At this time, it is not known whether green tea is safe to drink while pregnant. Green tea contains about 10 to 80 mg of caffeine per cup. Women who choose to avoid consuming caffeine during pregnancy should also avoid taking green tea products. Before consuming green tea, women should ask their healthcare providers about the potential risks.
Is Green Tea Safe During Pregnancy?
It is not known whether green tea is safe for pregnant women. There are some concerns about green tea use during pregnancy due to the caffeine content and issues with folic acid.
Green tea contains caffeine, about 10 to 80 mg per cup. Caffeine consumption during pregnancy is a controversial issue. Many women completely cut out caffeine during pregnancy, while others take a moderate approach, limiting their intake to a reasonable amount. Studies have also shown conflicting results (see Caffeine and Pregnancy for more information).
If you and your healthcare provider have decided that you should avoid caffeine during pregnancy, then you should avoid green tea.
There is some concern that some of the components in green tea may affect folic acid. Some of the polyphenols in green tea may inhibit the enzyme that converts folic acid into its active form in the body. There is a little evidence suggesting that green tea consumption may increase the risk of spina bifida, a birth defect that is linked to low folic acid intake.
If you are pregnant, it is always a good idea to have a discussion with your healthcare provider before drinking green tea or taking green tea supplements. If your healthcare provider says that it is okay to drink green tea, a modest approach is probably best. It is probably not a good idea to consume several cups or more of green tea per day.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 31, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: green tea (May 2006). NCCAM Web site. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/greentea/. Accessed January 31, 2008.
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