Many women struggle to give up coffee during their pregnancy. After years of drinking a cup of coffee every single morning, the habit alone can be difficult to break. Beyond that, the caffeine withdrawals can cause headaches and irritability. If you were a loyal coffee drinker before you got pregnant, you might have switched to decaf just to keep your morning routine intact. Some women actually look into other options, such as tea. Non-herbal tea, such as green tea or English breakfast tea, has many benefits outside of pregnancy. For one thing, it contains antioxidants, which slow aging and protect the body against cancer. However, studies show that drinking non-herbal teas during pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is a condition that comes on during pregnancy, and it gives women high blood pressure as well as protein in their urine. It usually shows up at approximately 37 weeks, but can sometimes show up sooner. If you develop preeclampsia, you are putting your baby at risk for multiple complications. Babies born to mothers with this condition are often delivered preterm and are smaller than average.

Non-herbal teas might bring on preeclampsia because they still have caffeine content. While teas are a good alternative to the higher caffeine content of coffee, they do still contain some. Caffeine has been shown to bring on preeclampsia, so you should avoid non-herbal teas altogether to decrease your risk. If you still want a morning drink that won’t have any negative side effects, you should try drinking herbal teas. Herbal teas are caffeine free and even have nutrients that can prevent complications in pregnancy. Red raspberry leaf teas are particularly favorable during pregnancy, and their herbs have been shown to prevent preterm labor and postpartum hemorrhage. It is rich in iron and has even been associated with reduced labor pains.

Pregnancy can be a stressful time, and altering your morning routine by skipping the coffee break could add to the stress. If you still want to sit down every morning and find your peace with a cup of comfort, non-herbal tea should also be avoided, as it has associations with complications of its own. However, drinking herbal tea in place of both coffee and non-herbal tea will not only make you feel like you’re taking your usual coffee break, but it will actually benefit your health, your pregnancy’s outcome, and the health of your baby.

Source: Shu-Qin Wei: Tea Consumption During Pregnancy And The Risk Of PreEclampsia. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics Volume 105 Issue 2 May 2009