If you love hibiscus tea, you are not alone.
The popularity of hibiscus tea is on the rise due to its many health benefits and because it is decaffeinated.
But with all the health benefits, Is hibiscus tea good for you when pregnant?
Hibiscus tea and pregnancy
Hibiscus tea comes with a lot of health benefits, which include dealing with constipation, preventing cancer, blood sugar, and so on. It also comes with a lot of nutrients, like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, vitamins, and so on.
The nutritional value and health benefits have led to the increased use of hibiscus tea. As such, even women who are in their reproductive age, the ones who are pregnant, and those breastfeeding may find themselves drinking hibiscus tea.
However, if you are pregnant, you need to find out if your favorite beverage of hibiscus tea is safe for you, your unborn child, or the lactating one.
The best approach would be to get advice from your doctor on whether you should take hibiscus tea, and how you should take it.
A study done on Sprague-Dawley rats showed that exposure to Hibiscus sabdariffa extracts when pregnant or lactating had adverse effects on its reproductive system.
For instance, the study revealed that the use of Hibiscus sabdariffa extracts increases postnatal weight. Also, it increases the mass body index during puberty and may even cause a delay in the onset of puberty.
The adverse effects on the reproductive-related issues also point out a possible problem during pregnancy.
Hibiscus tea, just like any other type of tea, is a stimulant. As such, when induced, it activates the mind and also starts to stimulate different parts of your body. For instance, if you take hibiscus tea, it may stimulate your uterus to begin contracting.
A contracting uterus may lead to miscarriage
Another reason why you should be cautious with using hibiscus tea while pregnant is that it causes abortion.
Although it is not clear how much of it causes abortion, it is not worth taking the risk.
Hibiscus can also lead to pre-term labor, especially if you are in your third trimester of pregnancy. Medical personnel has widely discouraged the use of hibiscus tea during pregnancy and especially as you near your due date.
Lactating mothers should also be cautious while using hibiscus tea as breast milk contains most of the substances that the mother induces.
The use of hibiscus tea as a natural birth control method in India goes back to ancient times. The extracts from the hibiscus plant can affect the estrogen levels in the body, which may prevent pregnancy and implantation.
Hibiscus tea may also interfere with the hormonal balance in your body. Thus, this is a good reason why you should avoid hibiscus tea when you are pregnant, especially in the first trimester.
So, does it mean that hibiscus tea has only adverse effects related to pregnancy?
With moderate use and with a lot of caution, hibiscus tea may have some benefits to you when you are pregnant, particularly when you add honey or other sweetener.
Benefits of taking hibiscus tea while pregnant
Hibiscus tea comes packed with a ton of antioxidants, which might be beneficial to your body.
However, if you want to try out the tea for its health benefits, make sure you do so after the first trimester when the pregnancy is established.
Among the many antioxidants found in hibiscus tea include flavonoids. Flavonoids have elements that protect the body cells from damage. Thus, consuming the antioxidants in hibiscus tea can help boost your immune system and other body systems, which will leave you and your baby healthy and strong.
2. Blood pressure
One known health benefit of taking hibiscus tea is lowering blood pressure, which makes it ideal for people with high blood pressure.
A cup of hibiscus tea every morning can help lower your blood pressure by causing the dilation of blood vessels.
Naturally, when one is pregnant, the blood pressure increases. Thus, taking a cup of hibiscus tea at such a time can help lower the blood pressure and with minimum side effects.
However, make sure to consult your doctor or midwife before taking hibiscus tea to lower your blood pressure during pregnancy.
Is taking tea during pregnancy safe?
Drinking a cup of tea during pregnancy is seen as a safe alternative to drinking alcohol or coffee.
Some types of tea come with a lot of nutrients such as zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and so on.
The nutrients keep you and your baby healthy and strong and also help the baby to get the much-needed nutrients for proper growth.
Calcium, for example, comes in handy in helping the bones of the baby grow and also makes them strong.
Potassium, on the other hand, gives you the energy you need to carry through the pregnancy.
However, taking some types of tea may pose risks to you and your unborn baby.
Most non-herbal beverages such as black tea, green tea, and white contain a lot of antioxidants that can be beneficial to you and your baby.
On the other hand, they contain caffeine, which may be harmful to you and the baby. The teas contain various levels of caffeine, and you should be careful as you pick one for use during pregnancy. The leaves of white tea, for instance, provide the highest levels of caffeine.
Black and green tea may contain less caffeine than white tea, but their caffeine levels shoot up when you brew them in hot water. You should, therefore, decide to either take your cup of tea cold or brew it for a short time.
Caffeine may have some adverse effects on you or the unborn baby. For example, caffeine makes you anxious and jittery, which may not be safe for you.
Additionally, when you induce caffeine, it also gets to the baby in the womb. Unfortunately, the baby cannot metabolize the tea the same way you do.
Caffeine can also cause miscarriage by stimulating the uterus to start contracting.
Therefore, you should avoid caffeine intake during pregnancy. Alternatively, you can consult your midwife or doctor to find out how safely you can take caffeinated tea.
Decaffeinated tea can be seen as a safer option during pregnancy. However, the herbal tea may contain herbs that will stimulate the uterus to start contracting, leading to a miscarriage.
Examples of herbal tea that may cause problems during pregnancy include hibiscus, rosemary, and lemongrass.
You should avoid the herbs when you are pregnant or lactating.
Tea, whether herbal or non-herbal, comes with a lot of health benefits. They are packed with antioxidants and nutrients that help your body to grow healthy and strong. They can also deal with some illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
If you are pregnant, some of the antioxidants and nutrients can make you and your baby healthy and strong.
But as we have seen, the adverse effects of tea, both caffeinated and decaffeinated, during pregnancy far outweigh the benefits.
Hibiscus tea, for example, may cause miscarriage and abortion.
As such, you should avoid hibiscus tea during pregnancy. Alternatively, consult your doctor to know how best you can use it.