Expert Advice

Is it safe to drink green tea while pregnant?

Mums-to-be need to keep an eye on their green tea intake. Here’s why…

By Fiona Wright

Green tea has many health benefits. It contains high concentrations of antioxidants called polyphenols. The antioxidants fight free radicals in the body and prevent them from damaging DNA in your cells. Researchers believe that antioxidants can help slow down the aging process, lower your risk of cancer, and protect your heart.

However, during pregnancy it is advised to limit your caffeine intake to 200mg a day or less, due to concerns that high levels of caffeine can lead to low birth weight or miscarriage. Caffeine is present in coffee, chocolate, energy drinks and tea, including green tea.

Considering a switch to herbal tea? Nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan says see a health professional for advice first.

"Most herbal teas are caffeine-free and fine to drink during pregnancy," says Joanna. "But some herbal preparations have other active constituents that may have unwanted side effects."

Mums-to-be need to keep an eye on their green tea intake. *Image: Getty Images.*
Mums-to-be need to keep an eye on their green tea intake. Image: Getty Images.

While green tea brings with it some great health benefits, there are a range of minerals and vitamins to include in your diet during [pregnancy] to support your health and your growing baby's. Here are four key minerals and vitamins:

Folate

Essential for nueral tube development.

Sources: Lentils, dried beans and peas, dark green vegetables, asparagus, citrus fruits, and folic-acid-fortified cereals and breads.

Iodine

Required for the production of the thyroid hormone, iodine is important for your baby's growth and development.

Sources: Seafood, seaweed, eggs, meat and dairy products, as well as iodised table salt and bread (by law, all bread made in Australia, except organic, must be made with iodised salt).

Iron

During the second and third trimesters, the iron a baby draws from his mother is critical because it must maintain hi needs for the first six months of his life.

Sources: Legumes (canned/ dried peas or beans), iron-fortified and wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds, tofu, hummus and iron-fortified bread.

Vitamin A

Vital for the development of cells and tissues, vision and immune system.

Sources: Fruit and vegetables (particularly orange and yellow ones, as well as leafy greens), fortified milk and cereals. Avoid taking high levels of vitamin A supplements in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, as this can lead to birth defects.

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