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The Nutritionist's Guide To Pregnancy Teas

The Nutritionist's Guide To Pregnancy Teas

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*note this post contains affiliate links

Spice It Up By Drinking Tea

Throughout my pregnancy I've found myself very thirsty; although I love drinking water, it's nice to spice things up a bit. I've found tea's (iced or hot) not only add variety to my fluids, but also provide many added benefits and don't contain the unwanted sugar of other fluid choices. As pregnant women we must be careful with herbs and teas. They are still medicine, were used as medicine before pharmaceuticals, and can cause harm to us or our unborn child. Always talk to a healthcare practitioner before adding any herb to your diet when pregnant. 

What Form of Tea to Choose

It is best to use loose leaf teas, they are generally of higher quality than a pre-bagged tea. To brew a loose leaf tea you can simply add the tea to the water and strain it after, or place the tea in a tea ball and steep like a tea bag. 

When shopping for teas read the labels, the tea should be organic, it should not contain any artificial flavourings or colourings, and it should not have sweeteners added. Be sure you know what each herb is in the tea and whether or not it is safe for pregnancy.

How to Steep Hot Teas

To make tea, most of us turn on the kettle wait until it whistles, then steep our tea. But did you know by boiling the water you are diminishing the good effects of the tea? High heat degrades antioxidants and other nutrients. Each type of tea (black, white, green, oolong, & herbal) requires different water temperatures for optimal steeping results. Check the package the tea came in for directions.

To make it easy, I suggest not allowing the water to boil by pulling the kettle off the stove (or turning the kettle off) just when steam starts to rise out of the spout, but before the kettle starts to whistle. I use this method in place of a thermometer. I feel the main point is to not heat the water too hot and using thermometers just complicates what's supposed to be a relaxing experience.

How to Steep Cold Teas

2 Options:

1. Sun Tea - my all time favourite

  • Simply add your tea to a glass pitcher full of clean water. Place the pitcher in the sun for 8 hours and allow the tea to steep.
  • Strain tea leaves if you allowed them to be loose in the water, remove tea bag/ball.
  • Add ice and if desired a small amount of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.

2. Brewed Method

  • Some teas require heat to help break down the cell membrane so you receive the beneficial nutrients from the plant. This renders brewing necessary. (Chaga is one such tea)
  • Simply heat your water per the hot tea instructions above. Place hot water and tea in a tea pot or pyrex pitcher and allow to cool to room temperature on the counter. 
  • Strain tea leaves if you allowed them to be loose in the water, remove tea bag/ball.
  • Add ice and if desired a small amount of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.
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Supplies Needed to Make Tea

1. Kettle

You have a few choices for a kettle. My favourite is the stove top kettle, I leave mine on my stove at all times, it's red, it's beautiful, I love it! Check out this gorgeous Zen Enamel Kettle that is very similar to mine.

Another great choice is the all new Cuisinart Steeper/Kettle in one. This kettle takes away the guess work for what temperature each type of tea should be brewed at. It also makes your tea brewing station more compact by combining your kettle and tea pot into one.

There are also electric kettles for heating water. The Cuisinart PerfecTemp is a great electric kettle. Like the Steeper/Kettle, this kettle allows you to choose the temperature of your water.

2. Tea Ball/Spoon/Bags (for loose leaf teas)

A simple way to contain your loose leaf tea is a tea ball or spoon. These can be used to make a whole pot or a single cup of tea.

If you prefer the tea bag over loose leaf teas there are reusable tea bags you can use.

3. Tea Pot/Cups/Mugs

A traditional tea set is really all you need. This Zen Inspired Chinese Set is comforting and stylish. 

For tea on the go I recommend the Thermos Tea Tumbler. It is leak proof, will keep your tea hot or cold, and has a built in infuser for your loose leaf teas.

If you want to make a single cup of tea a tea ball or spoon from above and a tea mug that resonates with you is a good choice. I love pottery mugs, when I see a pottery artisan I stop every time, there is always a mug (or other piece) that calls to me. My dishes are mismatched due to my obsession, but I'm okay with that, because each piece is special to me.

Tea, Caffeine, & Pregnancy

Many of us made the choice to avoid caffeine throughout our pregnancies. The traditional black, green, white, and oolong teas do contain caffeine in varying amounts, so if you've chosen to avoid caffeine you will need to avoid these teas as well. In the Top Ten Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy I explain why you may want to choose to eliminate or limit your caffeine intake during pregnancy.

Good news, herbal teas are generally caffeine free and there are a few that are safe for pregnancy. As a caution you must be careful with herbs during pregnancy. Not all herbs are safe for pregnant women, some can cause early labour or miscarriage. Always check with a health care practitioner before adding herbs to your diet.

Safe Teas For Pregnancy

As a note, you can choose any method above to make these teas. 

Ginger Root

  • Ginger should help with the nausea and upset stomach you may experience in the first trimester
  • The best way to make this tea is to use the minced fresh ginger root
  • To make life a little easier, you can also purchase organic dried ginger root 

Peppermint 

  • If ginger doesn't do it for you, try peppermint to soothe your upset stomach and nauseousness during pregnancy
  • If you find the fresh herb, you can steep the leaves the same way you would a dried herb
  • You can purchase dried organic peppermint to use as tea as well

Rooibos

  • This is the drink of choice for expectant mothers in Africa
  • Shown to help with constipation,  indigestion, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and regulating blood sugar levels
  • May have significant levels of antioxidants as well
  • Special Tea makes a very nice organic green rooibos tea
  • There are many rooibos tea blends you can try, but always be sure the other herbs in the blend are safe for pregnancy

Chaga Mushroom

  • Known as the king of the mushrooms, chaga is packed full of antioxidants and it is an adaptogen (meaning it increases your ability to adapt to environment factors and resist stress)
  • This mushroom has so many benefits it would take a whole other posting to go through them, so I will leave this for another day. Just know chaga is very good for everyone at all stages of life
  • This is an herb that must be heated (using the directions above) to reap the benefits because the mushroom's cell walls are very strong. Hot water will weaken those walls releasing the medicinal properties
  • You can find dried chaga mushroom in specialty herb shops
  • The Light Cellar has a chaga tea you can purchase online in the US & Canada (this is not an affiliate link, I just like their store)

Dried Fruits

  • An easy and delicious tea can be made from a variety of dried fruits like lemon, lime, orange, citrus peels, apple, cranberries, figs, rose hips etc.
  • Mix dried fruits with the herbal teas above to create variety

Spices

  • Adding spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepper corns steeped with teas above is a nice way to "spice" things up

Raspberry Leaf

  • Drink 1-3 cups daily starting 3 - 4 weeks before your due date
  • Do not drink at the beginning of your pregnancy
  • Will strengthen the uterus and maybe help you have a shorter and easier labour
  • The Traditional Medicine's Brand is a good bagged tea, I haven't been able to find this tea as a loose leaf

I love making my own teas, I just toss a few ingredients in my tea ball then give it a try. They always turn out fabulous :-)

I've kept this list small and to the herbs that have research backing up their safety for pregnancy. There isn't enough research supporting the safety of other herbs during pregnancy. If there is an herb/tea you like that's not on this list, please feel free to email me or comment below and I will look into it's safety for you.

Herbs/Teas to Avoid During Pregnancy

As I've mentioned throughout this article, there are many herbs that are dangerous during pregnancy. This is a quick list of herbs/teas to avoid:

Ginseng, licorice root, lemongrass, anise, eucalyptus, fennel (medicinal amounts), ginko, goldenseal, hibiscus, and valerian root.

This list is not all inclusive. I just included a few of the common ones you may come across. As I've said before, if adding an herb to your pregnancy diet always check with your health care practitioner first.

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Best Sweeteners For Teas

Even natural healthier sweeteners should be used in moderation. They will still affect your blood sugar levels, just not as fully as common sweeteners used in processed foods.

1. Honey

As far as sweeteners go, honey is my all time favourite and the one I recommend you use if you have a hankering for something sweet.

  • It contains some B vitamins, vitamins C, D, and E, traces of minerals, and raw enzymes
  • Good amount of antioxidants
  • Known to help soothe the stomach and help with constipation
  • When purchasing honey choose one that is unpasteurized, raw, and not processed

2. Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is my second favourite sweetener, because like honey, it is found naturally, and contains some nutrients in addition to the sugar.

  • Mineral rich (compared to honey) and contains a good amount of antioxidants
  • Research is really just starting to show the benefits maple syrup can provide

What are your favourite tea combinations? Are there other drinks you really liked during pregnancy?

The Efy Tal Jewelry giveaway is on until March 17th. Don't miss your chance to enter and win the cherished Initial Necklace!

Love and Happiness,

Krystal Bernier, Holistic Nutritionist

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