Some drink it to simply decompress or help meet the increased fluid needs of pregnancy. However, a proportion of women appear to use tea as a natural remedy for pregnancy-related symptoms or as a tonic to prepare for childbirth in the last weeks of pregnancy (1Trusted Source).
Many may believe that tea is probably safe to drink while pregnant because it’s natural. In reality, women may benefit from reducing their intake of certain teas, while completely avoiding others throughout their pregnancy.
This article discusses the safety of tea during pregnancy, including which teas pregnant women may continue to drink, and which they may want to avoid.
Limit your intake of caffeinated teas
Black, green, white, matcha, chai, and oolong teas are all sourced from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. They contain caffeine — a natural stimulant that should be limited during pregnancy.
- matcha: 60–80 mg
- oolong tea: 38–58 mg
- black tea: 47–53 mg
- chai: 47–53 mg
- white tea: 25–50 mg
- green tea: 29–49 mg
Caffeine can easily cross the placenta, and your baby’s immature liver has difficulty breaking it down. As such, infants are more likely to experience side effects from amounts of caffeine that would otherwise be considered safe for adults.
Research suggests that infants exposed to too much caffeine during pregnancy may have a higher risk of being born preterm or with a low birth weight or birth defects. High caffeine intake during pregnancy may also increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
These risks appear minimal when pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to a maximum of 300 mg per day (8Trusted Source).
However, some women’s genetics may make them more sensitive to the ill effects of caffeine. For instance, research suggests that this small proportion of women may have a 2.4 times higher risk of miscarriage when consuming 100–300 mg of caffeine per day (8Trusted Source).
Caffeinated teas contain less caffeine than coffee and are generally considered safe to drink during pregnancy. However, their intake may need to be limited to avoid consuming too much caffeine per day (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Certain herbal teas may have risky side effects
Herbal teas are made from dried fruits, flowers, spices, or herbs and therefore contain no caffeine. However, they may contain other compounds considered unsafe during pregnancy, which may result in risky side effects.
Miscarriage or preterm labor
- blue cohosh
- black cohosh
- frankincense (in large amounts)
- chamomile (in large amounts)
Teas that may increase the risk of birth defects include (12Trusted Source):
Other side effects
Moreover, in rare cases, eucalyptus tea may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. What’s more, a case report suggests that regularly drinking chamomile tea during pregnancy may result in poor blood flow through a baby’s heart (1Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
Certain herbal teas may also contain compounds that interact with medications. Therefore, pregnant women should inform their healthcare providers of any herbal teas they are currently consuming or planning on consuming at any time during pregnancy (1Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that, due to the limited amount of research on the safety of herbal teas, a lack of evidence of negative side effects shouldn’t be seen as proof that the tea is safe to drink during pregnancy.
Until more is known, it may be best for pregnant women to remain cautious and avoid drinking any teas that have not yet been shown to be likely safe during pregnancy (18Trusted Source).