Iced Tea During Pregnancy: How Much Is Considered Safe?

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Feeling hot and thirsty during pregnancy is pretty common, so it’s understandable if you want to reach for some iced tea – but you’ve probably wondered about whether it’s safe during pregnancy.

While iced tea is safe for pregnant women, having too much is not advised. Iced tea contains caffeine as well as sugar. When taken in excess, these can have adverse effects on the baby and the mother.

So, what type of iced tea can you consume, how much can you have, and how can you make it healthier at home? Discover answers to all of these questions below!

Is It Safe to Drink Iced Tea When Pregnant?

Iced tea is safe during pregnancy when consumed in moderation and prepared with a few precautionary steps (which we will discuss). Since iced tea often contains caffeine, sugar or syrup, raw fruits, or other additives, you want to be mindful of safety recommendations.

These safety components will differ based on how the iced tea is prepared. With commercial teas, the amounts of caffeine and sugar are standardized. 

glasses of freshly brewed lemon iced tea on the patio

With homemade iced tea, you have the freedom to determine how the tea is brewed, how much sugar is added, as well as what other additives (such as fruits) combine to create the final product.

Caffeine: What Is The Maximum Allowance During Pregnancy?

All teas contain caffeine. The amount depends on the type of tea and the steep time. Even decaf teas contain caffeine – but much less than regular tea.

Pregnant women are advised to limit caffeine intake to < 200 mg per day (source: APA).  

According to the results of a study, moderate intake of caffeinated drinks may cause decreased fetal growth. The researchers link this correlation to caffeine’s ability to constrict blood vessels in the uterus and placenta.

Furthermore, caffeine can also negatively affect the stress hormones of the baby causing heart diseases, obesity, or diabetes (source: NIH). 

The following table shows common and popular tea brands you’ll find on the market and their caffeine content per 6 oz serving according to steep time:

BrandClassificationCaffeine in mg
1 min Steep Time3 min Steep Time5 min Steep Time
Bigelow Constant CommentDecaf-Black< 1.8< 1.8< 1.8
Stash Premium Green DecafDecaf-Green5.58.710
Lipton DecafDecaf-Black<
Lipton RegularBlack173847
Stash Darjeeling BlackBlack142227
Tazo AwakeBlack595961
Two Leaves and a Bud Organic DarjeelingBlack193949
Twinings Lady GreyBlack142930
Twinings English BreakfastBlack142225
Tazo China Green TipsGreen234641
Stash Premium GreenGreen162736
Stash Fusion Green and WhiteGreen, White152628
Exotica China WhiteWhite234147

(source: PubMed)

As you can see, the longer you steep tea, the higher the caffeine content. 

Here is the caffeine content for some popular commercial iced tea brands:

Iced Tea BrandCaffeine content in mg
4C Iced Tea2 mg/12 oz
Arizona15 mg/8 0z
Gold Peak48 mg/18.5 oz
Honest90 mg/16.9 oz
Lipton11 mg/12 0z
Pure Leaf63 mg/16.9 oz
Tazo31 to 45 mg/13.8 oz

(source: Coffee Affection)

As you can see, the caffeine content is quite varied between popular store-bought brands. It’s always a good idea to check the mg of caffeine on the label during pregnancy.

Sugar Consumption In Iced Tea When Pregnant

Like caffeine, too much added sugar is discouraged during pregnancy. Consuming high amounts of added sugar is linked to an increased risk of weight gain, diabetes, and obesity (source: NIH). 

The following table lists some common commercial iced tea brands and their sugar content:

Iced Tea BrandAdded sugar in gAdded sugar in teaspoon/s
Arizona Green Tea w/ Ginseng & Honey276
Steaz Sparkling Green Tea in Raspberry143
Honest Tea Loris Lemon123
Lipton Brisk Green348
Nestea Sweetened Lemon Iced Tea358
Snapple Earl Grey Black Tea123
Snapple Iced Tea Peach358
Tea’s Tea Naturally Sweet Mango Oolong143

(source: Harvard University)

On the other hand, here’s what a regular homemade iced tea looks like in comparison:

Iced Tea BrandAdded sugar in gAdded sugar in teaspoon/s
Homemade Iced Green Tea w/ 1 tsp sugar41
Homemade Mint Tea Unsweetened 00

(source: Harvard University)

The conclusion here is that if you make your own homemade iced tea, then you have MUCH more control over caffeine and sugar. A weakly brewed iced tea with minimal added sugar is your best bet. You can, of course, enjoy any type of the above iced teas – if you keep an eye on the sugar and caffeine content.

woman drinking commercial iced tea

Other Considerations for Iced Tea During Pregnancy

Other ingredients in homemade iced tea may include ice, fruits, and sugar.

While you can be liberal on the addition of ice in your iced tea, beverages that are too cold, when drunk fast, can cause the discomfort of “brain freeze” (source: The Faseb Journal). While not a serious condition, this may be something to consider if you’re prone to it.

Adding fresh fruits like lemon or lime is also popular in iced teas. While this is safe, make sure to thoroughly wash the lemon (or any other fruit) before slicing and adding it to your tea.

Iced teas need to be brewed at 195 °F (90.6 °C) for 3–5 minutes. If you’re using a tea brewer and not steeping your tea, it is important to clean it regularly.

Also, because teas are made with water and sugar, they can spoil easily when not properly refrigerated. In the fridge, iced tea is considered safe for up to 8 hours (source: Food Safety News). 

Blended teas, those with flavors such as mint, peach, ginger, etc. are safe.  Some herbal teas aren’t recommended during pregnancy, so if you’re making an iced tea with non-standard ingredients, then check if they’re pregnancy-safe first.

These ingredients are added mainly for sensory attributes such as smell, aroma and/or color (source: NIH). 

peach iced tea in glass jars

In summary, for homemade iced teas, we recommend not adding too much sugar. For those you buy at supermarkets or online, check the label for caffeine and sugar content in comparison to pregnancy recommendations.

Iced teas can be refreshing, especially on hot days but just remember you may need to limit your consumption to stay within safety recommendations during pregnancy. We hope you found this article about iced teas helpful.