There are many alternative medicine health care providers who think that drinking herbal teas during pregnancy is one way of providing optimal support to the health of a pregnant mother. However, there are studies that show green tea and pregnancy cannot really go together. The divide is causing some mainstream confusion about the real effects of drinking green tea during pregnancy period.
Teas are often the source of additional nutrients like iron, calcium and magnesium. For pregnant women, added nutrients will do wonders for the stage they are going through. The problem is there haven’t been enough studies to corroborate the safety of pregnant women who consume teas. And the few studies conducted on the safety of green tea for pregnant women are also too few for experts to make a conclusive stand. On the other hand, there are studies claiming that green tea and pregnancy is safe as long as the beverage is taken in moderation.
Experts advise that green tea and pregnancy is an acceptable combination as long as the pregnant women curb their intake of green tea to no more than 5 cups daily during the stage of pregnancy. This restriction is based on study results that show that although caffeine may not produce undesirable results and cause harm to the developing baby, there are still significant evidences that link slower fetal growth to daily consumption of 400 milligrams or more of caffeine, which can be translated to 6 or more cups of tea. Taking in too much caffeine may also bring on higher risk of late first of second trimester miscarriage.
The combination of green tea and pregnancy is not also viewed as beneficial for the reason that the effectiveness of folic acid may be affected. Folic acid is important in the prevention of neural tube defects in the first month after conception. A recent study highlighted the negative effects of green tea on folic acid. The study reported that a major compound in green tea called EGCG can cause the inactivation of an enzyme in the cancer cell called dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), which is important for folic acid utilization.
When the EGCG in green tea inactivates the DHFR in the cancer cell, the fetus will be unable to receive the complete folic acid benefits that will help prevent it from developing neural tube birth defects. It is also reported that even though the pregnant mother will continuously take folic acid supplements and eat greens rich in folate, there will still be an effect, albeit a slight one. However, it has been pointed out that the data for the EGCG-DHFR study is rather weak, so there hasn’t been enough conclusive evidence to prove that green tea indeed has adverse effects on folic acid.
With all these negative effects of green tea and pregnancy, some professionals still manage to stay steadfast to the widely recognized health benefits of green tea. According to them, drinking green tea while pregnant is safe so long as these women observe caution by drinking the beverage moderately. To stay on the safe side, experts recommend that approximately 2 or 4 cups of green tea a day would likely be a sensible dose. But the best advice when it comes to green tea and pregnancy would be to discuss the issue with a doctor first.
By: Patricia Hammond
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