Is Green Tea safe to drink during pregnancy? And what about caffeine? Bottom line? Yes, but in limited amounts. Why? Green tea, for anyone else, offers a huge boost to your health: green tea is rich in powerful nutrients that may help prevent a variety of cancers, lower blood pressure, prevent diabetes, and help normalize cholesterol and support your weight loss efforts. But one of the active nutrients in green tea – epigallocatechin, or EGCG – may affect the way the body metabolizes folate. As you may be aware, adequate folate is important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the developing fetus. So, what is the safety of green tea during pregnancy?
EGCG is the most abundant catechin in tea. It is a powerful antioxidant, providing many of the health benefits of green tea. EGCG also inhibits the enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). DHFR is required during DNA synthesis.
DNA synthesis is essential during fetal development!
In fact, the highest levels of DNA synthesis generally occur during fetal development, and during rapid growth of a cancer. The other inhibitor of DHFR is methotrexate, a common chemotherapeutic agent used for some breast cancer and some throat cancers.
Note that the catechin, EGCG, and other flavinoids, are present in all teas to some extent. However, due to the fact that green teas are the least-processed of the teas, green teas contain the highest concentrations of these phytonutrients, especially EGCG.
So, back to the question: is green tea safe to drink during pregnancy?
Again, the answer is “yes,” but in limited amounts.
Now, the important question: how much is a safe “limited amount”? Unfortunately, there are no clinical studies that clearly answer that question for us. If it were me growing a new life inside, I would probably eliminate green tea completely during pregnancy. Note that decaffeinated tea still contains EGCG.
My answer is, make it simple: don’t drink any tea during pregnancy.
The other question I am often asked concerns the safety of caffeine during pregnancy.
The general consensus is that a limited amount of caffeine is safe during pregnancy. Again, there is no solid agreement on what a “limited amount” is, exactly. The Mayo Clinic recommends limiting the amount of caffeine to less than 200 milligrams per day during pregnancy. For perspective, a brewed 8-oz. cup of coffee contains between 75 and 145 milligrams of caffeine; an 8-oz. cup of tea contains about 25-50% of that, or somewhere between 25 and 75 milligrams of caffeine. What’s the risk? Miscarriage. So, once again, you may want to avoid or severely limit your caffeine intake during pregnancy.
Hi. Like what you’re reading here?? Go ahead and subscribe for free updates, back up toward the top, over on the right-hand column. No spam. Ever. Promise.