Herbs and herbal teas are wonderful but pregnant women have to tread with caution. Herbs can have a powerful effect on your body and not all herbs produce desired effects during pregnancy. Some herbs can stimulate cramping or bleeding and have been linked to miscarriage. Most herbs have unknown effects on a developing baby.
Herbs such as dong quai, sage, or white peony can stimulate uterine cramping and bleeding, especially during the 1st trimester. Even more common herbal teas like ginger, peppermint or hibiscus have unknown effects and can be harmful if consumed in large quantities (e.g., more than 1-2 cups per day).
Adaptogens are also something to be careful about too. Just like herbs, there’s not enough research on adaptogens and their effects during pregnancy. There hasn’t been enough study on even more popular adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Cordyceps to see what their effects are on a developing baby, so it’s best save them for after pregnancy.
So what’s a pregnant mama to do… especially when she’s trying to limit her caffeine intake?
Here are my go-to herbal teas when I’m pregnant. The great thing about these teas is that they have many health benefits – from nausea relief to improving uterine strength as you prep for labor.
To be safe, always read the label on your herbal teas. Check with your health care provider to see if a herb or herbal tea blend is safe for pregnancy.
Rooibos tea is an antioxidant-packed tea that is naturally caffeine-free. Antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals that can cause cancer. Some studies link rooibos tea to better heart health and lower blood pressure.
I enjoy 1-2 cups of rooibos tea each day as an alternative to black tea. It has an earthy taste, and just like black tea, it can be drunk with a dash of whole milk or almond milk.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf tea has traditionally been drunk by pregnant women for better labor outcomes. This includes shorter active labor times, fewer interventions during childbirth and less bleeding after birth.
I can also personally attest to these claims. In both my previous pregnancies, I started drinking red raspberry leaf tea from 28 weeks pregnant and I had shorter than average labors. I was in active labor with my first (Elijah) for 6 hours, and with my second (Arabella) for 10 hours. Both labors were unmedicated and intervention-free.
Red raspberry leaf tea is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium and iron. In fact, just 1 oz of red raspberry leaf tea contains 3.3mg of iron (pregnant women need about 27mg of iron each day).
Do not drink red raspberry leaf tea in your 1st trimester.
While it is a great tea for pregnancy, please note that red raspberry should not be drunk in your 1st trimester as it can cause uterine cramping and bleeding.
Personally, I drink 1 cup per day from 28 weeks pregnant. I then increase to 2 cups per day at 32 weeks pregnant, and then 3 cups per day from 36 weeks pregnant.
This is a mild tasting tea that can be drunk hot or cold. I prefer this tea over-ice because it has a refreshing and pleasant taste. It is naturally caffeine-free.
Iced Morning Sickness Tea
I personally haven’t tried this iced morning sickness tea but I’ve heard many good things from clients who said it helped with their nausea.
Hot liquids can trigger the gag reflex so it’s great that this tea is an iced option for all our 1st trimester mamas.
An alternative morning sickness tea that you could make at home is fresh ginger and lemon over-ice. Grate 1 teaspoon of ginger and let it brew in a cup of boiled water. After 5 minutes, pour the ginger tea into a glass of ice. Squeeze a wedge of lemon (or two). Enjoy this tea while it is still iced. Ginger neutralizes stomach acid and citrus scents can help keep nausea at bay.
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