Chai Tea while pregnant
The ritual of making and drinking tea has been practiced for thousands of years, and for good reason. Tea contains polyphenols to protect your heart, antioxidants that may lower your risk of cancer and other nutrients that boost your immune system. When you're expecting, the benefits get even better. A comforting cup may ease morning sickness, and even make for a shorter labor. However, some teas are potentially dangerous during pregnancy and should be avoided.
Herbal teas can help hydrate the body when women don't want to drink plain water, " says Amelia Hirota, D.Ac., an herbalist and acupuncturist at Phoenix Fertility Center in East Greenwich, R.I. Plus, some provide important pregnancy nutrients, including calcium, magnesium and iron. Rooibos tea, in particular, is a good one to try because of its antioxidant properties; it's also caffeine-free. Other herbal teas may help alleviate morning sickness (ginger and mint), prevent insomnia (chamomile) and promote more effective contractions during labor (red raspberry leaf). "Many midwives believe that raspberry leaf tones the uterine muscle, which may help make contractions more efficient, " says Hirota.
Nettle leaf (also known as stinging nettles) is an herb commonly found in pregnancy teas and recommended by many herbalists and midwives. "It's a fabulous source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, vitamins A, C and K, and potassium, " says Hirota. However, make sure any nettle tea you drink uses dried leaves, not root (the label should list nettle leaf), and don't drink too much, especially in the first trimester, because of its stimulating effect on the uterus. However, it is safe to drink throughout the second and third trimesters, Hirota says. You can steep your own by adding an ounce of dried nettle leaf to a quart of boiling water.