What Teas to avoid while Pregnant

pregnant tea drinking

It never fails, whenever I go somewhere (like the UPS store) I get questions about tea and a lot of times pregnancy!

The March of Dimes recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day (equal to about one 12-ounce cup of coffee a day). Herbal Tisanes are a great option but keep in mind not all are recommended for expectant moms. Many tisanes are filled with vitamin C, antioxidants and help reduce stress, anxiety, nerves and nausea, however some contain some herbs that may be harmful to you and your baby.

Someone always knows someone who is expecting and many people think all tea is safe to drink while pregnant. It is not. I’m going to list off certain herbs that may be found in various teas that you should avoid.  You should always do things in moderation so keep this in mind with the below warnings.

Herbs to avoid while pregnant:

  • Black and Blue Cohosh**, Chamomile, Devil’s Claw, Don Quai
  • Ephedra, Fenugreek, Gentian, Ginseng, Hawthorne
  • Licorice Root, Mother Wort, Nettle, Penny Royal
  • Red Raspberry Leaf**, Senna, Shepherd’s Purse
  • St. John’s Wort, Yarrow
**Black and Blue Cohosh have been used in other tonics on the advice of medical practitioners to induce labour.
**Red Raspberry Leaf has been recommended at various times during pregnancy as a uterine tonic, AKA it exercises the uterus. Always check with your medical provider if/when it’s safe for you to take. Many women take it at the end of their pregnancy.


The active ingredients in some of the above herbs can have side effects that you may not expect. The adverse effects may be as follows:

  • Stimulation of the uterus and can cause uterine contractions
  • Acts as a diuretic and can cause you to urinate often (Yes, even MORE than normal when pregnant)
  • Produce toxic effects on your baby as the herbs can cross the placenta.
  • Can cause birth defects

What herbs are safe to drink when pregnant?

If you’re looking for a government stamp of approval on teas to drink while pregnant you’re not going to get a huge list. Why? Because many herbs have not been studied on pregnant women. Herbal products vary because of their preparation and composition, so it makes it very difficult to assess their safety on you and your unborn baby. The following herbs are considered “safe” if taken in moderation (2-3 cups a day).

  • Citrus Peel
  • Ginger (good for upset tummies!)
  • Lemon Balm
  • Linden Flower**
  • Orange Peel
  • Rose Hip
**Not recommended for persons with pre-existing cardiac conditions

So what tea’s can I drink when pregnant?

Keep in mind that anything you drink should be in moderation. There are a few things I wanted to mention about the above list. Chamomile. Chamomile tea is not safe to drink during pregnancy as it can cause uterine contractions, many people don’t know this, so if you only take one thing away from this article, let that be it.  Green tea is not recommended during the first trimester in pregnancy because it can inhibit the absorption of folic acid in your body, and when you are expecting you need to increase intake of folic acid.

Here are some teas that are great for your pregnant bellies:

  • Rooibos (as long as it is not mixed with Rosemary–which is not recommended either)
  • Honeybush
  • Peppermint (helps with indigestion–again in moderation)
Rooibos is great because it has been found to have less tannin (so it’s less likely to interfere with iron absorption),and it is rich in antioxidants and has a whack of vitamin C.
Personally, I still drank regular tea when I was expecting both my kids. It takes 2 cups a day of black tea to equal the amount of caffeine in coffee.  If you have any questions you should always check with your medical provider before ingesting any teas or coffees.  Like I said before, things are much safer in moderation! Happy sipping!


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  • hannah

    So is it safe to drink just normal black tea whilst pregnant?

    • Meghan

      Decaffeinated is better, but one cup a day of regular black tea wont hurt anything.

  • Talisha

    I am wondering about ginger tea that has lemongrass in it. I have been sick and have indigestion but worry about everything. Thanks