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Tea, Pregnancy and Me

By Rebecca Odes |

The Mamatini post (and subsequent commentary) sparked some memories from my own personal pregnancy beverage crisis. I was sick with a cold on a book tour when I first found out I was pregnant. I knew cold medicine was probably a bad idea. Since I am a big fan of herbal tea for various discomforts, so I made someone drive me to the nearest health food store.   I surreptitiously scoured the store’s copy of Wise Woman Herbal to see what I could drink while pregnant. All my favorites were out! Peppermint tea? Risky in pregnancy (yet strangely, an ingredient in Mother to Be Tea). Even seemingly innocuous chamomile is apparently questionable. The herbal book recommended raspberry leaf tea for pregnant women.  So I picked some up, pulled up the hotel armchair with a copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting and settled into my sanctioned herbal tea pregnancy. But before the cup had stopped steaming, I came across a bold box in the book warning me that raspberry leaf tea could cause miscarriage!

I panicked. Then I cried.  Then I came to a realization: What’s safe in pregnancy depends on who you ask.  Most herbal tea is considered just fine according to some, and too risky according to others.  The trick is figuring out which recommendation you want to listen to.

I’ve found that a lot of MDs get cagey anytime the word herbal comes up, if only because it’s outside their frame of reference. A midwife with some training in natural medicine might be more likely to have knowledge of an herb or tea that could cause a pregnancy risk. And you can always consult an herbalist. The second time around I was much more relaxed about mild herbal teas (and everything else). But I still tell this story whenever I talk to a pregnant woman who’s trying to figure out how to deal with all the clashing recommendations ringing in her ears.

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About Rebecca Odes


Rebecca Odes

Rebecca Odes is a writer, artist and mother. She was inspired to write her blog, From The Hips, during her first pregnancy when she discovered every pregnancy book she came across made her feel anxious or irritated. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

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0 thoughts on “Tea, Pregnancy and Me

  1. [...] perfect example of the mixed messages women get about herbs in pregnancy. I posted more about this here.) Related Posts:Sun Safety in [...]

  2. Erica Duignan Minnihan says:

    Hi Rebecca, thanks so much for this shout out on Mamatini, but it is for BREASTFEEDING moms, not pregnant moms. But it is a key item to stock in your hospital bag and to have on hand for after the baby is born. Fenugreek in large doses is not recommended for pregnant moms, even though the concentration in Mamatini is not anywhere near sufficient to cause problems, I still recommend it for post partum lactating moms only. Fenugreek is a commonly used culinary ingredient that is present in many prepared foods, like curries. However, consuming it in large quantities and concentrations during pregnancy is not recommended. 2 bottles of Mamatini contain 6 grams of fenugreek, which is the recommended dose necessary to improve and optimize breast milk production. Thanks and have a great day everyone! Erica Duignan Minnihan, CEO Mamatini

  3. Rebecca says:

    Hi there Erica,
    thanks for clarifying. I might suggest you change your website to make this clearer from the get-go; I was referred to your product by someone else who had recommended it to pregnant women based on the pregnant page on the site.

  4. Erica Duignan Minnihan says:

    Dear Rebecca,

    Thank you so much for writing a post on Mamatini. I wish I had gotten in touch with you sooner to discuss this product! I hate for you to take the heat on recommending this product to nursing moms for a few reasons.

    Because of the worries about fenugreek, we have not encouraged pregnant women to consume it in large amounts (orders of magnitude beyond sampling) we do not ship until she has reached full term. If someone were to eat whole fenugreek seeds in large quantities, not as a dilute solution, it has a chance of causing cramping. Mamatini provides fenugreek in 3 grams per 16 ounces of liquid. In any case, it will be most helpful for the intended effects once you have started breastfeeding.

    I liked your subsequent post because it demonstrates how our society has gotten so touchy about consuming “herbal” products in reasonable amounts, but often has no hesitation to consume man-made products that are truly harmful. I have modified my website to eliminate any confusion about the right time to begin consumption of the product, which is post-partum. Thanks so much!

    Thanks so much and feel free to contact me with any questions in the future. I am so glad to have learned about your site, thank you!

    Erica Duignan Minnihan

  5. Ruth Ann says:

    my daughter in law is having severe headaches during her pregnancy… there anything safe for her to take….besides tylenol……thanks….

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