Kombucha During Pregnancy
The popularity of kombucha has been skyrocketing over the past few years, primarily due to its perceived health benefits, but is drinking kombucha during pregnancy safe? Let’s take a look…
To be safe, it’s recommended that pregnant women avoid drinking kombucha. However, the brand of kombucha can also play a role in its safety during pregnancy.
Caffeine Content in Kombucha During Pregnancy
Kombucha is made from tea which contains caffeine. And although you don’t need to cut out caffeine altogether, you probably don’t need the added caffeine. High intakes of caffeine during pregnancy have been linked to increased rates of miscarriage. The amount of caffeine in different brands of kombucha may vary, but typically it contains between 8 milligrams and 15 milligrams p 8 ounces, which is significantly lower than the approximately 100 milligrams found in a typical cup of tea. According to an FDA investigation, alcohol content in kombucha can range from 0.7% to 1.3%. While the caffeine in kombucha may not pose a significant risk during pregnancy, it also doesn’t provide any known benefits. ACOG recommends that people who are pregnant consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day because of the potential risk of miscarriage or preterm delivery.
Bad Bacteria Risk in Kombucha During Pregnancy
Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is crucial during pregnancy. Drinking kombucha, which is fermented, can provide beneficial probiotics. BUT there is also a risk that it may contain dangerous bacteria. There’s a lot of debate about whether fermented foods are beneficial or hazardous during pregnancy. Being that the purpose of fermenting is to leave foods at room temperature for several hours or days at a time in order to grow good bacteria, there is always a risk that it also increases the prevalence of bad bacteria too. Unpasteurized products can include potentially harmful bacteria, like E. coli and Listeria, and should be avoided during pregnancy. As the immune system is compromised during pregnancy, you could put yourself at risk of listeriosis or other types of food poisoning.
Sugar Content in Kombucha During Pregnancy
Kombucha often contains excess sugar. The purpose of sugar in kombucha is for the bacteria to ‘feed’ off of. So although a lot of sugar is fermented, many commercial kombucha drinks still contain significant amounts, which is obviously not good for you or your baby, during pregnancy.
Alcohol Content in Kombucha During Pregnancy
Although kombucha that you buy from the store may be labeled non-alcoholic, kombucha does actually contain alcohol. Sure, it may only be a small amount, but current dietary guidelines state that there is no safe limit for alcohol during pregnancy. This is because it would be really unethical to purposefully give women alcohol to drink during pregnancy, just so that researchers can test how much harm it has on their babies. When it comes to alcohol. Remember this alcohol crosses the placenta. So if you’re drinking, so is your baby. Although your baby may not end up with fetal alcohol syndrome with just a few kombuchas you can’t be sure that the alcohol isn’t impacting upon his growing brain either.
Pregnancy Safe Alternatives to Kombucha During Pregnancy
- Yogurt or Kefir
- Sparkling Water
- Probiotic Supplements
If you are going to drink kombucha, we recommend very small quantities and choosing the brand with the least amount of caffeine, sugar and alcohol. Instead of kombucha, opt for water. If you do want some bubbles or flavor go for sparkling water with juice, or infuse your water with some fresh fruit or mint leaves. We recommend leaving kombucha until after you finish breastfeeding or at the very least until after your pregnancy.