When pregnant, it’s important to limit caffeine intake to no more than 300 mg daily, roughly equivalent to drinking six cups of yerba mate. Consuming high amounts of caffeine during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight. It’s also possibly unsafe to drink yerba mate while breastfeeding.
The truth is that uncertainties and myths surround this space of time in a woman’s life. Many of these questions can end up disrupting the pregnant woman’s life and the development of the fetus.
For this reason, it is essential to know the properties of plants before using them as natural treatments. Thus, knowing what to avoid during pregnancy and which teas pregnant women can take during this period is possible.
And to help in this knowledge process, we invited nutritionist Janiele da Silva Rodrigues. With the help of this specialist, we will find out if there are benefits of chimarrão in pregnancy and if other herbs can be used during pregnancy.
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Pregnant can take yerba, mate? Nutritionist responds
According to the nutrition specialist, chimarrão and tererê should be avoided during pregnancy. That’s because yerba mate, the plant that gives rise to these drinks, has caffeine and flavonoids in its composition.
“Its excessive consumption can cause the baby’s ductus arteriosus to narrow/close, in addition to causing fetal alterations,” warns Janiele Rodrigues.
For those who don’t know yet, caffeine is an alkaloid that acts as a nervous system stimulant. This substance is present in several drinks and typical foods of everyday life, including yerba mate.
Furthermore, several studies suggest a negative interaction between this alkaloid and pregnancy. “[…] fetal growth reduction, prematurity,
intrauterine growth restriction, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, and malformations” are some of the harmful effects of this substance in pregnancy.
For all these reasons, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the food and drug regulatory agency in the United States, advised expectant mothers to avoid consuming beverages with this substance. According to the agency, the daily caffeine intake should not exceed 200 mg.
But other reasons lead to the prohibition of mate tea during pregnancy. For example, according to specialists, this drink can make it challenging to take advantage of some essential nutrients during this period of a woman’s life.
Another problem is this liquid’s relationship with the appearance and worsening of colic in babies. In this case, the connection occurs because substances present in the mate can be sent to children through breast milk after the mother consumes this drink.
For this reason, neither pregnant nor lactating women should use yerba mate, either in the form of mate or tererê.
Chimarrão with ginger
As already seen, mate is prohibited during pregnancy, so its combination with ginger also becomes unfeasible for future mothers. However, only tea of this root can benefit pregnant women.
If used with moderation and medical supervision, ginger reduces nausea and vomiting in pregnant women. This effect is even more substantial during the first three months of pregnancy when nausea episodes are more frequent.
But despite this benefit, nutritionist Janiele warns of the risks of infusing this spice. “Excess consumption is not recommended, as ginger causes uterine contractions and can lead to miscarriage.”
Star anise combination
Like ginger, star anise is also accessible for pregnant women, as long as this consumption is done consciously and with follow-up.
“This tea [anise] is widely used to treat digestive problems, such as the gas that many pregnant women complain about during pregnancy,” explains the nutrition professional.
However, pregnancy is a very delicate period in a woman’s life; therefore, it is necessary to be extra careful with what you eat and drink. In this case, Janiele mentions that chimarrão and anise form a combination that should not be used.
And if the patient wants to benefit from this last plant, it is necessary to talk to the doctor. “In very high dosages, anise has a toxic effect,” complements the nutritionist.
Mint tererê (mint)
Another ubiquitous question among pregnant women is the use of mint there. For those who don’t know, tererê is the cold version of chimarrão, which is why it is also banned when the woman is expecting the baby.
In addition, mint or mint is also contraindicated in pregnancy. According to some studies, this plant presents the risk of teratogenicity, increasing the possibility of the child being born with congenital malformations.
What teas can pregnant women take?
While tea is a popular drink, pregnant women should be cautious about which ones they consume. Caffeinated teas such as black, green, white, matcha, and chai teas are generally considered safe, but it’s important to moderate their consumption to avoid excessive caffeine intake. It’s best to avoid most herbal teas during pregnancy.
In addition to anise and ginger teas, pregnant women can enjoy other infusions sparingly. Check out some of them and their main benefits:
- Garlic tea: indicated from the third trimester of pregnancy and with medical supervision, can prevent anemia in the mother-to-be
- Lemon balm/melissa tea: recommended after the third month of pregnancy and helps to control anxiety
- White rose tea: unlike the two previous options, this infusion is not meant to be ingested but to prepare a therapeutic bath. It is indicated to calm pregnant women.
- Indian chestnut tea: it is possible to make a decoction with this oil, which is indicated for treating leg edema.
The recommended infusions are fennel tea, cotton tea, and parsley tea during breastfeeding. All of these drinks contribute to increased milk production.
What to avoid in pregnancy?
In the same way that yerba mate tea, the famous chimarrão or tererê, is contraindicated during pregnancy, other foods, drinks, and habits are also unnecessary.
Check out some of them below:
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and other drugs: the use of these products not only harms the woman’s health but can also negatively influence the growth of the fetus or increase the risk of a premature birth
- Drinking soda during pregnancy: soda and all other carbonated and industrialized beverages should be banned. These products increase the risk of complications at this stage of a woman’s life, providing excess weight, gestational diabetes, and even high blood pressure.
- Use of salt and processed foods: hypertension can also be a consequence of excessive use of salt or processed foods, such as hamburgers, jerky, sausage, ham, snacks, etc. In addition to high blood pressure, other problems can arise from these items, such as heart, kidney, and excessive body swelling.
- Fat consumption: avoiding fatty foods, the patient protects herself against obesity
- Drinking fluids with meals: Avoiding this habit can prevent common pregnancy symptoms, such as heartburn or “burning.”
The pregnant woman can enjoy a peaceful and healthy pregnancy by practicing all these tips and avoiding taking a mate and its combinations.
But, for any problems or questions regarding this period, the doctor should be consulted.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.