Herbal infusions during pregnancy – are they safe?

Dear Dr. Mo: What is the deal with other teas – not relating to caffeine? I’ve heard pregnant women shouldn’t drink chamomile tea…? I thought ‘herbs’ were generally healthy and a desirable component.

Dear reader: During pregnancy, many women choose herbal infusions instead of caffeinated drinks. Most of these choices are perfectly fine.
I would always advise to stay away from herbs and supplements of any sort during the first trimester, while the fetus is particularly vulnerable; but even during this sensitive period, one or two cups of herbal teas now and then (even daily) are so moderate an amount that any harm is virtually impossible.

Herbal infusions are generally safe during pregnancy

I would generally stay away from herbal infusions, which contain some additional supplements (such as Ginseng) as these are of unknown action on the fetus and are not undergoing sanction and approval by regulatory bodies. Choose pure herbal teas with nothing added.

The talk about herbs that may concern you is that some may help induce a certain level of uterine contraction so I’d stay away from herbs such as black or blue cohosh. Also avoid herbal infusions with known pharmacological actions that are intense and aggressive on your body and generally unhealthy like Sena leaves.

Chamomile infusion is fine and safe to drink in moderation – stay within a few cups a day but not liters of it.

Drinking Chamomile helps to calm you down and aids your digestion. It also helps in fighting common colds and has mild anti-inflammatory properties.

Peppermint is also safe in moderation and is refreshing and can soothe nausea, intestinal cramps and relieve some stress.

If you feel nauseous, fresh ginger infusion could also help sooth it.

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong in drinking herbal infusions. As with everything, moderation is the key so try to keep it within a few cups a day and make sure you watch the caffeine levels as this is something you’d want to avoid.

Of course, the rest of your diet should also be balanced and healthy – remain mindful of it.

Yours in health,

Dr. Mo

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