Health benefits and risks of drinking green tea during pregnancy

Updated: Jan 05, 2017, 13:54 IST | mid-day online correspondent |

Despite several health benefits of green tea, the drink does contain caffeine which might adversely work on pregnant women

 Health benefits and risks of drinking green tea during pregnancy

Originated in China and loved by all Asian countries, green tea is a medicinal drink loaded with multiple health benefits. Green tea is packed with antioxidants, cancer fighting agents, minerals, vitamin C and phytochemicals. Proper consumption of green tea lowers a person's risk of developing heart attack, stroke, kidney stones, cancer, obesity, osteoporosis and tooth cavities.

However, despite several health benefits of green tea, the drink does contain caffeine that can adversely work on pregnant women. Therefore pregnant women are urged to drink green tea in moderation and control their caffeine intake during the gestation period.

Benefits of drinking green tea during pregnancy:

• Green tea has the ability to regulate blood pressure and high blood pressure can pose a serious threat during pregnancy. Therefore, drinking green tea in moderation helps to regulate high blood pressure in pregnant women.

• Pregnancy is accompanied by mood swings. Green tea is an antioxidant which boosts up metabolism and could possibly stabilize mood swings during pregnancy.

• Green tea has properties that help increase regulatory T-cells in the body. A rise in regulatory T-cells improves the immune system which in turn helps pregnant women fight illness and diseases.

• Green tea helps in digestion. As pregnant women suffer from indigestion and stomach upsets, drinking green tea in moderation can help reduce stomach upset and ingestion during the term.

• Green tea improves oral health and a good oral health is vital during pregnancy. The drink prevent the development of plaque and gingivitis during the gestation period.

 Health benefits and risks of drinking green tea during pregnancy

Potential risks of drinking green tea during pregnancy:

• Green tea contains caffeine and pregnant women are advised to reduce their caffeine intake during pregnancy. This is because caffeine causes the body to release more water than usual.

• Inadequate water intake and excessive caffeine intake results in dehydration during pregnancy.

• Caffeine in green tea blocks the body's absorbing power of folic acid. More than two cups of green tea may reduce folate levels and inadequate folic acid during pregnancy is linked with increasing neural tube defects.

• Many studies suggest that caffeine crosses the placenta which may reduce blood flow to the developing foetus. High caffeine intake can result in miscarriage, still birth and low birth weight.

• High levels of green tea intake during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects and development of brain and skull.

During pregnancy, it is fine to drink green tea in moderation. Maximum two cups of the drink is safe for pregnant women. However, as green tea poses risk to the body’s folate levels, it is good to avoid the drink in the first trimester. Those who have a fascination towards the drink should focus on folate rich diets to maintain a balance and provide the growing baby with required nutrients.

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