When you’re pregnant, it’s normal – and even recommended – to start questioning everything you put into your body. Deciphering which foods are safe and which are forbidden can be stressful, and the last thing you want to do is harm your little one. Add to that all the old wives’ tales and pseudoscientific warnings that exist on social media, and things get even more confusing. This may make you wonder if even something as innocuous as ginger tea is safe during pregnancy.
Ginger tea is soothing, relaxing, and can relieve nausea if you have a lot of morning sickness. It tastes great and is easy to make at home, whether you use a pre-made tea bag or brew a cup with fresh ginger root. But, you may have heard that not all teas are safe to drink during pregnancy, and it’s true: some are too high in caffeine and a surprising number of herbal teas can be dangerous during pregnancy. Is ginger tea one of them? Here’s what you need to know.
Is ginger tea safe to drink during pregnancy?
If you’re a fan of ginger tea, you can drink it while pregnant, says board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Kenosha Gleaton. A normal amount of ginger tea – about four cups a day – is considered safe during pregnancy.
Ginger supplements, however, are not as safe because ginger can be concentrated. “An amount that would be greater than the ‘normal’ culinary amounts would be taking ginger supplements,” says Gina Waggott, certified pregnancy nutritionist. “These contain very high concentrations of ginger, far more than you could ever eat in food.” So if you want to add ginger to your diet — or want to use ginger to soothe your morning sickness — make it ginger tea.
Benefits of ginger tea
Drinking ginger tea during pregnancy is actually beneficial, especially if you suffer from nausea or morning sickness. “Ginger tea has been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting,” says Gleaton. “Morning sickness is one of the tough parts of pregnancy, and while there’s no magic cure, you can use ginger tea to help calm your stomach.”
It is also a good alternative to coffee, if you have decided to eliminate it from your diet. “It is naturally caffeine-free and pregnant women are advised to keep caffeine below the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines of 200mg per day,” says Waggott. While ginger tea obviously won’t give you the energy your usual morning latte would, it’s a great hot beverage to sip to start your day. Finally, ginger tea is another extremely important source of hydration during pregnancy.
Ginger tea is beneficial for everyone, even non-pregnant people, so it’s a habit you might want to maintain even after giving birth. Some benefits of ginger tea, according to Gleaton, are that it:
- Relieves motion sickness
- Manages blood pressure and supports heart health
- Manages weight and blood sugar
- Relieves pain and inflammation
- Has anti-cancer properties
- Protects your brain
Risks of ginger tea
Ginger tea is generally considered safe, but there are a few risks to consider before drinking it. Although it is known to relieve nausea, for some it may have the opposite effect. “Negative side effects from ginger tea are rare, but when people experience side effects from consuming ginger, they most often report gas, bloating, nausea, and heartburn or reflux,” says Glaton. “Other reported symptoms include diarrhea and abdominal pain.”
Ginger can also lower blood pressure and have a blood-thinning effect. Gleaton therefore recommends that anyone taking blood thinners or blood pressure medication consult their healthcare practitioner before consuming ginger, especially if they plan to drink one cup daily.
Overall, however, ginger tea is generally considered safe to drink during pregnancy and could be a great option for those desperate for nausea relief. However, if you are worried, it never hurts to call your OB-GYN and discuss the issue with them.
Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, Certified OB-GYN, Natalist Medical Advisor
Gina Waggott, Certified Pregnancy Nutritionist, Founder of Pregnancy Food Checker