30 January

Tea consumption during pregnancy

Megan was advised by her friend to avoid coffee during pregnancy. But she was not sure about Tea? So she asked the Doctor - Doctor - Is drinking Tea considered detrimental to the baby? In other words, Can I drink tea during pregnancy?

The doctor replied - “ Meghana - Caffeine during pregnancy may be bad for the baby. Studies indicate that. But Is there a link between intake of maternal tea and negative birth outcomes? There have been studies done to see this effect. For ex-The data, on about 1,000 Irish women, with the usual dietary intakes of caffeinated products during early pregnancy was studied. The researchers matched these with hospital records of the women’s newborns to get information on the birth size and gestational age at birth.

Tea was the predominant caffeine source (48 per cent) followed by coffee (39 per cent). The analysis, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed a consistent link between both coffee and tea caffeine and adverse birth outcomes. In the highest caffeine consumption group, the risks of delivering babies with abnormally low birth weight or short gestational age at birth were about two times higher. The results were similar regardless of the caffeine source (Coffee, Tea or beverages with caffeine content)

While coffee is the main source of caffeine in most parts of the world (about 100mg per cup), it is less recognised that tea contains a significant amount of caffeine, too (about 33mg per cup) although lesser than coffee.

The study also suggests that Brewing methods and types of coffee and tea influence their caffeine contents. For example, caffeine content is higher in brewed coffee than in instant coffee, and it’s higher in black tea than in green tea. So the kind of Tea that we consume in India does have a significant caffeine content.

The recommended caffeine intake level during pregnancy differs across health organisations and countries. The World Health Organisation recommends an intake of less than 300mg per day. In contrast, organisations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend an intake of less than 200mg per day. However, studies show an increased risk of adverse birth outcomes even for a maternal consumption level lower than these recommended levels.

Should pregnant women abstain from caffeine?

Maternal caffeine consumption has been linked to the smaller birth size of the baby and also to lower IQ. But studies are not conclusive about these outcomes. Until more definitive evidence emerges, it is prudent to at least limit caffeine intake(maximum to 2 cups per day)whether in the form of Coffee or Tea during pregnancy or when planning to conceive.

Last modified on Friday, 01 March 2019 14:03
Dr Padma

Dr Padma is a Family care physician and is the Founder and CEO of MedHealthTV.


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