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Unlike drugs, which are investigated in depth and based on these investigations are considered suitable or not for use in pregnant women, herbal infusions do not undergo sufficient studies to tip the balance to one side or the other, so the side effects that they could cause and / or their safety during pregnancy are unknown. Then,Is it safe to drink green tea in pregnancy?
Teas, whether black, green or red, as well as coffee are the most studied infusions, since they are the most consumed. These drinks are characterized by containing caffeine, approximately 25-50mg per cup in the case of tea, depending on the time it is left to infuse.
Studies in pregnant women show that exceeding 200mg of caffeine daily also increases the risk of miscarriage and premature labor, so it is not recommended to exceed that dose. Caffeine is also a diuretic, so it can lead to dehydration if the pregnant woman does not get enough water through her diet. In addition, excessive consumption of caffeine can put the liver in a compromised situation, since it performs more functions during pregnancy than under normal conditions, and it can become stressed and overloaded when having to process high amounts of this substance.
High intakes of green tea have been linked to babies born with neural tube defects, like spina bifida, since green tea makes it difficult to absorb folic acid. Given that this vitamin is extremely important during the first 12 weeks –and the weeks before pregnancy to keep folic acid stores full-, it is advisable to limit its consumption for at least the first 3 months of pregnancy. It also hinders the absorption of non-heme iron, which can be a problem if the expectant mother follows a vegetarian diet or is predisposed to anemia, especially in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Another disadvantage of green tea is that, as it contains caffeine, it is a stimulant, and, although under normal conditions it may not be a problem, towards the end of pregnancy, when difficulties in falling asleep appear, it may be advisable to reduce the dose. Compared to black tea, green tea contains a slightly lower amount of caffeine, so discarding some of the water from the first infusion, in which more caffeine is released, it could be said that it hardly contains this substance.
Green tea contains polyphenols that prevent cardiovascular disease, and antioxidants that slow down cellular aging and protect against certain types of cancer and against diabetes. In addition, consuming green tea is also consuming a good amount of water, and a good state of hydration in pregnancy prevents or reduces fluid retention, constipation, headaches typical of the first trimester and high blood pressure.
Consuming about 3-4 cups of green tea in pregnancy appears to be safe, even more so if the water from the first infusion is eliminated.
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