The March of Dimes recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (equal to about one 12-ounce cup of coffee a day). And some studies have found a link between caffeine and miscarriage.So, it might be time to ease off of the morning cups of coffee and even go easy on the black, green and white teas, which still contain caffeine.
Herbal teas, or tisanes might be a good choice - they are made from fresh or dried herbs, flowers, fruit, hips and spices and also from roots, berries and leaves from a variety of plants. Since they are not made from actual tea plant leaves they do not contain caffeine.
Herbal teas are known for relaxing the body, and many are high in vitamin C and rich in antioxidants – which protect the human body from damage by free radicals, providing some protection against cancer, heart disease and stroke.Herbal teas have also been known to nourish our nervous systems and strengthen our immune systems. Some can ease cold symptoms, calm the nerves and relieve nausea, motion or morning sickness, and dizziness.
It should be noted however that some herbal teas are not safe to drink during pregnancy. Chamomile tea, for instance, has been reported to have adverse effects on the uterus. Therefore chamomile tea should be avoided during pregnancy.
Take a pass on these herbs during pregnancy
When you are pregnant, active ingredients in some herbs can have adverse effects including:
* Stimulation of the uterus and cause uterine contractions * Acts as a diuretic and cause you to urinate often * Product toxic effects on your baby * Cause birth defects
This list includes, but is not limited to, herbs to stay away from during pregnancy:
Black and Blue Cohosh, Chamomile, Devil's Claw, Don Quai Ephedra, Fenugreek, Gentian, Ginseng, Hawthorne Licorice Root, Mother Wort, Nettle, Penny Royal Red Raspberry, Senna, Shepherd's Purse St. John’sWort, Yarrow
So what can you drink?
At this time, the list of "safe" herbal teas for pregnancy is very short. Most herbs have not been studied during pregnancy to prove they are completely harmless. The composition and preparation of herbal products vary. This makes it difficult to assess their safety. So far, Health Canadalists the following herbal teas to be generally safe if taken in moderation (2-3 cups per day). Herbal teas generally considered safe if taken in moderation (2-3 cups/day) include but are not limited to:
Citrus Peel Ginger Lemon balm Linden flower* Orange peel Rose hip
*Not recommended for persons with pre-existing cardiac conditions
Benefits of Rooibos
In South Africa, the drink of choice of expectant mothers is Rooibos tea.This caffeine-free herbal infusion has been shown to soothe the body's reaction to allergens and recent studies have shown that Rooibos tea may also have significant amounts of antioxidants (health-inducing compounds), comparable to those found in green tea.
Also, anaemia is a common problem during pregnancy or breastfeeding and unfortunately, many teas prevent your body from absorbing iron due to an ingredient called tannin. Rooibos teas contain low levels of tannins, so they are less likely to interfere with iron absorption.
Research by Japanese scientists has shown Rooibos tea to have beneficial effects relating to constipation, liver function, blood sugar levels, skin diseases, depression and anxiety. This tea may also have other stomach and indigestion benefits, possibly relieving nausea, vomiting, and heartburn.
Beware - Some Rooibos tea blends and variations contain other herbs (such as rosemary) which may not be recommended for pregnancy.Make sure you choose a pure tea or a pregnancy safe blend like babybellies LuminosiTEA which contains organic Rooibos, orange peel, bits of carrot, and vitamin C – yum!
Isn’t a cup of tea supposed to be a detoxifying experience?
Traditionally, in the old days, teabags were made from silk and muslin. Currently, teabags are mostly made from paper, produced from a blend of wood and vegetable (hemp) fibres. Both of these materials are usually chlorine-bleached, and as a result small amounts of toxic chlorine compounds (specifically dioxins) may end up in teabag paper.
To avoid chlorine toxicity some tea merchants use only teabags from oxygen-bleached (non-chlorine) teabag paper, completely non-bleached paper, or teabags from synthetic fibres; or are selling loose tea.
Good news? Since the early 1990’s, chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is used in pulp bleaching instead of elementary chlorine. Apparently, the use of this chemical results in a lesser amount of dioxins. However, paper bleached with chlorine dioxide is still not completely chlorine free as some paper manufacturers may claim. So, is a small amount of dioxins ok?
It’s hard to say from the look of the teabag if it is bleached or not. If in doubt, and if you find this to be an important issue, call the tea seller company and ask. They are usually willing to answer all questions. Or switch to natural fibres or loose tea!