Before any expectant mother makes a decision based on this article, beijingkids urges you to consult your OB/GYN doctor first before drinking tea.
“Can an expectant mother drink tea? If so, what kind of tea can an expectant mother drink?” Such questions are quite common. Due to the caffeine content present in all true teas, an expectant mother does have to be aware of her tea intake.
First trimester: No tea for you
The first three months of pregnancy is when the fetal nervous system forms and the fetus relies on maternal nutrition to grow. The caffeine in tea excites the central nervous system, which may interfere with the normal heart rate of an expectant mother, which may in turn affect fetal development.
Second trimester and beyond: “Weak” teas are OK
After four months of pregnancy, the fetus becomes more stable. An expectant mother may drink tea, but it’s recommended to drink weak teas in moderation.
Taking 4g/320ml as a standard, the second steep or lower proportion of tea can be regarded as weak tea; meaning the second or third cup of tea brewed with the same tea leaves or tea brewed with less tea leaves than usual.
The release of caffeine is directly proportional with the water temperature, so the lower temperature the less caffeine is released from the leaves. For a weaker tea, 70-75℃ water temperature is ideal using 3-5g of tea at a time. Consider brewing cold tea using room temperature or cold water as well.
Beware, drinking tea on an empty stomach is not recommended. It’s best to drink tea an hour after a meal to prevent the tannic acid in tea from interfering with the absorption of iron from foods.
An expectant mother belonging to the hot-body type (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is better off drinking tea that normally is recommended for the cool-body type. For example, drinking one or two cups of green tea or white tea on a daily basis increases blood circulation and helps digestion, which is good for waste elimination and preventing pregnancy edema. Furthermore, green tea is extremely rich in zinc, which plays an important role in fetal growth.
An expectant mother who is weak, or has especially sensitive body during pregnancy, is should drink tea recommended for the warm-body type, such as South African rooibos or yellow tea.
As for herbal teas, there are a wide variety of herbs with all types of complex properties and each one is different. Consulting a (TCM) doctor is recommended for personalized herbal tea recipes or more specific questions.
In summary, an expectant mother may drink tea in moderation, but should wait till after the first three months (the first trimester). Pregnant women should drink steep weak teas rather than strong robust teas with high levels of caffeine. Women who are extremely sensitive to caffeine should consult a doctor before drinking tea in general.
Answering for us was Yang Yang Wang (王杨杨) is a Tea Master at Papp’s Tea and a disciple of a well-known Tea Expert.
Papp’s Tea has a new location at B1-1A-1B, Topwin Center, Sanlitun Chaoyang district (8590 0951), with over 60 varieties of tea sourced from all over the world.
Photos: courtesy of Papp’s Tea