*Please note this post is purely for entertainment and should not be taken as medical advice. For medical advice please consult your doctor.
So you’re a tea drinker and are thinking about or have become pregnant. Congrats! If you’re like me you’ll google “tea and pregnancy” and then get hit with a lot of conflicting information. Like all pregnancy advice, you need to take it all with a grain of salt and see what will work for you. I’m a middle of the road kind of girl when it comes to pregnancy guidelines. I’m not ultra conservative but I also didn’t disregard many rules. I hope this helps you decide how much salt you personally should add to my advice.
Black caffeinated tea
Black tea (along with other caffeinated beverages) is generally regarded as safe in limited quantities while pregnant and nursing. I’ve met plenty of women who gave up caffeine entirely while pregnant. If that works for you, cool. Me? I was tired and wanted a little pick me up here and there. My midwife said that up to 200 milligrams of caffeine/day was safe in pregnancy. To give you an example: a can of soda is about 50mg, a small regular coffee 100-140 mg, and black tea is between 50-100mg depending on type & length of time steeped. (Don’t forget to count any chocolate you eat in your daily caffeine total — about 50mg for a bar of chocolate)
If you want to cut the caffeine content of tea I had a doula recommend a quick rinse. Pour boiling water to juts cover the tea. Swirl for 10 seconds. Dump that water and then steep as usual. This can cut as much as 90% of the caffeine and for me still resulted in a much more flavorful tea than most decaffeinated black teas.
As far as nursing goes, I’m told that every baby is different. I haven’t seen any affect of caffeine on either of my infants but if you notice that baby has trouble sleeping or is spitting up more after you caffeinate, you may want to cut back.
Decaffeinated black tea
For me these were a huge disappointment. With every decaf black tea I tried I noticed a lack of flavor. If you do try decaf, you should check to see how it is decaffeinated. Many decaf teas use a chemical process to remove caffeine, yuck! For this reason I only recommend organic decaf teas.
Most safe herbal teas are safe in small quantities. I was told I would have to drink a gallon or two to ingest enough herbs to see and effect. However there are some teas that are important to avoid such as diet/detox teas. Marigold and Rose Hips are also listed as to be avoided, but again, from when I’ve been told you’d need to drink a whole lot to ingest enough of the herb to be a problem. Some herbal teas are good for pregnancy side effects. Try ginger or mint for morning sickness and acid reflux.
One herbal tea in particular, Raspberry leaf tea, is often talked about in regards to pregnancy. There is varied advice on the consumption of this tea. I’ve read to drink it for the entire final trimester for an easier labor as it ‘tones’ the uterus. I’ve also heard that since it can cause contractions in late pregnancy to only drink it after 37/38 weeks. Honestly, it tastes like twigs. Drink it at the end of pregnancy to try and move things along but in my opinion it’s not worth drinking a lot of! Also, I steeped it mixed with black tea to hide the taste.
When it comes to nursing, too much mint can negatively affect your milk supply so avoid mint teas if you’re trying to build or maintain your milk supply.