The gift of life is a beautiful thing. But it can also be a maze; what is safe or not safe to eat, drink, and do during each trimester? As an expecting mother, you're not just thinking about your health, but the well-being of your baby too. And though natural remedies are generally considered safe to use, there’s one herbal tea that seems to fall in the grey area of this conversation: stinging nettle tea.
Is it safe to drink stinging nettle tea during pregnancy, or is it not? We’ll explore the safety of drinking nettle tea during pregnancy, potential complications to be aware of, and how it aligns with your natural health journey. Let's unravel the mystery together and ensure both you and your baby thrive.
A Quick Introduction to Nettle Tea
Nettle tea is made from the leaves of the common nettle plant, Urtica dioica. And though the leaves have been consumed in various ways for centuries, nettle tea is one of the most common & effective ways to reap the benefits. It’s been used in traditional medicine in many cultures to treat a range of health issues like arthritis and chronic myalgia.
One of the reasons nettles are used as both medicine and food is the nutritional composition. It's a highly nutritious plant, which is full of both vitamins and minerals. It’s rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like iron and calcium.
Nettle tea has a number of anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it useful for a range of health purposes, including healthier skin, kidneys, and immune responses.
Is It Safe to Drink Nettle Tea During Pregnancy?
Nettle tea is often consumed during pregnancy and is generally recognised as safe to do so. There may be some potential risks, but there’s little research to support prominent negative side effects.
Nettle tea is one of the most popular herbal teas for pregnant women, primarily because of the anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a natural choice to alleviate discomfort and support your overall well-being, all without harming the baby.
For 9 months, you supply all of the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to your womb. As a result, the volume of blood in your body increases. As this occurs, your iron concentration decreases. And to avoid developing an iron deficiency, like anaemia, pregnant women must consume more iron than non-pregnant women, 27 mg compared to 18 mg, for reference.
Many women take prenatal vitamins or iron tablets to supplement their iron levels, but many prenatal vitamins, especially gummies, lack a sufficient amount of iron. On the other hand, the metallic flavour of iron tablets is hard to stomach for many women. In the case of both, nettle tea is a safe & effective replacement.
A lesser known complication of pregnancy is an upset digestive system. As the uterus grows, it places pressure on the stomach and other parts of the digestive tract, causing pain, slower bowel movements, and even constipation in some cases. Nettle tea can help regulate digestion, clear constipation, and ease generally upset stomachs.
Your kidneys grow in size during pregnancy because of the increased water retention. But nettle tea is a natural diuretic, which can help flush out excess water & toxins via urination, ensuring that your kidneys can function properly without retaining excess fluids.
Safety Precautions to Take If Consuming Nettle Tea
In some indigenous communities, nettle tea is used to help with pregnancy and childbirth. And though this longstanding tradition appears to have its merits, it’s important to check with your healthcare professional before consuming.
Furthermore, there is some evidence that suggests drinking stinging nettle tea could affect your menstrual cycle and that it could play a role in miscarriage by inducing uterine contractions. However, there is not yet much research about this potential risk.
Exactly how much nettle tea you should drink while pregnant is debatable. Some experts recommend no more than three to four tablespoons of dried nettle each day in the later stages of pregnancy. It's sometimes recommended that nettle tea be avoided in the first trimester.
And because it’s a mild diuretic, it may affect the effectiveness of certain medications that you may be taking. Again, consult your doctor before drinking nettle tea during your pregnancy.
If you’ve been drinking the tea and aren’t sure whether or not it’s negatively affecting you, look out for these side effects:
- Mild stomach upset
- Skin irritation or rash
- Allergic reactions (in some rare cases)
Common Recommendations for Pregnant Women
Women need to be generally cautious of what they eat and drink during pregnancy. It may seem like there are too many guidelines to follow, but it’s important to remember that you’re creating life. Though nettle tea is widely believed to be safe to consume during pregnancy, there are other foods & drinks that are not.
Other commonly restricted foods and beverages in pregnancy include:
- Caffeine (less than 200 mg per day)
- Soft cheeses
- Undercooked or raw meat or seafood
- Soft-serve ice cream
- Unpasteurised milk
- Undercooked or raw egg
The most important thing to do is talk to your healthcare provider before trying nettle tea or any new food or beverage while pregnant. This is especially the case if you have any existing health conditions or take any medications. Nettle could interact with some blood-thinning medicines, drugs for high blood pressure, diuretics, and lithium.
If you choose to drink nettle tea during pregnancy, remember that moderation and balance are key. Limit your consumption, just as you would with anything else to maintain a balanced diet.
If you choose to avoid nettle tea or want to try something different, there are other herbal teas that are generally recognised as safe, like peppermint and ginger, which can both help with nausea. You can also drink chamomile, raspberry leaf, and dandelion leaf after the first trimester.
Drinking nettle tea can provide a rich list of benefits, especially for pregnant women. From its rich nutritional profile loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to prevent common deficiencies, to its anti-inflammatory properties that can ease stomach discomfort, nettle tea can be a natural ally along your 9-month journey. However, it's crucial to consult your healthcare provider for personalised advice, especially considering potential complications like uterine contractions. To start reaping the benefits, simply brew a cup with moderation in mind. As you sip, ponder this: could this ancient remedy be the missing link in your holistic approach to motherhood?