As a man, I have no personal experience here.
But I think I can safely say that being pregnant is hard.
And on top of everything else, you have to completely change what you eat and drink.
Does that mean you have to give up green tea? Or can you still drink green tea during pregnancy?
As is usually the case, the answer is: it depends.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about green tea and pregnancy, including how much you can safely have and what possible negative effects it could cause if you have too much.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Green Tea Safe During Pregnancy?
- 2 Possible Side Effects Of Drinking Green Tea While Pregnant
- 3 Can Green Tea Affect Fertility?
- 4 What Tea Is Safe During Pregnancy?
- 5 What Is The Best Drink During Pregnancy?
- 6 Green Tea And Pregnancy: Final Thoughts
Is Green Tea Safe During Pregnancy?
Green tea is generally safe during pregnancy, because it contains much less caffeine than coffee and also less than some other teas.
However, drinking too much green tea could affect folic acid absorption, since the catechins in green tea prevent the intestinal cells from absorbing folate.
For that reason, pregnant women should limit their intake of green tea to less than 3 cups per day.
5 Reasons Green Tea Is Safe To Drink While Pregnant
Here are the main reasons green teas, in moderation, are a healthy beverage for pregnant women.
Low Caffeine Content
The experts from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that pregnant women limit their daily caffeine intake to about 200 mg per day to avoid maternal risks.
One cup (8 ounces) of green tea contains around 40 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, one cup of black coffee contains almost 100 mg of caffeine.
This indicates that pregnant women could drink green tea instead of coffee, if they are trying to limit their caffeine intake.
Provides A Boost Of Antioxidants
Another reason pregnant women can have green tea is because of its numerous health benefits. The antioxidants in green tea can boost immunity by increasing the body’s T-cells. This can prevent common colds and other infections.
May Help Maintain Normal Blood Pressure
The polyphenols in green tea could reduce systolic blood pressure and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
Can Help Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels
Green tea extracts are also known to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and could reduce the risk of gestational diabetes in pregnant women. It can also help maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity.
Green tea can also promote relaxation and calmness due to its L-theanine amino acid. This amino acid is beneficial for reducing stress and anxiety and can uplift the mood.
Possible Side Effects Of Drinking Green Tea While Pregnant
Of course, green tea could also cause some issues for pregnant women. This is especially true if you drink a lot of it.
Could Hamper Folate Absorption
One of the main side effects of having too much green tea (more than four cups a day) during pregnancy is that it could hinder the ability of the intestinal cells to absorb folate or folic acid. This can be harmful to the fetus, which needs folate for development.
Not Suitable For Women Taking Iron Supplements
According to Professor Matam Vijay Kumar of Penn State University, pairing green tea with iron-rich foods or iron supplements could cause the tea to lose its antioxidant benefits.
The compounds in green tea bind with the iron and lose their effectiveness as antioxidants. Therefore, it is best not to drink green tea right after taking iron pills or having an iron-rich meal.
Could Cause Acid Reflux And Nausea
Some women experience nausea and acid reflux after having green tea, especially on an empty stomach.
Expecting mothers with morning sickness may also find that green tea worsens their nausea, burping, gas, and acid reflux. These effects could be due to the tea’s caffeine content.
You can prevent these side effects by eating a light snack before drinking green tea. All of the same goes for women on their periods. Green tea can magnify symptoms, if drunk in excess.
Could Result In Caffeine-Related Effects
Green tea can also cause jitteriness, anxiety, tremors, insomnia, etc. in women who are sensitive to caffeine. If that is the case, it is important to limit your consumption of this beverage. And especially matcha green tea, which contains much more caffeine than other types. There are plenty of great alternatives to green tea that do not contain caffeine.
Can Green Tea Affect Fertility?
Nancy Dunne, the author of The Natural Diet Solution for PCOS and Infertility, recommends green tea as a better choice of beverage for women with fertility issues like PCOS. Here are the reasons for her recommendation.
- Curbs estrogen dominance: Women with PCOS have estrogen dominance, which contributes to infertility and can also increase the risk of cancer. Green tea drinkers have lower levels of estrogen, as shown by studies.
- Aids in diabetes prevention: Women with PCOS tend to have diabetes due to oxidative stress. Green tea, with its high antioxidant levels, can help slow down the oxidative process.
- Reduces male hormones: Women with PCOS and fertility issues often have excessive levels of male hormones. Studies have shown that green tea can lower the levels of free testosterone, which could improve their chances of conceiving.
Other fertility experts, like Dr. Christina Burns, author of the book The Ultimate Fertility Guidebook, also recommend green tea to women to “cool down” their systems and fight inflammation – one of the causes of infertility.
Dr. Burns also recommends green tea for weight control, curbing excess hunger, managing insulin resistance, and maintaining regularity of bowel movements for improved fertility and overall well-being.
What Tea Is Safe During Pregnancy?
There are a lot of safe teas for pregnant women, especially many herbal teas. Here are some safe teas to drink during pregnancy.
Chamomile tea is soothing, relaxing, and calming. Having a cup of chamomile tea in the evening can promote sound sleep. Women who are allergic to ragweed should avoid chamomile tea.
Both spearmint and peppermint teas are safe to drink during pregnancy. These teas have been used for centuries to prevent nausea and morning sickness. Mint tea also supports digestive health and can prevent gas and burping, which are common in pregnancy.
Ginger tea is one of the safest teas to have during pregnancy and it is also recommended to prevent morning sickness. You can make ginger tea by steeping grated ginger root in hot water. Sweeten it with honey and add a dash of lemon juice.
Raspberry tea is a uterine relaxant and women drink it to induce delayed labor in the last month of pregnancy. It can also lessen labor pains. However, please confirm with your doctor or midwife if raspberry tea is safe for you.
What Is The Best Drink During Pregnancy?
The best drink to drink during pregnancy is water. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that pregnant women drink between 8 and 12 cups, or 64 to 96 ounces, of water each day.
Water helps prevent dehydration and aids in digestion. It also forms the amniotic fluid around the fetus’s sac. Water is also needed for circulation and to carry beneficial nutrients throughout the body.
Women can also drink milk during pregnancy. Milk is necessary for maintaining bone health and it provides the mother and fetus with valuable protein and calcium. Women who are lactose intolerant can have dairy-free milk alternatives like soy, almond, etc.
Green Tea And Pregnancy: Final Thoughts
Green tea has a low enough caffeine content that you can safely drink green tea during pregnancy. In moderation, of course.
The same goes for after pregnancy. You can continue to drink green tea while you are breastfeeding. But the caffeine and other components in green tea affect different people differently. You should always consult with your doctor about any dietary concerns when pregnant and when breastfeeding.