Emily Oster

2 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Can I Drink Herbal Teas During Pregnancy?

Q&A on nausea

Emily Oster

2 min Read

I’m in early pregnancy (seven weeks) dealing with intense nausea and now also have a terrible cold. I want some freaking ginger tea. I have some vague knowledge that some herbs can be dangerous for pregnancy, and the internet is supremely unhelpful in determining which ones those are, so I messaged my OB’s office asking about a few specific ingredients in the lemon-ginger tea I have, and got this infuriating response: “Herbal teas are generally advised to avoid in pregnancy. With so many brands/ingredients/etc. and no studies performed on the safety profile, it is probably safest to not consume.” Surely there are some tea ingredients that we can assume are safe? Are you able to provide some context so I can make a decision like the adult human that I am and not live in fear of arguably one of the most stereotypically innocuous of foodstuffs?

—Rachel

That is incredibly unhelpful!

There are some particular herbs that are a concern in pregnancy because of a possible link (I emphasize “possible” here) with miscarriage. They include dong quai, black and blue cohosh, and licorice. You also want to avoid laxative teas (honestly, probably these are not great outside of pregnancy either).

However, ginger is routinely prescribed for nausea. Lemon is… lemon. I’d check for the ingredients above. Assuming those are not in it, it might well help you, and there isn’t any reason to question the safety. It is true that we do not have detailed randomized trial evidence of every possible tea, but we also do not have evidence that would make us think there was an issue.

Enjoy your tea.

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