If you are wondering If it is safe for you to drink Thai iced tea during Pregnancy the good news is that it can be consumed in moderation.
When it comes to what food and drinks you can and cannot consume during pregnancy advice can be a little confusing. While it is advisable to reduce the caffeine in your diet when pregnant, which means cutting down on teas and coffees, it is not always clear when it comes to herbal teas.
If you enjoy Thai iced tea and you are looking to carry on drinking during pregnancy or you have been advised that drinking this tea will help, we take a look at whether it is safe enough for you to do so.
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Thai Tea Ingredients
The first thing that needs looking into is the ingredients in Thai tea as this will determine if there are obvious reasons not to drink this type of tea while pregnant or whether you need to investigate certain ingredients further.
Thai Iced Tea contains the following ingredients:
- Black tea
- Evaporated milk
- Condensed milk
- Herbs and spices (depending on the recipe)
As you can see here, Thai tea contains black tea so you need to know whether it will keep you and your baby safe during pregnancy.
Is Thai Iced Tea Safe For Pregnancy?
As Thai iced tea contains caffeine and a lot of sugar it is not a drink that you would automatically go to when you are pregnant. In general, bottled and processed drinks are very high in sugar and pregnant people should avoid them in favor of more nutritious drinks.
However, if you generally have a low-sugar diet and are healthy in other ways, for example, you eat lots of fruit, vegetables, and wholegrain regularly, then Thai iced tea in moderation may be acceptable.
There are low-sugar versions of Thai iced tea on the market that are better but should still be consumed in moderation due to the caffeine content.
The Health benefits of Iced Teas
The reason why we say that Thai iced tea can be consumed in moderation when pregnant is that it does have the below benefits:
- It offers refreshment during warm periods, especially during summer
- The caffeine will give your body an energy boost when you are feeling tired
- It can help relieve the symptoms of morning sickness
- It contains antioxidants (found in the spice and herb mix) which are good for you and your baby
- It can help to remove free radicals that can arise as a result of the changes in hormones when pregnant
- There are low-sugar options at many stores
- It is easy to drink when you don’t have time to make up a special herbal blend yourself
- There are homemade recipes that can be made with less sugar and caffeine
The Cons of Drinking Thai Iced Tea?
While there are lots of benefits of drinking Thai iced tea while pregnant there are risks to consider. You can enjoy Thai iced tea in moderation but you should evaluate the below downsides of drinking it when you are pregnant as it can affect the health of you and your developing baby:
Some of the harmful side effects of drinking an excessive amount of Thai iced tea during pregnancy are:
- High levels of caffeine when pregnancy can cause this miscarriage (particularly during the first trimester
- Caffeine can increase the risks of neural tube defects such as spina bifida as it reduces the absorption of folic acid
- Too much caffeine can cause low birth weight
- Drinking above the recommended daily allowance of caffeine can reduce iron levels in the mom.
- You may struggle to sleep if you drink too much caffeine which is not healthy for you or your growing baby
- Drinking caffeinated drinks can make you dehydrated and you feel full and unable to drink much-needed water
- Too much sugar can cause excessive weight gain in pregnancy
Caffeine In Thai Iced Tea
The biggest concern when drinking Thai iced tea when pregnant is the caffeine content. It is important to note that there will be varying levels of caffeine in different brands of iced tea so you should check the ingredients label on your product of choice.
On average, there are 12 to 18 milligrams of caffeine but some are significantly lower.
The American Pregnancy Association advises that women who are pregnant should not consume more than 200 mg of coffee per day. 200 mg is 1-2 standard cups of coffee, depending on the strength.
As you can see, if you have one Thai iced tea a day you can keep within your daily caffeine limit.
If you also like to enjoy coffee or other products that contain caffeine you can always enjoy a small glass of Thai iced tea rather than drinking the whole bottle.
Sugar in Thai Iced Tea
As well as high levels of caffeine, most brands of Thai iced tea contain lots of sugar. It is advised that women should consume approximately 30mg of sugar per day while pregnant.
High blood sugar levels in pregnancy can lead to problems with your baby’s growth and can also lead to your baby being born early. If you consume a lot of sugar early on in your pregnancy your chances of miscarriage will increase.
As a guide, there are 24 g of sugar in a standard Hershey’s bar and 11 g on average in a can of soda.
Homemade Thai Iced Tea for Pregnancy
One way to gain peace of mind when drinking Thai iced tea while pregnant is to make your own. By making your blend of Thai tea you can control the amount of sugar and caffeine that you consume.
Homemade versions of the tea will also use natural colorings and preservatives so there are no nasty chemicals that may affect you and your growing baby.
Many manufacturers of Thai Iced tea use artificial ingredients to make it look better but these highly-processed ingredients do not add to the flavor you will experiment with enhanced flavors when you make your tea.
There are lots of different Thai iced tea recipes but this is one of our favorites. You can reduce the amount of tea if you prefer and if you are not looking for a caffeine boost but want to enjoy the flavor of Thai iced tea you can use a decaffeinated black tea which is easy to find in most stores.
You can also use whole milk or full-fat coconut milk if you want to reduce the sugar content by omitting the sweet condensed milk.
- 1-2 tablespoons of loose-leaf black tea (depending on how strong you want to make your tea)
- 2 tablespoons of evaporated milk.
- 1-star anise pod
- 1 tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk (reduce to half a teaspoon if you don’t like it too sweet)
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon of clear honey
- Half cinnamon stick
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract or a 1/5 of a fresh vanilla pod
- ¼ teaspoon of almond extract
- A pinch of Tamarind powder for taste
The vanilla, cinnamon, almond, and tamarind are all optional depending on how you like your tea. There are some variations on Thai iced tea so you can experiment with different spices.
If there is a particular store-bought tea that you want to replicate you can look at the ingredients on the bottle to see what spices are included.
- Add the tea, star anise, cardamom, cinnamon stick, almond and vanilla extract, and the tamarind powder to the cup of boiling water and leave for 5 minutes
- Strain the tea
- Stir in the honey and the condensed milk until they both dissolve in the mixture
- Fill a glass with ice and pour over the strained tea
- Top with evaporated milk
This will make 2 glasses of Thai iced tea. To save time, you can size up the recipe and leave a jug in the fridge to be used throughout the week.
You can tweak the recipe to your taste by adding more or less of the above ingredients. For a vegan option use coconut milk or any other plant-based alternative to cow’s milk.
Vegans will want to leave out the honey and replace it with a teaspoon of sugar instead.
If you regularly enjoy Thai iced tea and don’t want to give it up while pregnant you can rest assured that in moderation you will not harm yourself or your baby. It is important, however, to limit your intake to 1 tea per day in line with the guidance on how much caffeine and sugar pregnant women should consume per day.
If you are worried about the processing of commercial iced tea and want a healthier version with fewer preservatives, you can make your own Thai iced tea at home using the recipe featured in this article.