Is Black Tea Safe During Pregnancy? Caffeine, Decaf + More

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Many women choose black tea as a lower caffeine alternative to coffee during their pregnancy. However, it might not be as low in caffeine as you think!

Black tea is a safe beverage option that may even provide some health benefits for pregnant women. However, it does still contain a significant amount of caffeine.

Stick with no more than four cups of black tea daily to stay under the recommended 200 milligrams of caffeine. 

Does the trimester you drink black tea in make a difference? What is the caffeine content of different varieties? We’ll answer these questions and more below! 

Is it Safe to Drink Black Tea in Pregnancy? 

Overall, black tea is safe to drink during pregnancy. It may even provide some health benefits, since it contains polyphenols such as theaflavins and thearubigins (source: Nutrients).

These antioxidant compounds protect the body’s cells against harmful free radicals and have been found to prevent diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and much more. 

The term “black tea” is not easily defined since it generally refers to teas made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is used to make many different varieties of tea.

black tea leaves on a plate

Some common types of black tea include English Breakfast tea, chai tea, Earl Grey tea, Irish Breakfast tea, and more. The original Lipton tea is a black tea as well. 

All of these black tea varieties are safe for pregnant women, but they may have slightly different amounts of caffeine per cup. See below for more details on the caffeine content.

Can I Drink Black Tea in the First Trimester?

As long as you stay within the recommended caffeine intake limits, drinking black tea during the first trimester of your pregnancy is considered safe. 

Many pregnant women wonder if caffeine consumption is more dangerous during the first trimester. Current guidelines make no clear distinction between caffeine intake recommendations during pregnancy’s first, second, or third trimesters.

Therefore, the 200 milligram a day limit applies throughout the duration of your pregnancy. 

How Much Caffeine is in Black Tea? 

Black tea itself typically has more caffeine than green tea or herbal tea. However, it contains less caffeine than coffee, making it a good alternative for coffee drinkers who would like that comforting, hot beverage without the high caffeine levels. 

The recommendation for caffeine intake during pregnancy is no more than 200 milligrams per day (source: March of Dimes). This is because caffeine can cause a pregnant woman’s blood pressure and heart rate to increase.

pouring black tea into tea cups

Caffeine is a also diuretic. This means it causes increased urination, which can potentially lead to dehydration. 

Let’s compare the caffeine content of a few different types of black tea. For reference, a cup of brewed black coffee contains about 140 milligrams of caffeine (source: Cleveland Clinic).

Tea Caffeine When Brewed For Five Minutes 
Lipton Original Black Tea47 mg
Tazo Earl Grey29 mg
Twinings English Breakfast25 mg
Twinings Irish Breakfast 30 mg
Stash Darjeeling Black27 mg

(source: Caffeine Informer)

Based on the amounts in the chart, you can see it’s best to stick with four cups of black tea or less per day.

Keep in mind that if you consume other caffeine sources throughout the day, you’ll need to include these in your total intake. Other caffeinated beverages include different types of tea, coffee, or caffeinated soda pop.

Additionally, brewing your tea for shorter or longer amounts of time can also impact the amount of caffeine.

For example, a cup of black tea brewed for one to three minutes would have less caffeine than if it was brewed for five minutes.

woman drinking black tea

Is Decaf Black Tea Safe for Pregnant Women? 

If you are worried about the caffeine content of black tea, decaf tea may be a good option. It only contains about two milligrams of caffeine per cup (source: Mayo Clinic).

However, as mentioned above, brewing and processing the tea can affect this amount. For example, a more strongly brewed black tea, even decaf, can have more caffeine. For more on decaf during pregnancy, read our article here.

I hope this article has helped you break down the information on black tea during pregnancy.