Best Pregnancy Teas: What Teas Are Safe to Drink and What Aren’t?

Several pregnant women’s favorite stress buster is a warm cup of tea. It is one of the most popular beverages that women enjoy during pregnancy. Some consider tea a mood lifter while others have it as a natural remedy for pregnancy symptoms.

But, is it safe to drink tea while pregnant? 

While many women believe tea is safe to consume during pregnancy, limiting their intake and even avoiding some is best. 

This article explores the best pregnancy teas and the ones you must avoid.  


Is It Safe to Drink Tea During Pregnancy: Herbal vs. Non-Herbal Teas

Is It Safe to Drink Tea During Pregnancy: Herbal vs. Non-Herbal Teas

Image source: Healthline

Drinking tea in limited quantities is safe during pregnancy. However, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a consistent link between tea caffeine and adverse birth outcomes (1).

The data revealed that the risk of delivering babies with significantly low birth weight or short gestational age at birth is two times higher in the women with the highest caffeine consumption. Additionally, research also suggests that caffeine consumption is linked to other adverse pregnancy outcomes like the baby’s lower IQ (2). 


Should pregnant women abstain from caffeine consumption?

Studies suggest a link between adverse pregnancy outcomes and caffeine consumption, but they do not prove that caffeine causes the outcomes. Until there is more conclusive evidence, it is wiser to limit caffeine intake (200 mg per day) during pregnancy or opt for herbal teas that are naturally caffeine-free and deemed safe for consumption. 


Consumption of Herbal Teas During Pregnancy

Most herbal teas do not contain caffeine and are generally safe to consume during pregnancy. For instance, women consume teas like red raspberry leaf tea to ease early pregnancy cramps vs. menstrual cramps (3).

But, a 2021 review of 13 studies from 1941 to 2016 concluded that while several pregnant women drink raspberry leaf tea to ease child delivery, there’s no solid scientific evidence to back it up. So, it is recommended to consult with healthcare providers before consuming herbal teas during pregnancy (4). 


Herbal vs. Non-Herbal – The Safer Option

Non-herbal teas like black, green, and oolong tea contain antioxidants beneficial for pregnancy to some extent as they help reduce oxidative stress. But non-herbal teas also contain caffeine which can increase the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage. (5, 6, 7)

Similarly, though herbal teas are a safer option for pregnant women, some, such as motherwort, borage, lovage, and frankincense, should be avoided during pregnancy. 


Herbal Teas

Non-herbal Teas

What are teas made from?

Made from leaves, roots, stems, bark, flowers, and seeds

Most teas (black, white, green teas) are made from Camellia Sinensis plant leaves

Do they contain caffeine?

Genuine herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free

Contains antioxidants and varying amounts of caffeine (an average cup of non-herbal tea contains 50-60mg of caffeine)

Which teas are safe for consumption during pregnancy?

Ginger, lemon balm, raspberry leaf tea, etc. can be consumed during pregnancy with prior advice from healthcare providers

Black, green, oolong teas and decaffeinated teas can be consumed during pregnancy with prior advice from healthcare providers

Which teas must be avoided during pregnancy?

Avoid consuming Borage (8) as it may increase the risk of birth defects. Similarly, blue & black cohosh may increase risks of preterm labor and miscarriage (9)

All non-herbal teas can be consumed but in limited quantities (less than 200mg per day)



Best 5 Teas Safe for Pregnancy 

The following best teas for pregnancy are considered safe when consumed in moderation:


Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is one of the best pregnancy teas, especially during the first trimester. It helps manage morning sickness and prevents nausea and vomiting (10). Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties help with muscle pain and reduce pregnancy vs. menstrual cramps. It contains gingerol, which boosts immunity, aids digestion and regulates blood sugar levels (11 12 13 14)


Side Effects & Dosage

  • Though there are no major side effects of ginger tea on pregnant women, it might cause allergic reactions in rare cases.
  • Excessive consumption might lead to bloating and heartburn. Pregnant women are advised to not exceed 950ml of ginger per day. 
  • Pregnant women with a history of vaginal bleeding should be cautious of the anticoagulant effects of ginger. Consulting with a healthcare provider before the consumption of ginger is highly recommended in such cases (15).

    Peppermint Tea

    Peppermint tea is another best pregnancy tea. The leaf contains menthol and methyl salicylate, which have calming effects on the gastrointestinal tract 16. Peppermint tea helps with digestion, soothes bloating and upset stomachs, and aids nausea and vomiting 17. It is also known for its breast milk enhancer effects 18.


     Side Effects & Dosage

    • Excessive consumption of peppermint tea can result in diarrhea, nausea, or heartburn in pregnant women 19
    • In a few cases, there might be some allergic reactions to peppermint tea. So, checking the ingredients list and consulting with a healthcare provider before consumption is essential. 
    • Overall, peppermint tea is safe to consume during pregnancy. Though there are no dosage guidelines, it is recommended to limit consumption to one or two cups daily.

      Lemon balm Tea

      Lemon balm is considered one of the best pregnancy teas. It contains an ethanolic extract with calming effects and is commonly used to relieve symptoms like insomnia, anxiety, and irritability in pregnant women 20. However, there is limited evidence of lemon balm’s effectiveness and safety during pregnancy. 

      Lemon balm Tea

      Image source: Full Leaf Tea Co.


       Side Effects & Dosage

      • Lemon balm tea is likely safe when consumed in limited quantities. It is safe to consume 300 to 500mg daily for up to 6 months.
      • Lemon balm's side effects are generally mild and might include increased appetite, nausea, and dizziness 21
      • Lemon balm may also interact with thyroid medicine 22, decreasing the thyroid hormone's effectiveness. So, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider if you’re on thyroid medication.

         Green Tea

        Green tea works effectively for cramps. Be it menstrual cramps vs. pregnancy cramps, green tea contains L-theanine 23 which can help manage and relieve pain. Green tea also contains a high concentration of antioxidants that help improve maternal metabolism 24, manage unbalanced oxidative stress 25, and improve overall health during pregnancy.


        Side Effects & Dosage
        • 8oz of green tea contains around 24 to 45mg of caffeine which might interfere with the baby’s development and even lead to miscarriage or stillbirth if taken in excess 26.
        • The caffeine in green tea also reduces sleep which might impact blood pressure and heart rates. 
        • If consumed in excess, green tea can lower folate levels 27 which is essential for proper fetus development. 
        • It is recommended that green tea consumption be limited to less than 200mg per day during pregnancy. For best results, consult a healthcare practitioner. 

          Raspberry Leaf Tea 

          Raspberry leaf tea has been a popular natural pregnancy remedy for decades. It is also effectively used to manage pregnancy vs. menstrual cramps in PCOS. Raspberry leaf tea is known for its potential benefits 28 in strengthening the uterus, reducing labor time, and helping with smoother deliveries 29. The herbal tea also helps ease early pregnancy symptoms like nausea and vomiting. 30

          Image source: Herbal Hermit


          Side Effects & Dosage
          • Raspberry leaf tea is generally safe but may have laxative properties 31 that could cause upset stomach in certain people. Additionally, raspberry leaf tea might have diuretic effects leading to an increased risk of dehydration
          • Though there are no guidelines on dosage, sticking to 237 ml of raspberry leaf tea per day during the first trimester and 237–710 ml per day during the second and third trimesters is recommended.
          • After consulting a healthcare provider, it is advised to start consuming raspberry leaf tea at 32 weeks pregnant 32.

          Best teas for pregnancy


          Side effects

          Ginger tea

          ·        Reduces cramps

          ·        Boosts immunity

          ·        Helps with morning sickness

          ·        Bloating and heartburn

          ·        Allergic reactions

          ·        Bleeding disorder

          Peppermint tea

          ·        Helps with digestion and bloating

          ·        Aids nausea

          ·        Breast milk enhancer

          ·        Heartburn

          ·        Allergic reactions

          Lemon balm tea

          ·        Reduces insomnia, anxiety, and irritability

          ·        Nausea

          ·        Dizziness

          ·        Increased appetite

          Green tea

          ·        Manages and relieves pain

          ·        Improves maternal metabolism

          ·        Aids oxidative stress

          ·        Reduces sleep

          ·        May interfere with fetal growth


          Raspberry leaf tea

          ·        Reduces labor time

          ·        Strengthens uterus

          ·        Eases nausea and vomiting

          ·        Stomach upset

          ·        Dehydration



          Teas to Avoid During Pregnancy

          The following are the herbal teas to avoid during pregnancy:


          Chamomile Tea 

          While chamomile tea effectively induces a good night’s sleep, it is better to avoid consuming it during pregnancy. Chamomile is known to have potential uterine-stimulating effects 33 that can lead to early labor and preterm birth, resulting in shorter and low weight newborns. It is best to consult a healthcare provider before consuming chamomile tea during pregnancy.


          Licorice Tea 

          Licorice tea is not recommended during pregnancy as there are potential risks associated with it. The herbal tea, if consumed in large quantities, can have negative cognitive effects on children and lead to conditions like ADHD. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin which can increase blood pressure and interfere with fetal development 34. Additionally, licorice may also reduce the effects of blood pressure drugs and diuretics 35 (water pills).


          Thyme Tea 

          Avoid consuming thyme in large quantities during early pregnancy as it increases the potential risk of miscarriage 36. A study conducted by Norwegian and Canadian scientists on 9000 pregnant women showed that thyme contains esoteric oils that can increase the risk of uterine contractions if consumed in large quantities 37. Consult a healthcare provider before consuming thyme or avoid thyme tea altogether due to the limited evidence of its effects.


          Sage Tea 

          Sage is considered unsafe during pregnancy and lactation due to its potential impact on the uterus. Studies indicate that a compound in sage, thujone, can induce contractions leading to preterm labor or miscarriage and affect the menstrual cycle as well 38. Sage also has a blood-pressure-increasing effect that can cause premature separation of the placenta resulting in heavy bleeding and pregnancy complications 39

          Image source: verywellfit


          Fennel Tea

          Fennel tea can support digestion and relieve constipation. However, it is not recommended as the best choice for pregnant women. Pregnant women should avoid fennel as it contains estragole which might be unsafe for babies if consumed in large quantities 40. Fennel tea can also alter estrogen levels 41, resulting in low fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. Though fennel helps increase breast milk secretion, excessive consumption of fennel tea can lead to decreased milk production 42. Also, pregnant women with bleeding disorders must avoid fennel tea 43.


          Fenugreek Tea 

          Fenugreek tea is best to avoid during pregnancy. Studies suggest a relationship between high consumption of fenugreek during pregnancy and increased risk of birth defects in both people and animals 44. Excess fenugreek consumption can induce strong uterine contractions leading to premature births, unusual body odor in babies, and even miscarriages 45. Fenugreek can also slow blood clotting resulting in excessive bleeding 46.


          Teas to avoid during pregnancy

          Potential risks

          Chamomile tea

          ·        Early labor

          ·        Preterm birth

          Licorice tea

          ·        Adverse cognitive effects on children

          ·        Negative impact on fetal development

          ·        Increased blood pressure

          Thyme tea

          ·        Uterine contractions

          ·        Miscarriage

          Sage tea

          ·        Preterm labor and miscarriage

          ·        Heavy bleeding

          ·        Pregnancy complications

          Fennel tea

          ·        Low fertility

          ·        Miscarriage

          ·        Decreased milk production

          ·        Excessive bleeding

          Fenugreek tea

          ·        Birth defects

          ·        Premature births and miscarriages

          ·        Unusual body odor in newborns



          Intake of Teas During Pregnancy: Dosage & Precautions

          Caffeinated teas like black, white, chai, and green tea are best avoided during pregnancy to prevent adverse effects on the fetus. But if you crave  tea, experts recommend limiting the daily caffeine intake to less than 200mg

          Herbal teas are generally safe as they are naturally caffeine-free but they should be consumed cautiously to avoid pregnancy complications. While ginger, peppermint, and raspberry tea are considered safe, fennel, fenugreek, sage, etc. can pose risks of miscarriage and preterm delivery if consumed in excess. 

          All in all, be it herbal teas or non-herbal teas, consumption in moderation is crucial during pregnancy. Excessive consumption of teas during pregnancy can lead to complications like poor gestational weight gain, low birth weight, and adverse neonatal outcomes 47. Consulting healthcare providers for guidance on tea consumption during pregnancy is highly recommended to ensure maternal and fetal well-being.


          Key Takeaways

          Despite the way tea calms pain and mood swings during pregnancy, excessive intake can cause potential risks

          Not all teas are safe for pregnant women. While caffeinated teas are safe when consumed in limited quantities, excess caffeine can lead to pregnancy complications. Similarly, only a few herbal teas like ginger, raspberry leaf, and lemon balm tea are potentially safe during pregnancy. The others are best avoided to prevent premature births and miscarriages. 

          So, add teas mindfully to your diet and limit consumption at all costs. Most importantly, consult a healthcare provider before incorporating teas into your regular pregnancy diet. 


          Is there just one specific best tea for pregnancy?

          Some recommended pregnancy teas include, such as peppermint, ginger, lemon balm, and raspberry leaf tea. However, the consumption of both herbal and non-herbal teas during pregnancy must be limited to one to two cups per day. 


          How often should one drink herbal tea for conception benefits? 

          Drinking one to two cups of herbal tea daily can help derive conception benefits. But herbal teas like fenugreek, sage, fennel, and chamomile are best avoided to prevent complications during pregnancy. 


          Can the benefit of herbal teas during pregnancy affect the baby’s health? 

          Herbal teas consumed in moderate quantities are likely to support pregnancy health. However, drinking larger quantities may increase the chances of premature birth and miscarriage. Also, excessive herbal tea consumption can impact fetal growth negatively.


          Can you consume various types of teas daily?

          Yes, it is generally considered safe to drink different types of herbal teas every day. However, limiting the intake to one or two cups per day is essential during pregnancy. Also, consult with a healthcare provider to prevent potential risks from excessive tea consumption. 


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