Are herbal teas safe during pregnancy?

Can I drink raspberry leaf tea, sage tea and other herbal and fruit teas while pregnant?

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In a nutshell

Yes – most herbal teas are perfectly safe,  but raspberry leaf tea (not raspberry tea) – is not recommended before 34 weeks

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The expert view

Many women swap regular tea for herbal teas during pregnancy and, by and large, it is perfectly safe to drink up to four cups a day, says the Food Standards Agency. However, the NHS points out that as there is little information on the safety of herbal and green teas in pregnancy, it is best to drink them in moderation.

Nutritionist Dr Rana Conway advises sticking to teas made from foods you would eat, such as orange, blackcurrant or mint and avoid herbal teas containing black cohosh, ginseng or anything unfamiliar.

“These should be thought of as medicines rather than foods and you should talk to your doctor before having them. Teas containing sage are fine while you’re pregnant, but they may reduce milk production, so they should be avoided if you’re breastfeeding,” she says.

She also cautions against drinking teas  made from ingredients you are not familiar with,  as the properties can be unknown. It is best to buy your teabags from a reputable source, from brands such as Twinings, Clipper and Tea Pigs as they also provide a full list of ingredients on their packaging.

Raspberry leaf and other fruit teas

Fruit teas can make a refreshing alternative to caffeinated tea, while flavours such as ginger and peppermint are often recommended to help with nausea.

Raspberry leaf tea (not raspberry flavoured tea) is not recommended before 34 weeks of pregnancy, but some women use it in the late stages as it is said to have properties that help prepare the uterus for labour – although there isn’t medical evidence of this.

Australian researchers found that mums-to-be taking raspberry leaf after 32 weeks of pregnancy had no adverse effects on themselves, or their babies – but, neither did it shorten the first stage of labour, although there was an average 10 minutes less to endure at the second stage.  

Mums on our forum say 

“I was very overdue with Harry, two weeks – I tried the walking and raspberry leaf tea, I also tried acupuncture, none of which worked.” Charmaine

“I always WANT to like herbal tea and I try very hard to get into it but always feel left down by the taste…” Lollyp0p

Read more about hot drinks in pregnancy:

What are the safe limits for drinking green tea and black tea?

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Is coffee a total no-go in pregnancy?

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