregnancy and baby websites. I encourage you to do your own research.
Love this post? It’s one of 38 chapters in Beginner’s Guide to Growing Baby: Tips to Help You Through All Four Trimesters, a book about pregnancy, birth, and baby’s first three months. Written with my good friend Anna Eastland (mom of 9 kids!), Beginner’s Guide to Growing Baby is an honest, practical look at pregnancy and beyond. We share what’s worked for us in growing, birthing and loving thirteen babies.
Beginner’s Guide to Growing Baby is available on Amazon.
I love BOTH and the Raspberry Leaf Tea is amazing.
Interesting post! I love reading your pregnancy posts because it’s been almost 5 years since I was, and it’s fun to remember. 🙂
I was so careful with my first, but this time around I am just taking everything in moderation.
I don’t dink much coffee anyways so no worries that way
Oh wow, I had no idea! My sister is trying to get pregnant right now and this is good info to pass on to her. Thank you!
I tried to drink as much decaf stuff as possible, when I wanted coffee or tea. I also tried to drink as much water as I could, and found myself often craving fruit juices and such! My Dr said one to two cups of coffee a day was fine (I didn’t even drink a cup a day while pregnant), so I didn’t fret when I really needed a cup of coffee with caffeine. I did try to do my best, I figured that it was only going to be 9 months, and I wanted to do what was best for my baby!
I don’t drink coffee at all…never have, but I am a HUGE tea lover 🙂 I love green tea, red rose tea, and when I was pregnant I tried Roiboos but found it just wasn’t the same as what I was used to lol
Jennifer – I agree; when you put it in perspective, most of us can put up with something for nine months. 🙂
Mama Ash – I’d imagine it’s even more important with twins, as they are generally smaller anyway. I hadn’t thought of that.
Sippy Cups and Pearls – interesting! I’ve seen conflicting information regarding tea, but most places I’ve looked say the same thing about coffee. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.
My dr said there was absolutely proof caffeine affects a baby – I get so confused. lol. halfway through my pregnancy is when I stopped drinking cokes and my dr asked why – I told him because of what ppl had said…I told him I was getting headaches from not having caffeine and he told me to go get a coke and then told me a lot of dr’s just try and scare you….either way, I dont drink as many cokes and wont when I’m pregnant but I definitely have SOME! lol. by the way, newest follower from the mommy moments link up!
Too funny, I have a similar post coming up as I am pregnant with twins and am a guilty coffee lover.
Great post and great tips.
I have had coffee with this pregnancy but with the low birth rate tip mentioned I may just say good bye til they come.
I totally remember how frustrating getting a hot drink was and how sick I was of Ginger, Mint and Roiboos by the time I delivered! lol
I don’t remember avoiding tea or coffee during being pregnant but more so because I didn’t drink it much anyway. I am a BIG tea drinker now but a boring Old Pekoe kinda gal.
When I was pregnant I would try to limit what I drank – maybe a cup of coffee a couple times a week. I drink a cup of coffee every day, so I did really miss it.