Can You Drink Chamomile Tea While Pregnant? Benefits And Risks

In fact, there hasn’t been sufficient research conducted on chamomile tea to definitively determine its safety for consumption during pregnancy. Therefore, it is advisable to explore alternative methods to help you relax in the evenings. Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, a registered dietitian for Zenmaster Wellness, suggests avoiding chamomile tea during pregnancy as there is currently no established safe dosage.

What is Chamomile Tea?

Chamomile tea is derived from the flowers of two common herbs, German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The flowers are dried in sunlight, crushed, and stored in an airtight container. The crushed flowers are then added to boiling water to prepare the tea. Chamomile tea has been traditionally used as a medicinal remedy for various conditions such as inflammation, immunity, insomnia, menstruation, and gastrointestinal problems. Due to its floral nature, the tea emits a pleasant aroma that provides soothing effects for both the body and mind (1).

What are the benefits of chamomile tea?

Chamomile is an herb belonging to the Asteraceae plant family, resembling daisies. It is dried and steeped in hot water to create tea. Chamomile tea has an earthy, sweet flavor and is known for its relaxation properties and high antioxidant content. One of its widely recognized benefits is its potential to improve sleep quality. The tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which may induce drowsiness and alleviate insomnia. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 found that postpartum women who consumed chamomile tea for two weeks experienced better sleep quality compared to those who did not.

Additionally, this antioxidant may possess anti-cancer properties against various types of cancer cells, including breast, skin, prostate, and uterine cancers. Some small-scale animal studies have indicated that chamomile might aid in digestion and reduce the risk of certain gastrointestinal conditions. However, further research is required to substantiate these effects in humans.

For pregnant women, the potential benefits of chamomile tea lie in its ability to alleviate insomnia and improve digestion. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACM, a medical toxicologist, co-medical director, and interim executive director from the National Poison Center, remarks that chamomile is commonly used for relaxation and to alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort, such as morning sickness. However, limited studies have been conducted on humans to support the use of chamomile for these conditions.

Is chamomile tea safe to drink during pregnancy?

Due to insufficient scientific research, the safety of consuming chamomile tea during pregnancy remains uncertain. It is advisable to refrain from using herbal or medicinal products like chamomile until their safety has been established through rigorous scientific studies.

While some research has indicated potential benefits of chamomile both during and outside of pregnancy, the lack of substantial evidence regarding its safety for pregnant women and their babies is a concern. Governmental agencies in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union recommend avoiding chamomile, particularly Roman Chamomile, during pregnancy due to the limited safety data available (2, 3, 4, 5).

Unlike conventional drugs, chamomile is classified as a dietary supplement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), exempting it from the FDA’s stringent safety approval process. However, various organizations and researchers have conducted evaluations on chamomile as a medicinal remedy, yielding both positive and potential negative findings. Unfortunately, many of these studies are small-scale and lack robust methodologies.

Given the scarcity of scientific data, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, specifically the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, has acknowledged the limited knowledge regarding the safety of chamomile use during pregnancy and has not provided official guidance to aid decision-making processes.

How much chamomile tea is safe to drink during pregnancy?

It is recommended to consult with your obstetrician before considering the use of any herbal supplements. The safety of chamomile tea has not been well-established based on solid medical evidence. However, if you choose to consume chamomile tea under the guidance of your obstetric provider, you can consider the advice of the United Kingdom’s Special Pharmacy Service, which suggests limiting intake to a maximum of 2 cups of German Chamomile tea per day.

Is caffeine-free chamomile tea safe during pregnancy?

Unlike black tea and green tea derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, pure chamomile tea does not contain any caffeine (although caffeine may be present in certain blends such as Sleepytime® by Celestial Seasonings). The concern regarding the consumption of chamomile tea during pregnancy is not related to caffeine but rather the unknown potential impact on pregnancy outcomes.

If you were to consume black tea or any other caffeinated product, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists recommends limiting caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day [6]. This is roughly equivalent to four 8-ounce cups of black tea or one 12-ounce cup of coffee. Remember, moderation is key!

Benefits of chamomile tea during pregnancy

While the safety of chamomile tea during pregnancy is still uncertain, ongoing research aims to explore its effectiveness and safety in this context. Chamomile tea has been associated with various potential benefits, both during and outside of pregnancy, including:

– Sleep quality: Although chamomile may not be effective for individuals with insomnia, it may help improve sleep quality in those without insomnia. It is commonly found in bedtime teas like Sleepytime® by Celestial Seasonings.

– Relaxation: Chamomile consumption for 2-4 weeks may provide relief from symptoms of anxiety.

– Nausea: Despite limited safety data, the World Health Organization suggests chamomile as a potential option for relieving nausea during early pregnancy, based on individual preferences and available choices.

– Labor: Chamomile possesses properties that can stimulate uterine contractions, raising concerns about the potential for preterm delivery. One study from Iran explored the use of chamomile to induce labor in overdue pregnancies, but further research is needed to confirm these findings.

– Menstrual problems: Outside of pregnancy, chamomile has been found to be effective in treating painful and heavy menstrual periods.

Risks of chamomile tea during pregnancy

It is crucial to have a clear understanding of what you are consuming, particularly when it comes to chamomile tea, before taking any medication or supplement. Sometimes botanical products may contain additional ingredients that are not prominently labeled on the packaging.

There are certain general risks associated with chamomile tea that should be taken into consideration, even outside of pregnancy. These risks include:

– Blood thinning impact: Chamomile may have an impact on blood thinning. It can potentially worsen the effects of certain anticoagulants or blood thinners. However, it’s important to note that the medication warfarin, which is commonly used as a blood thinner, is not prescribed during pregnancy.

– Sedation: Due to its relaxing properties, chamomile can interact with substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, leading to excessive sedation. It is generally advised to avoid alcohol and benzodiazepine use during pregnancy. If you have concerns, consult with your healthcare provider.

– Preterm birth and small babies: One study [10] reported an association between chamomile use during the third trimester and a higher incidence of preterm birth, shorter newborns, and low birth weight compared to non-users.

– Allergic reaction: Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to chamomile, particularly those with hay fever and bronchial asthma triggered by various pollens from grass, olive, and mugwort. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include rash, red eyes, difficulty breathing, or swelling. These reactions can occur both during and outside of pregnancy, so it’s important to be cautious and avoid any potential allergic reactions during pregnancy.

– Miscarriage: There are folk remedies and myths suggesting that chamomile may induce menstrual periods or cause miscarriages. However, scientific evidence does not support these claims. While there is some evidence indicating that chamomile may stimulate the pregnant uterus in the third trimester, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that chamomile can actually cause an early miscarriage or abortion.

It is essential to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance regarding the use of chamomile tea during pregnancy.

When can I start drinking chamomile tea again?

In general, it is considered safe to resume drinking chamomile tea after your pregnancy reaches full term. It may even be beneficial to drink if you go past your due date. However, every pregnancy is unique, so it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before you start consuming chamomile tea again.

Chamomile tea is generally considered safe to drink while breastfeeding, and it may even help with milk production. So feel free to enjoy a cup of chamomile tea as a relaxing treat after a long day of taking care of your newborn.

Alternatives to chamomile tea

We understand that you might be missing your daily caffeine fix during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are plenty of teas that you can safely enjoy while pregnant, and some of them might even help alleviate certain pregnancy symptoms:

Fruit tea ?

Caffeine-free teas made from dried fruits are a great option during pregnancy. They have a delightful aroma, can be enjoyed hot or iced, and you can add honey for a touch of sweetness if desired.

Ginger tea ?

Ginger is often recommended for alleviating pregnancy nausea. It has been used for centuries, and many people swear by its effectiveness. If you’re dealing with a cold during pregnancy, ginger tea can also provide relief for a sore throat and congestion.

Peppermint and fennel tea ?

If you’re experiencing discomfort due to pregnancy bloating, these teas can help promote digestion. Many people find it helpful to drink them after meals.

Black, green, and white tea ☕️

If you’re not ready to eliminate caffeine completely, it is generally safe to consume a cup or two of tea during pregnancy. For reference, a regular cup of coffee contains about 100mg of caffeine (most doctors recommend staying under 200mg per day during pregnancy), while a cup of black tea contains approximately 75mg, and green tea and white tea have even lower caffeine content.

Remember to listen to your body and consult with your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations and guidance on tea consumption during pregnancy.

Precautions to take when consuming chamomile tea during pregnancy

Here are important precautions to follow when drinking chamomile tea while pregnant to avoid any potential health issues:

– Consult with your doctor to determine if adding chamomile tea to your diet is safe for you. If your doctor approves, ask for guidance on a recommended daily dosage.

– Purchase chamomile tea from reliable sources to ensure it doesn’t contain any harmful additives.

– Use dried chamomile flower heads for tea preparation as the leaves may make the tea taste bitter.

– Practice moderation when consuming chamomile tea. Generally, pregnant women can use 15 grams of chamomile extract to make tea, but it is advisable to consult your doctor for personalized recommendations.

– Failing to follow these guidelines while drinking chamomile tea during pregnancy can pose risks to the health of both the mother and the baby.

It is generally best to avoid drinking chamomile tea while pregnant. Chamomile has been found to stimulate contractions, which could potentially lead to miscarriage or preterm birth. The strength of these contractions and their impact on fetal well-being are not yet fully understood due to limited research. It is recommended to avoid chamomile tea throughout most of pregnancy, at least until reaching full term. It is important to consult your healthcare provider for any questions or concerns regarding the consumption of chamomile tea during pregnancy.

Asked Questions?

Will chamomile tea cause miscarriage?

Drinking excessive amounts of chamomile tea during the first trimester can increase the risk of uterine contractions, which may lead to miscarriage and pregnancy loss.

Which teas are good for sleep during pregnancy?

Decaffeinated black tea or green tea can be soothing and relaxing. However, it is important to carefully check the ingredients and consult with your obstetric provider to ensure their safety.

Which teas should you avoid when pregnant?

It is recommended to avoid teas containing Black Cohosh and Blue Cohosh due to potential risks. Caffeinated teas should be limited to no more than four 8-ounce cups per day. Licorice is associated with preterm birth, preeclampsia, and psychosocial issues. Hibiscus may suppress implantation in early pregnancy. Ma Huang, which contains ephedra, can cause heart and blood pressure problems. Pennyroyal may cause miscarriage. St. John’s Wort should also be avoided as studies suggest potential adverse outcomes, although further research is needed for conclusive evidence on its safety during pregnancy.

When consuming herbal teas such as Sleepytime ® by Celestial Seasonings, which contain a variety of herbs including chamomile and licorice, it is essential to carefully review the ingredients and consult with your obstetric provider to ensure their safety for you and your baby.

Can pregnant women drink chamomile tea during the third trimester?

Pregnant women can try consuming chamomile tea during the third trimester, but they should restrict their intake to ensure safety.

Can chamomile tea induce labor?

There is some evidence suggesting that chamomile tea may lead to early labor and preterm birth. However, other studies indicate that it may help induce labor in women who are past their due date. Currently, there is insufficient data to support the use of chamomile tea for labor induction. It is recommended to discuss safer and more effective methods of labor induction with your obstetric provider.

How much chamomile tea is too much during pregnancy?

Although chamomile tea has been used for various medicinal purposes over the centuries, there is insufficient research to determine its safety during pregnancy. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid chamomile tea entirely and explore alternative options for managing your symptoms.

Can I drink chamomile tea during the first trimester of pregnancy?

Consuming a limited amount of chamomile tea during the first trimester is generally considered safe, but it is advisable to avoid large quantities of chamomile tea while pregnant.

Is it safe to drink chamomile tea during the second trimester of pregnancy?

It is generally acceptable to drink chamomile tea during the second trimester, but it is recommended to limit consumption due to potential risks.

Does drinking chamomile tea help with morning sickness?

While the World Health Organization recommends chamomile tea for relieving nausea in early pregnancy based on personal preferences and available options, there is only one medical study showing that chamomile is more effective than a placebo in improving morning sickness.


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