Green Tea And Pregnancy Facts
If you enjoy green tea and are pregnant, it’s important to know the pros and cons of drinking green during your pregnancy.
On the positive side, there are many health benefits to drinking green tea. Some of these include: cancer prevention, improving heart health, helping digestion, boosting the immune system, lower cholesterol, helping even blood sugar levels and more.
These health benefits are definitely to be desired, but as with many other things, you have to be careful during pregnancy .
So what’s the problem with green tea and pregnancy?
Well, according to some studies, drinking too much green tea during pregnancy is not good because of the caffeine in green tea. Caffeine intake is discouraged during pregnancy because of certain side effects. For instance, some studies have shown caffeine to cause miscarriage and lower birth weight among babies.
Caffeine Levels In Teas
According to the Mayo Clinic, here are some levels of caffeine found in different green and black teas:
|Type of Tea||Serving Size||Amount of Caffeine (milligrams)|
|Brewed Teas —|
|Black tea||8 oz (240 ml)||40-120 mg.|
|Black tea, decaffeinated||8 oz (240 ml)||2 1 10 mg|
|Starbucks Tazo Chai Tea Latte||16 oz (480 ml)||100 mg|
|Stash Premium Green||6 oz (180 ml)||26 mg|
|Iced Tea —|
|AriZona Green Tea||16 oz (480 ml)||15 mg|
|Generic instant mix, unsweetened||1 tsp (5 ml)||27 mg|
|Generic instant mix, decaffeinated, unsweetened||1 tsp (5 ml)||1 mg|
|Lipton Brisk Lemon Iced Tea||12 oz (355 ml)||7 mg|
|Nestea Iced Tea||12 oz (355 ml)||26 mg|
|Snapple Plain Unsweetened||16 oz (480 ml)||18 mg|
As you can see, green tea does not have as much caffeine as black tea. It is also lower than that of coffee. Of course, you could drink decaffeinated green tea. However, caffiene isn’t the only problem.
More About Green Tea and Pregnancy: Folic Acid
You also need to know about Green Tea and Folic Acid.
Green tea contains EGCG or epigallocatechins, a catechin present in green tea in amounts about 5 times higher than in black tea.
Scientists discovered that ECGC, the green tea catechin, looks a lot like the cancer drug methotrexate, which prevents cancer cells from making DNA by inhibiting the DHFR enzyme. They discovered that ECGC kills cancer cells in the same way as the drug.
Normally this is a good thing, except that ECGC binding to DHFR during pregnacy can affect the use of folate in the body. As you are probably aware, folate is very important during pregnancy because it can help in preventing birth defects in the neural tube. (Spina bifida would be one example of such a birth defect.)
Because of ECGC’s binding to DHFR, women who drink large amounts of green tea around the time they conceive and early in their pregnancy may have an increased risk of having a child with spina bifida or other neural tube problems.
So while a cup or two of green tea is unlikely to create a problem, there could be an increased risk of neural tube defects for someone drinking large amounts of green tea because of the decrease of the activity of DHFR.
Think Moderation, Always Moderation With Green Tea and Pregnancy
Benefits of Green Tea for Health
Although the health benefits of green tea are remarkable, it does contain caffeine and no study has yet established the right amount of green tea intake especially among pregnant women. Drinking small amounts of green tea is probably okay, but you can always ask your doctor if the amount you are consuming poses any risks.
So be careful in drinking green tea; not only because of the caffeine, but because of the effect it has on the folic acid levels in your body. Neural tube defects are a serious disability and certainly something you want to avoid.
There will be plenty of time to drink lots of green tea after the baby is born! So be cautious with drinking copious amounts of green tea and pregnancy!
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