When you are expecting a baby, it is only natural to have concerns over what you should and should not be eating and drinking. Can I drink tea while pregnant? This is a common question amongst expectant mothers. So is it safe to drink tea and coffee during pregnancy?
The big concern with drinking tea during pregnancy relates to the levels of caffeine found in tea. A regular cup of tea has around 75mg of caffeine compared to around 100mg found in a cup of instant coffee and 140mg in a cup of filter coffee. The level of caffeine in tea is lower than that found in coffee, but if you drink lots of tea during a typical day, it can still add up to more caffeine that is considered safe.
Can I drink tea while pregnant?
Studies have shown that a high intake of caffeine during pregnancy can have a number of harmful effects. Women who ingest more than 200mg of caffeine per day are at a higher risk of suffering a miscarriage or giving birth to a low birth weight baby, which means the baby is at greater risk of having health problems after birth.
Because caffeine is found in more than just tea and coffee, it is essential to be aware of how much caffeine you might be consuming each day. Energy drinks such as cola all contain high levels of caffeine, as does chocolate, so be very careful about taking these into account to ensure you are not inadvertently consuming more caffeine than is good for you and the baby.
A can of cola typically contains around 40mg of caffeine and a small bar of plain chocolate contains around 50mg of caffeine. Milk chocolate contains less caffeine and a small bar amounts to approximately 25mg.
If you cannot bear the idea of giving up tea and coffee for the duration of your pregnancy, there are alternatives you might like to consider such as caffeine-free tea and coffee, or herbal teas. However, whilst many herbal and fruit teas are caffeine free, always read the list in ingredients to make doubly sure there is no caffeine in the tea.
Many people enjoy drinking green tea as a healthy alternative to regular tea, but whilst it contains lots of antioxidants, it does contain caffeine. A cup of green tea has a caffeine content of around 50mg, which means just four cups will push you to the caffeine limit.
Can I drink tea while pregnant and what effect does it have on the baby?
One or two cups of tea a day will do you no harm, but caffeine in excess will have an adverse effect on your heart rate and metabolism in general. Caffeine gives us energy, which is why it is often found in sports and energy drinks. A dose of caffeine is great for keeping you wide-awake when you have a long night ahead of you, but it also has the same effect on your unborn baby—so if you overdo the tea you can expect your baby to feel very unsettled inside you.
Caffeine also has a diuretic effect on the body, so if you drink too much tea, you can look forward to making regular trips to the toilet—and when you are pregnant, this effect is doubled!