Green tea contains antioxidants found to be beneficial in helping prevent cancer, weight gain and other medical conditions. But pregnant women should drink green tea in moderation only, for there may be some risks associated with drinking herbal teas. As with any drink that has caffeine, one of the risks reported is neural tube defect, which is a serious birth defect caused by insufficient folic acid (folate) in a woman’s diet before and during pregnancy. However, one cannot ignore the health benefits that pregnant women can take advantage of by drinking green tea; therefore, pregnant women should drink it no more than one cup a day to avoid the risks while reaping its benefits.
Lower Blood Sugar
Pregnant women are prone to developing diabetes, particularly gestational diabetes. The placenta produces the hormones to help sustain the mother and the baby during pregnancy. The hormones produced make cells resistant to insulin. The more hormones a pregnant woman’s body produces, the more it becomes difficult for insulin to absorb glucose (blood sugar), resulting in elevated blood sugar.
According to an article published in 2008 by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), green tea can help control blood sugar in the body. Animal studies suggest that green tea may help prevent the development of type 1 diabetes and can slow its progression once developed. For more information about the research published by UMMC, please see Resources below.
As a pregnant woman increases her appetite to sustain her and the baby, her blood cholesterol may also increase. This can result to a life-threatening preeclampsia, a condition wherein the pregnant woman develops abnormally high blood pressure. Preeclampsia can threaten the lives of the mother and child.
The article published by the UMMC also mentions that green tea lowers total cholesterol and raises HDL (high-density lipoprotein), also known as “good” cholesterol, in both animals and people. The polyphenols found in green tea can help block the intestinal absorption of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol and promote its excretion from the body.
Prevent Gum Infection
Pregnant women may suffer from periodontal disease, which can lead to the appearance of a large lump on the inflamed gum tissue. This lump is non-cancerous and appears near the gum line. This lump can make it difficult to speak and eat.
According to a study published March 13, 2009, by Science Daily, green tea can prevent gum disease because of its anti-inflammatory properties. For more information about this study, please see Resources below.
By drinking a cup of green tea daily, pregnant women can improve their dental health and help reduce their risk of gum disease.