Walk through any grocery store and you’ll find a variety of teas for sale. But if you’re pregnant, not all teas are safe to drink.

Chamomile is a type of herbal tea. You might like to enjoy a soothing cup of chamomile tea on occasion. But some doctors recommend limiting your herbal tea consumption during pregnancy. Here’s a look at the health benefits and risks.

Is chamomile tea safe to drink during pregnancy?

There are two main types of tea: herbal and non-herbal. Non-herbal teas are made from the leaves of tea plants. They contain caffeine. Even the decaffeinated forms contain some caffeine.

It’s generally recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women stay away from, or at least limit, the amount of caffeine that they consume each day. This is because a developing baby can’t process caffeine in their system as well as an adult.

This recommendation includes any kind of caffeine, and not only the caffeine in tea. There’s caffeine in foods and drinks including chocolate, coffee, and soda. If you consume more than one source of caffeine per day during your pregnancy, you’re increasing the amount of caffeine in your system.

Therefore, it’s important to be aware of all sources of caffeine.

The following categories include teas that are non-herbal and contain high amounts of caffeine:

Green tea might be a good choice. Be aware of caffeine intake when pregnant and keep intake to a moderate amount.

What is herbal tea?

Herbal teas are made from various parts of plants. They are made from a plant’s roots, berries, and seeds. True herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free. Read the label to find out about any teas you aren’t sure of.

Not all herbal teas are considered safe for pregnant women by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is mostly because of the types of herbs used and the amount of studies that the FDA has been able to conduct with pregnant women.

What are the benefits of drinking chamomile tea?

Chamomile tea looks similar to and is related to the daisy. There is German or Roman chamomile. It has been used since the time of ancient Egypt. The one used most often is German chamomile.

For most people, drinking chamomile tea has health benefits. These include a dose of antioxidants, help with sleep, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Chamomile tea is known to have a calming effect and help prevent colds and other illnesses. Plus, drinking tea of any kind can help keep your body hydrated.

Still, many doctors use caution in relation to pregnant women drinking herbal teas, including chamomile. This is simply because there haven’t been enough studies conducted to ensure their safety.

Risks of drinking chamomile tea during pregnancy

Chamomile tea contains anti-inflammatory agents. These may be dangerous during pregnancy. It depends on your medical history, how much you consume, and other factors.

It’s important to remember that not all herbal teas are the same, and there are those that doctors tell their pregnant patients to stay away from.

As with anything in your diet during pregnancy, discuss drinking chamomile tea with your doctor. Some doctors may suggest limiting the amount you drink, while others may prefer that you not drink it at all.

You also want to be sure to use commercially prepared chamomile tea if you choose to drink it during your pregnancy. Herbal teas that are commercially processed use herbs from safe sources.

Can chamomile tea help induce labor?

You may have heard that chamomile tea can induce labor. But there isn’t currently any medical evidence to support this.

There are some herbal teas that doctors warn against in early pregnancy. These include blue cohosh and black cohosh teas.

Are any herbal teas safe to drink during pregnancy?

Some herbal teas are considered safer than others for pregnant women. Red raspberry leaf tea and nettle tea are used in many herbal teas. These are generally considered to be pregnancy-safe.

But during pregnancy, you should stay away from any herbal teas that are marketed for weight loss or dieting, or those that can be used as laxatives. Also, don’t drink those that contain any type of nutritional supplement. This is because the supplements can cause complications or interactions with other medications.

Keep in mind that even herbal teas labeled as “pregnancy teas” haven’t had enough studies done on them to be considered completely safe during pregnancy. Ask your doctor before trying out new types of tea.

Next steps

To date, there haven’t been enough studies conducted on herbal teas and pregnancy. That means the jury is still out on whether drinking chamomile tea during pregnancy is safe.

Always use caution and ask your doctor about drinking herbal teas. Many common teas might be a poor choice when pregnant. Your doctor can recommend pregnancy-safe beverages for you to stay hydrated for the next nine months.

Q:

What are some alternative, pregnancy-safe stomach soothers for women who like to drink chamomile tea?

A:

Ginger is an herbal product that is frequently recommended for mild nausea and vomiting. Occasional use is considered safe, but high doses can increase the chances of miscarriage.  Ginger ale for nausea is a common home remedy. Gingersnap cookies are a popular snack item for pregnant women. Ginger is not suggested for those close to labor, or those with a history of bleeding or miscarriage.

Kimberly Dishman, MSN, WHNP-BC, RNC-OBAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.