Pregnant Tea Drinkers: The Controversy

I had the luck in one of my anthropology classes to learn about doulas – birth attendants who provide support during a woman’s labor.  After listening to an enlightening presentation on how doulas can help alleviate labor pain, I became interested in learning more about a profession that uses natural remedies to help women have easier – and more pleasant – births.  As a result, I chose to attend a three-day doula workshop.

  At the workshop, the other doula-trainees and I talked a lot about tea.  Out of the eleven women present, many loved, or at least appreciated, tea.  In addition to chatting about what teas we liked, we discussed some of the medical benefits of tea.  Now, only a few months after the workshop, I have decided to research the “dos and don’ts” of pregnant tea drinking.

I assumed that drinking tea would be healthy for many pregnant women; however, not all the sources I consulted seem to agree.   Are certain kinds of tea really that unhealthy for pregnant women, or are these websites being overly cautious?  Apparently, some herbal teas can be harmful to a mother and her child, including raspberry leaf tea (I don’t believe it!), hibiscus, lemongrass, chamomile (I really don’t believe that one), catnip, and rosemary tea.  Conversely, other sites suggest that non-herbal, caffeinated teas should be avoided, while red raspberry tea and chamomile are most likely safe.    The second site also suggested that peppermint, lemon balm, and ginger root were safe as well.

I’m not sure how to interpret these conflicting sources except to ask people what they drank during their own pregnancies and how the teas seemed to affect them.  Mothers, grandmothers, and health professionals: what are your opinions?

Originally published at

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