Green Tea And Pregnancy - Warnings To Mother And Baby!

Green tea and pregnancy is a tricky subject. We now know that green tea is something of a miracle beverage. Hundreds of studies show the many benefits of drinking green tea on a daily basis. But during pregnancy, the rules of health and nutrition can change dramatically.

Caffeine and Pregnancy

In the past, it was thought that the caffeine found in tea and coffee might contribute to low birth weight, and thus should be avoided. Studies have shown, however, that it would take about 8 cups of coffee per day to affect birth weight or lead to miscarriage. Since green tea has about half the amount of caffeine contained than coffee, this drink is unlikely to affect pregnancy. This aspect of green tea and pregnancy is one you don’t have to worry about.

Folate and EGCG

It turns out, however, that pregnant women probably should limit their intake of green tea. This beverage is full of antioxidants, which are generally very good for us. One of them, however, may cause problems during pregnancy.

Folic acid is one of the supplements pregnant women are encouraged to take. A lack of folate has been associated with neural birth tube defects in babies.

Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is present in high levels in green tea. The molecules that make up this antioxidant compound are similar in structure to methotrexate, another compound found naturally in our bodies.

Methotrexate helps us by bonding with an enzyme called dihydrofolate reductase. Once bonded, these two together can kill cancer cells. If, however, EGCG bonds with dihydrofolate reductase, it deactivates the enzyme. This in turn affects the way our body uses folate.

In short, EGCG could reduce folic acid and increase the risk of birth defects such as spina bifida. New green tea and pregnancy studies should help us understand how great these risks are.

How Much Is Too Much?

Although drinking some green tea is probably fine during pregnancy, it is not yet clear just what that amount might be. Most health professionals think that drinking a moderate amount of tea is fine. As with anything that has yet to be studied thoroughly, abstinence is the only way to absolutely ensure avoiding the problem. However, you may want to balance that with the many health benefits of drinking even a little bit of green tea!

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About The Author, Julian Tai
The relationship between green tea and pregnancy is complex. What are the risks of drinking green tea when pregnant? Is there any other green tea side effects that you have to be aware of?