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Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also feel like it comes with a lot of restrictions. While your morning cup o’ joe is probably just fine in moderation, if you’re a caffeine lover, you’re going to have to make some changes.

Many people turn to herbal teas to replace their favorite caffeinated latte or mid-morning espresso. And peppermint tea may be the perfect noncaffeinated pick-me-up when you’re pregnant. Here’s what you need to know.

Peppermint tea is considered an herbal tea. It’s made from the peppermint plant, which is native to Europe and Asia.

The peppermint plant is known as an aromatic herb that has a variety of uses as a flavoring agent for everything from mints and toothpaste to foods.

The plant leaves can also be used to create essential oils that include menthol, limonene, and menthone. Menthol oil is probably a smell most people recognize and associate with peppermint.

Peppermint tea is made by steeping the fresh or dried leaves of the plant. It’s naturally caffeine-free.

It’s important to note that research regarding herbal teas and their side effects on pregnancy isn’t robust. This is mostly because researchers don’t want to knowingly put pregnant people (or their babies) at risk for the sake of conducting a study.

But we do know that peppermint tea, in particular, is a popular choice during pregnancy — and to date, very few adverse effects have been recorded when consumed in typical amounts (1 to 2 cups per day).

In general, peppermint tea is considered to be safe, but there’s conflicting information on whether or not it should be consumed throughout all three trimesters.

If you’re concerned about side effects — it’s considered to have “emmenagogue effects” (stimulate menstruation) in excessive amounts — then it’s best to avoid peppermint tea until your second trimester. But note that there’s no documented evidence that peppermint has ever caused a miscarriage.

In fact, it’s considered a better choice over nonherbal teas such as black, oolong, and green teas that do contain caffeine. You should still avoid drinking peppermint tea in large amounts, however.

While herbal teas like peppermint typically don’t contain caffeine, they can upset your stomach or have other side effects when consumed in large doses.

According to a 2017 review that looked at the use of herbal medicines in pregnant women in Asian countries, oral consumption of peppermint in pregnancy is considered generally safe in lower doses.

Breastfeeding

Research regarding the safety of consuming peppermint tea while breastfeeding is also mostly anecdotal.

While one older study — with a very small sample size of 18 women — showed that menthol can pass into breast milk, it didn’t demonstrate any adverse effects on milk supply or on the babies. Also of note, the study looked at the consumption of capsules containing a variety of compounds, and not pure peppermint tea.

Meanwhile, some people recommend using peppermint oil or tea to aid in weaning or to provide relief from engorgement. While there’s a lack of solid evidence that this works, there are personal accounts of its effectiveness. For that reason, you may want to hold off on the peppermint tea until you’re ready to wean.

Peppermint tea is often touted as a great solution for many common ailments associated with pregnancy. Specifically, it’s known as a natural remedy for:

  • curbing nausea and vomiting
  • easing heartburn
  • soothing an upset stomach
  • reducing headaches

However, research into these benefits is scarce and isn’t directly done on pregnant people — or done using tea. For example, one 2013 study on the positive effects of peppermint on nausea and vomiting was done on chemotherapy patients using peppermint oil.

While peppermint tea is widely viewed as safe, you should be mindful of how much you drink and where it was sourced.

Experts agree that most commercially produced peppermint tea is safe for consumption. In contrast, homemade teas that fail to confirm the total amount of herbs used in them can be dangerous, since it’s possible to consume too much or to ingest other herbs that aren’t considered safe in pregnancy.

While you’re pregnant, it’s probably wise to drink no more than 1 to 2 cups of peppermint tea per day. As with many herbal concoctions, if you drink it in larger quantities, you may experience unwanted side effects like stomach upset.

It’s also a good idea to keep your healthcare provider apprised of any herbs you’re ingesting, even if they’re generally considered safe during pregnancy.

Whether you don’t want to give up your daily hot beverage or are searching for a natural remedy for common pregnancy ailments, peppermint tea is a great option. It’s considered generally safe for those who are pregnant or lactating to consume regularly in normal doses.

If you’re concerned about any adverse effects, wait until after your first trimester to indulge in a cup of peppermint tea. Meanwhile, if you’re breastfeeding, you may want to wait to enjoy a cup until you’re ready to wean.