If you have any doubts about green tea, talk to your doctor – he is well acquainted with your medical condition and he will be able to advise you on the amount of green tea you can drink per day.
Read the following explanation to find out whether or not it is safe to drink green tea during pregnancy and learn more about its benefits, as well as health and safety concerns.
Green Tea Contains Caffeine
Green tea is produced by fermenting tea leaves and it contains caffeine. It is safe to drink green tea during pregnancy, as long as you pay attention to the amounts you consume.
Pregnant women should not consume more than 150 mg of caffeine per day. 1 cup of green tea contains 40 to 50 mg of caffeine, compared to coffee, which has 100 mg per cup. It is therefore not recommended to have more than 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day, during pregnancy.
- Too much caffeine is extremely unsafe during pregnancy, for it can cause many health problems for you and your baby.
- Caffeine can cross the placenta, and since your unborn baby cannot metabolize it, it may greatly interfere with its development and cause birth defects.
- Great quantities of caffeine can also lead to preterm delivery or miscarriage.
- Caffeine is also associated with intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight.
- Caffeine may act as a diuretic and make you lose fluids and important nutrients.
- Caffeine can also decrease the amount of blood flow to the placenta, which may affect your baby’s development.
However, green tea is available also in a decaffeinated form, which contains about 0.4 mg of caffeine per cup.
When drinking green tea, take into consideration also other beverages that contain caffeine. You should never exceed 150 mg of caffeine per day.
Green Tea Can Prevent You from Absorbing Folic Acid Properly
Green tea contains a powerful antioxidant, known as EGCG, which has numerous beneficial effects on the human body. However, during pregnancy, the EGCG may cause certain problems, as it may interfere with the absorption of folic acid.
- Folic acid is an important supplement that all women are encouraged to take even before they decide to have a baby. During pregnancy instead, it is of crucial importance for the baby’s health.
- It is particularly important during the first trimester, when the backbone, spinal column, and nervous system are forming. In this period, folic acid prevents neural tube birth defects in babies.
- The EGCG may affect the way your body uses folic acid, and this in turn can lead to serious neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, a condition where the neural tube fails to close completely. This is often associated with inadequate amounts of folic acid in the body.
For this reason, all pregnant women should take folic acid supplements and avoid consuming more than 2 (maximum 3) cups of green tea per day.
Green Tea and Iron, Calcium and Magnesium Absorption
Green tea contains phenolic compounds that can interfere with the absorption of iron, calcium and magnesium. These are very important minerals that are required in higher amounts during pregnancy.
It is therefore not recommended to drink inappropriate amounts of green per day, and it is also advisable not to consume it during meals, for it may prevent your body from assimilating minerals from the foods you eat.
Green Tea has Great Antioxidant Properties
Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants called polyphenols, which fight free radicals, preventing cell damage in the body.
Drinking green tea can therefore protect you against many diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and certain forms of cancer. It can also strengthen your immune system and considerably help your teeth and bones.
Green Tea Regulates Blood Sugar Level
This is one of the many great Benefits of Green Tea.
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy may place pregnant women at risk of developing gestational diabetes. This can increase baby's blood sugar levels and lead to macrosomia or the excessive birth weight. Macrosomic infants may be subject to respiratory problems, and are more likely to become overweight or obese.
For this reason, it is very good to drink 2 to 3 cups of green tea a day during pregnancy, in order to keep your blood sugar levels steady.
Other Green Tea Health Benefits
This superb tea can help women during pregnancy in many beneficial ways:
- Green tea can lower cholesterol levels, increase metabolism and improve digestion – this is very helpful since a pregnant woman is actually eating for two!
- Green tea regulates blood pressure.
- Many pregnant women are prone to periodontal gum disease. Green tea helps the mother-to-be maintain healthy gums and teeth.
- As previously mentioned, green tea has also the ability to strengthen the immune system and keep diseases and infections at bay.
Do you think it's safe to drink green tea while pregnant? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.