Is Green Tea Safe During Pregnancy? Quantities + Types

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Green tea is one of the most beloved drinks for pregnant and non-pregnant women alike. What are its components, and is it safe to consume while pregnant?

Green tea is safe during pregnancy as long as your consumption of caffeine is within the recommended daily ranges of 200-300 mg.

As you may know, there are many different types of green tea. In this article, I have made a complete guide to everything you need to know about drinking green tea while pregnant. Let’s get right into it! 

Is Green Tea Safe to Drink During Pregnancy?

Green tea is generally safe during pregnancy as long as you keep your caffeine and sugar intake in check. Some varieties of green tea may be high in both.

green tea in a glass cup

Green tea contains caffeine. You need to monitor your caffeine intake during pregnancy, as excess intake can lead to birth defects and low birth weight in your infant (source: Karger). 

Below is a table that summarizes popular brands and types of green tea, as well as the amount of caffeine and some notes on their sugar content.

Type of Green TeaServing SizeAmount of Caffeine 
Arizona Green Tea8 oz
1 can/ 24 oz
7.5 mg caffeine
Added sugar of 17 g per 8oz
Added sugar of 51 g per can/24oz
Teavana Emperor’s Clouds and Mist (Tea bags)Grande (16 fl oz) 2 teabags16 mg
Gunpowder Type Green Tea8 oz(3-4g powder)35-40 mg
Lipton Green Tea1 tea bag28-38 mg
Longjing Type Green Tea5 g48 mg
Luzianne Green Tea and Honey8 oz71 mg
Matcha Powder 2-4 g or ½-1 tsp19-44 mg
Nestea Iced Green Tea12 oz13 mg
Added sugar of 28 g
Sencha Type Green Tea1 tsp75-80 mg
Starbucks Matcha LatteGrande (16 fl oz)80 mg
Added sugar of 32 g
Starbucks Green Tea (hot/iced)Grande (16 fl oz)25 mg
Tencha Type Whole Leaf Green Tea2 Tablespoons6 g8.4-9.6 mg
Twinings Jasmine Green Tea1 tea bag25 mg
Twinings Pure Green Tea1 tea bag30-40 mg
Yogi Green Tea1 tea bag15 mg

Caffeine is not the only compound in green tea that you should be concerned about. Some ready-to-drink green teas have added sugars, which may not be the best option for you, especially if you are at high risk for gestational diabetes. 

Ready-to-drink green teas such as Nestea and AriZona Green teas are very high in added sugars, especially the AriZona brand. Take note that the nutrition facts listed at the back of the can are for a serving of 8 oz. If you finish the whole can, you will get three times all the nutrients listed on the back, including calories, caffeine, and sugar. 

If you are really craving ready-to-drink green tea, Starbucks iced green tea is a good option. Their hot/iced green tea is served with no added sugar and has a low caffeine content of 25 mg. The Starbucks Matcha latte is a different story as it has higher caffeine content, as well as added fat from milk and added sugar. 

When you are steeping your own tea at home, keep in mind that the addition of milk and sugar to your tea may decrease its nutritional value, although it is not harmful to add these ingredients in moderate amounts. 

Also, the length of time and temperature you use when you steep your tea may affect the amount of caffeine your tea contains. The longer you steep your tea and the higher the temperature, the more caffeine you get in your drink.

green tea teabag brewing in hot water in a blue mug

How Much Green Tea Can I Drink During Pregnancy?

The amount of green tea you can consume while pregnant depends on its caffeine content. We recommend consuming less than 200 mg of caffeine per day.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 200 mg of caffeine per day is the safe amount for pregnant women, while 300 mg is the maximum limit. This is because caffeine travels across the placenta and passes to your baby (source: APA).

Consumption of more than 300 mg of caffeine for a long period of time during pregnancy can increase the risks of miscarriage and birth defects (source: NIH).

Different brands and types of green tea contain different amounts of caffeine. As long as you consume less than 200 mg of caffeine per day (which is around 2-3 cups of ordinary green tea), you should be fine.

Remember that green tea may not be your only source of caffeine for the day. There are multiple food items that contain caffeine like sodas, energy drinks, coffee, chocolate, and even some medicines, so keep this in mind when you are computing your daily intake. 

Is Green Tea Safe in Every Trimester? 

Green tea is safe to drink in every trimester in moderation. Its effects on folic acid and iron can be combated by moderate tea consumption and nutrient supplementation.

Most miscarriages occur within the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, which is considered the first trimester (source: APA). This is the reason why some women see the first trimester as a more sensitive time. 

Green tea and other teas have a compound called catechin, which interacts with the nutrient folate and prevents absorption (source: NIH). 

It is recommended that all women of reproductive age intake at least 400 mcg of folic acid per day to decrease the risk of neural tube defects (source: CDC). This amount of folic acid supplementation is enough to negate any effects of catechin.

Another nutrient that is affected by a component of tea is iron. Iron absorption is decreased by the tannins found in tea. Research suggests that drinking teas closer to mealtime lessened the negative effects of tannins in iron absorption (source: Pennsylvania State University).

Pregnant women need at least 27 mg of iron per day (source: Queensland Government).

green tea leaves with wooden spoon

Can Green Tea Cause Miscarriage? 

There are many myths surrounding the intake of green tea and the risk of miscarriages, but there is no scientific evidence of any correlation between the two. As long as you consume moderate amounts of green tea and keep track of your daily caffeine intake, you and your baby will be safe. 

Is Decaf Green Tea Safe for Pregnant Women?

Decaffeinated teas still contain a small amount of caffeine. According to USDA Regulations, to be considered decaf, 97% of caffeine must be removed. 

Decaf green tea is safe to consume during pregnancy, but take note that decaf products still contain caffeine and should still be taken in moderation.

For your reference, below is a table of popular decaffeinated green tea brands and the amount of caffeine that can be found in them. 

Tea BrandServing SizeAmount of Caffeine
Bigelow Decaffeinated Green Tea1 tea bag1-8 mg
Twinings Decaf Green Tea200 mL2 mg
Lipton Decaf Green Tea1 tea bag4 mg
Yogi Pure Green Tea Decaf1 tea bag10 mg
Luzianne Decaf Green Tea1 tea bag4-6.8 mg
Stash Tea Decaf Premium Green Tea1 tea bagLess than 2 mg

There are different decaffeination processes, including carbon filters, water processing, and the use of chemical solvents. There are some misconceptions about the use of chemical solvents.

Ethyl acetate and methylene chloride are typically used during this process. Both solvents have been approved for use in food by the FDA as long as methylene chloride does not exceed 10 ppm in the food item after processing (source: FDA).

There is no scientific evidence that undergoing these processes poses any significant risk to pregnant women or their babies (source: BBC).

Does Green Tea Affect Folic Acid or Folate Levels?

As explained above, green tea contains catechin, which hinders the absorption of folate. Folate is very important throughout pregnancy, but especially prior to conception and at the first few weeks after conception (source: APA).

Folate is important for red blood cells and the healthy growth and functions of cells. It is also important for the reduction of risks of neural tube defects (NTD) such as spina bifida and anencephaly (source: Total Health).

Studies have shown that mothers who consume green tea regularly have lower folate levels than non-tea drinkers (source: Bioscience Trends).

However, studies also show that with moderate tea intake and adequate folate supplementation, these negative interactions do not pose serious risks. 

transparent cup of green tea on a table

What Are The Benefits of Green Tea During Pregnancy?

Green tea, despite some of its drawbacks, has some proven benefits. It is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. Catechin (a compound discussed above) is one polyphenol.

Polyphenols are said to boost digestion and aid in brain health. They also help with the management of type 2 diabetes, decrease the risk of heart disease, and protect against free radicals that might cause cancer (source: Healthline).

Can Green Tea Help with Pregnancy Nausea? 

You may have encountered some lists of food items that help with nausea. Most of these lists include ginger, lemon, watermelon, high protein foods, plain toasts, and crackers, but green tea is not usually on these lists.

This is because green tea, and tea in general, has actually been seen to worsen the effects of nausea as it has tannins and caffeine.

Tannins are polyphenols that may make your mouth feel dry and give tea its slightly bitter taste. These sensations combined may worsen symptoms of morning sickness. 

If you really want to drink green tea, it may be best to drink it cold, as cold foods are less to trigger nausea. Avoid drinking green tea on an empty stomach, and don’t over-steep it, since this increases the tannin content.

If you like to start your day with a cup of tea, opt for ginger tea, honey lemon tea, or peppermint tea as these do not contain caffeine and tannins. These teas have also been proven to lessen nausea.

Green tea is an easy staple for people all around the world. Enjoying it shouldn’t be something you have to give up after getting pregnant, so long as you enjoy it in moderation.