Kombucha is one of the most popular beverages right now. And its popularity keeps on growing. When you consider the potential health benefits of kombucha tea, it is normal for people to want to get their hands on the healthy beverage. We cannot blame you. But can you drink kombucha while pregnant? That is a question that future mothers want to know.
As an expectant mother, one that has previously drank kombucha, you are probably wondering whether you can keep on your tradition and habit.
Today, we will talk about drinking kombucha during pregnancy and whether that is safe, how much you can drink, and whether are there any alternatives.
What is Kombucha?
Before we start, let’s introduce people who are not familiar with the beverage. What is kombucha? It is a fermented tea originating from China.
In most cases, it is made with black tea, green tea, or oolong tea. The tea is then combined with sugar, bacterial, and yeast culture known as a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. The short term is SCOBY, and it is a balance of bacteria and yeast that allows for a perfect balance of fermentation.
When you add SCOBY, you leave the tea to ferment for 7 to 10 days. Because of its possible health benefits, kombucha has become quite popular in the United States of America.
We have to note, most of the research is not conducted with humans. Also, commercially sold kombucha tea might be pasteurized, which will lower the health benefits. Homemade kombucha tea is not pasteurized.
What Is So Great About Kombucha?
The main benefit of kombucha is that it is rich in probiotics that will benefit your immune system. This is one of the reasons why women ask can you drink kombucha while pregnant. Probiotics are quite important, and we all want our immune system to be in top shape.
During pregnancy, the immune system is weakened due to hormonal imbalances. So, having something to improve the balance is quite nice. Here are some other benefits of kombucha.
Can Help You Regulate Bowel Movement
During pregnancy, before and after giving birth, women struggle with constipation. It can be challenging to treat. Yes, a laxative will help, but it is not something you should rely on. You do not want to form a dependency on medication, right?
Kombucha, rich with probiotics, can help you balance your bowel movement. A healthy gut is quite important.
Combat Urinary Tract Infection
Another challenge during pregnancy is urinary tract infections. Kombucha contains lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic that will improve the health of your urinary tract. It is a probiotic found in other fermented foods as well.
Clear Up Acne
During and after pregnancy, expecting mothers experience acne like in their teenage years. It is like middle school all over again. But kombucha contains some vitamins and minerals to help combat the situation.
Can You Drink Kombucha Every Day?
Let’s try and talk about how much kombucha you can drink. After reading all the potential benefits, you might want to drown yourself in kombucha.
But too much of anything is bad for you. And that applies even to a healthy beverage like kombucha. According to the Center for Disease Control, four ounces of kombucha can be safely consumed three times per day.
Should you drink it during pregnancy? More on that later.
Is Kombucha Safe During Pregnancy?
Officially, the answer to can you drink kombucha while pregnant is no. There are four potential concerns. Yes, if you choose the right kind, which is home-brewed kombucha, the risk is lower. But the four concerns are alcohol, caffeine, acidity, and contamination.
Let’s talk about alcohol first. You might be wondering, what is alcohol doing in tea? This is not long island ice tea, right?
Well, all fermented drinks contain a small amount of alcohol. Even non-alcoholic kombucha contains up to 0.5% alcohol content by volume. That is one-tenth of what is in an average beer.
Now, we know studies say that no level of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you should give up on alcohol all entirely.
If you are breastfeeding, the small amount might not be a concern. You should also note that hard kombucha on the market can come with as much alcohol as beer, from 1% to 8%. Home-brewed kombucha has up to 3% alcohol.
We said that kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened tea like black tea, green tea, or oolong tea. That means it has between 25 to 50mg of caffeine per 8-ounce serving.
Yes, the fermentation process tends to reduce that amount. Yet, there is no safe amount of caffeine that has been proven by a study.
Your physician will probably suggest keeping caffeine from all sources down to under 200mg per day. Now, if you are not drinking coffee, the amount of caffeine from this fermented drink will not be a problem. But why risk it?
Kombucha is a fermented beverage. After fermentation, the drink has some acetic acid. This is what gives the beverage its vinegary smell and taste.
Kombucha is as acidic as soda, which can cause heartburn during pregnancy. Yes, heartburn is a common symptom in pregnancy, but why increase the risk of it?
A fizzy drink now and then might be fine as long as it doesn’t upset your stomach. It comes down to your choice.
Manufacturers can sometimes use heat or chemicals to stop the fermentation process. It will kill off the bacteria and yeast and keep them from making too much alcohol or acetic acid.
But raw and unpasteurized kombucha can get contaminated with mold or bad bacteria somewhere in the process.
Is It Safe For Your Baby?
The health concerns of drinking kombucha during pregnancy are often concerns about the harm to the baby as well.
We said this fermented beverage has alcohol content in it due to the fermentation process. The CDC says that consuming any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can cause health and behavioral issues for developing babies.
Also, consuming unpasteurized juices or ciders during pregnancy can cause an increased risk. This also applies to soft cheese that can contain listeria and E. Coli. These can make you sick, but they can also cause the baby to be born prematurely.
Why Should You Avoid Kombucha During Pregnancy?
If you were a regular drinker before pregnancy, you might think “I can only reduce the amount of kombucha I consume”. But while there are some health benefits for an expectant mother, the potential risks are too serious to recommend it.
In this case, the risks outweigh the benefits. In pregnancy, everything is a balance of what you are comfortable with.
It is impossible to quantify the risk of consuming drinks like kombucha, but there is still a risk, even if it is low.
What Are Some Alternatives?
If you are a regular consumer before pregnancy, one alternative is sparkling water with juice. This can provide a similar fizzy flavorful quality of kombucha.
Find a sparkling water brand you like and stock up on it. This will help you when you crave something flavorful and effervescent.
Staying properly hydrated during pregnancy is extremely important. You should drink between 8 to 12 cups of water per day.
One option is consuming water with fruit and herbs that will encourage the intake of water and make it fun. Now is the time for some infused water.
Can You Drink Kombucha After Delivery?
After giving birth to your kid, you might be getting ready to go back to your old habits. Well, after delivering your baby, you can have a kombucha drink once in a while. But this depends on whether you are breastfeeding or not.
If you are breastfeeding, pay attention to how your baby reacts. You should definitely consult with a gynecologist. After all, kombucha can help alleviate conditions like constipation, urinary tract problems, and inflammation.
Just remember, it is best that you take a kombucha sabbatical during pregnancy. After giving birth, you can slowly get back to your old habits.