Pregnancy has a lot of do’s and don’ts. It can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time! But what happens if you’re a tea lover?
You might be wondering about rooibos tea and if it’s safe for pregnancy. This herbal tea, which is made from the South African plant ‘Aspalathus linearis’ is becoming more popular in Western countries.1 It can be found at groceries, health food stores, and cafes.
In moderation, rooibos tea is considered safe during pregnancy. It also offers these five awesome benefits.
1. Contains No Caffeine
When you’re expecting, it’s important to keep your caffeine intake in check. You won’t have to worry about rooibos tea since it’s caffeine free.
Caffeine will raise your blood pressure and heart rate, which is dangerous for a fetus.2 It’ll also disrupt your sleep cycle and stop you from getting enough rest. Remember, sleep is needed for your body to support the baby’s growth.3
Your little one also can’t handle caffeine like you can. It should spend most of its time sleeping, so caffeine can be bad news.4 After all, everything can – and will – pass through the placenta.
However, it’s safe to have caffeine in moderation. The recommendation is 300 mg per day or two cups of coffee. As for more than 300 mg? Findings in terms of fetus safety are conflicting, so it’s best to be mindful.5
Not all caffeinated products are coffee. Soda, chocolate, tea, and some over-the-counter drugs have small amounts. If you aren’t sure, check the label.6
As an herbal tea, rooibos has zero caffeine, making it OK during pregnancy.7 This means you can cozy up with a hot cup without thinking about caffeine.
2. Boosts Immunity
Staying healthy is essential during pregnancy. The antioxidants in rooibos can help you do just that!
This herbal tea is jam-packed with antioxidant polyphenols like rutin and quercetin. It also has a high level of aspalathin, a potent antioxidant that’s unique to rooibos tea. You’ll also get treated to immunomodulating and chemopreventive effects, along with nutritional minerals.
In HIV patients, rooibos can suppress infections. Imagine what it can do for you.8
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should forget about eating well. A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and no alcohol is best for you and your baby.
3. Relieves Stress
Pregnancy is exciting yet stressful. It can be even more nerve-wracking if it’s your first child. Luckily, rooibos has been shown to improve nervous tension, making it a good drink for pregnancy.9
Stress relief is vital when you’re pregnant. High levels can raise blood pressure, cause sleeplessness, and disrupt eating habits. It can even increase the risk of having a premature or low-birthweight baby, which comes with even more health problems.10
Rooibos tea can be a tasty part of your stress management approach. It’ll lower your blood pressure when you’re feeling tense or anxious.11 Pre-natal yoga, healthy eating, and having a support system will also help.
4. Improves Digestion
Your baby’s health depends on your diet. But when you’re dealing with an upset stomach, it can be hard to eat. It’s common to have nausea and vomiting during the first trimester.12 Plus, the change in estrogen levels can mess with your digestion.13
Traditionally, rooibos tea has been used as a digestive aid. It can alleviate tummy problems and make it easier to eat.14
5. Reduces Gestational Diabetes Risk
Are you nervous about gestational diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy? Risk factors include being overweight, bad eating habits, and high blood glucose, blood pressure, or cholesterol.15
Rooibos tea can decrease your chances. Aspalathin works against alpha-amylase – an enzyme that plays a role in raising blood glucose. You’ll get these benefits whether or not you already have diabetes.16
A Word Of Caution
Traditionally, rooibos tea has been used to calm down colicky babies. For a pregnant mother, it can have great health benefits.
Yet, like everything else, be mindful of how much you drink. There are no studies on a safe dosage for pregnant women. So, double check with your doctor first. She’ll take into account your unique health needs and give you the best advice.17
|↑1, ↑7, ↑8, ↑9, ↑11, ↑14||Mahomoodally, M. Fawzi. “Traditional medicines in Africa: an appraisal of ten potent African medicinal plants.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).|
|↑2, ↑6||Caffeine Intake During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.|
|↑3||Problems sleeping during pregnancy. MedlinePlus.|
|↑4||Schwab, Karin, Tobias Groh, Matthias Schwab, and Herbert Witte. “Nonlinear analysis and modeling of cortical activation and deactivation patterns in the immature fetal electrocorticogram.” Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science 19, no. 1 (2009): 015111.|
|↑5||Morgan, Sara, Gideon Koren, and Pina Bozzo. “Is caffeine consumption safe during pregnancy?.” Canadian Family Physician 59, no. 4 (2013): 361-362.|
|↑10||Stress and pregnancy. March of Dimes.|
|↑12||Stages of pregnancy. Women’s Health.|
|↑13||Nausea During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.|
|↑15||Gestational Diabetes. American Diabetes Association.|
|↑16||Najafian, Mahmood, Bahareh Najafian, and Zahra Najafian. “The Effect of Aspalathin on Levels of Sugar and Lipids in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic and Normal Rats.” Zahedan Journal of Research in Medical Sciences 18, no. 11 (2016).|
|↑17||Rooibos Side Effects. University of Michigan.|