There’s already so much you’re giving up with your pregnancy - that nightly glass of wine, fine cheese, fish, and a view of your feet. Do you really have to give up your comforting cups of chai too?
Much as we’d love to dish out a straightforward answer, it’s not as simple as you’d think. In general, a cup of chai a day shouldn’t do any harm to your baby. But it’s always recommended to consult your doctor before you start guzzling your chai, since it can contain some risky ingredients.
Chai and Caffeine - Is It Safe When You’re Pregnant?
Masala chai uses black tea as its base. And black tea does contain caffeine. But does that mean you should avoid it during pregnancy?
Caffeine can cross the placenta and affect a growing foetus. In large doses, caffeine may increase the risk of miscarriage or having a baby with low birth weight.
But evidence on the effects of caffeine on pregnancy are inconclusive and most studies agree that having less than 200mg of caffeine a day should be safe.
So of course, it’s a better option than coffee (which contains about 120mg per cup). But if you’re an excessive tea drinker, consider converting to herbal teas after your first cup of chai.
Herbal teas only contain about 0.4mg of caffeine per cup and many come with additional health benefits for your baby.
Chai and Star Anise
It isn’t just caffeine you need to think about with chai. Some herbs, such as fennel, star anise, and licorice root, can affect your hormones, making them a risk during pregnancy.
As with caffeine, star anise and fennel can be safe in small amounts during pregnancy. But for some women carrying a high-risk or complicated pregnancy, anise seed may increase chances of a premature labour and might be best to avoid altogether.
So there you have it. Chai is generally considered safe to drink while you’re pregnant. But don’t just listen to us. It’s always advisable to check with your health team. Or learn more about chai and its effects on your health today.