Is Thai Tea Safe During Pregnancy? Iced, Caffeine, and More

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Written by Amy Kaczor RDN

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Thai tea, or Thai milk tea, is a beautiful orange, black tea that is very popular for its proposed health benefits, caffeine content, and warm flavor. However, is it safe during pregnancy?

Thai tea is a type of black tea that is safe to consume during pregnancy, in moderate amounts. Therefore, limit your black tea consumption to no more than one or two cups daily since the exact caffeine content is often unknown.

Due to their caffeine content, black teas are often a concern for pregnant women. So let’s talk about how to enjoy this delicious beverage safely during pregnancy. 

Is Iced Thai Tea Safe for Pregnant Women to Drink?

Thai tea, or Thai milk tea, is a unique black tea typically served iced and sweetened with condensed milk. It has a warm orange color and contains many spices, including cardamom, tamarind, cinnamon, and more. These spices are safe during pregnancy when consumed in typical food amounts. While traditionally served iced, Thai milk tea can also be enjoyed hot. 

Thai tea can be sweetened with sugar or sweetened condensed milk. Common substitutes include cow’s milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. As long as the milk in your Thai tea is pasteurized, it is safe to consume during pregnancy (source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). 

Make sure the ice has been properly made, or if adding your own, use ice cubes that are designed to go in drinks (usually found in the freezer section of the grocery store).

thai milk tea with bubbles on a table

How Much Caffeine is in Thai Tea? 

Since Thai tea is a form of black tea, it does contain some caffeine. However, as with all teas, it is significantly less than a cup of coffee. So let’s break this down!

Typically, a cup of black tea, such as in the Assam black tea used in Thai milk tea, contains about 47 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup (source: Mayo Clinic). This is about half of the caffeine content of a typical cup of coffee, but still significant enough that you should keep an eye on your intake during pregnancy.

Many Thai tea serving sizes are larger than 8oz, and the tea can be strongly brewed, so it’s best to limit yourself to one large, or two small servings of Thai tea per day – that is, if you’re not having any other sources of caffeine.

Additionally, brewing decaf black tea would contain a mere two milligrams of caffeine per cup. However, Thai tea is often brewed longer than most teas, increasing the amounts of caffeine content (Source: Journal of Analytical Toxicology). For more on the caffeine content of decaf tea, see our article here.

The exact caffeine content of Thai tea on its own has not been extensively studied.

Is Thai Tea Good or Bad for Pregnant Women?

Since caffeine is a stimulant and a diuretic (a compound that causes water loss through urination), limiting caffeine-containing foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas, is vital during pregnancy (source: American Pregnancy Association). 

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), consuming less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day is unlikely to cause miscarriage or preterm labor.

a glass of thai tea on a wooden table

While this is approximately four cups of black tea, the exact concentration of caffeine in Thai tea is unknown. The caffeine content of any tea is variable since it depends on many factors, including temperature, tea bag vs. tea leaves, brew time, and much more (source: Pharmacognosy Magazine).

Therefore, to err on the side of caution, limit your black tea consumption, including Thai milk tea, to no more than one or two cups a day.

Additionally, Thai tea contains significant amounts of sugar from the sweetened condensed milk. Numerous studies show that excessive consumption of sugar during pregnancy can contribute to adverse health effects, including gestational diabetes mellitus (source: Nutrients). 

Therefore, Thai milk tea should be consumed in moderation during pregnancy and within the limits of the caffeine intake guidelines from the ACOG. Additionally, to lower the sugar consumption swap out the sweetened condensed milk for a substitute including cow’s milk or non-dairy milk. 

I hope you found this article helpful in learning how to safely enjoy Thai tea during pregnancy.