Congratulations! So you are going to be a mommy! Welcome to this most satisfying phase in your life. If you have been drinking kombucha for its many health benefits, then I believe you might wonder if it is safe to continue drinking it.
Let us try and answer that question in this guide on drinking kombucha while pregnant.
What is kombucha?
Before we move on to whether or not drinking kombucha is safe while pregnant, let us study its health benefits . Kombucha is a healthy probiotic drink made from fermented tea. The tea used in making kombucha may be black tea, oolong tea, white tea, or even green tea.
The process of fermentation imparts many health benefits to the drink. It adds millions of probiotic or beneficial bacteria which promote healthy digestion and also boost the immune system.
Kombucha also contains tea polyphenols and catechins which protect against various diseases. Fermenting the tea also produces antibiotics, organic acids, vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients all of which are packed with radical-scavenging properties.
Kombucha tea also contains hypoglycemic and antilipidemic properties which can benefit weight watchers and diabetics. It can also restore the acid-alkali imbalance in the body and help the body ward off inflammation.
Also, the drink contains far less sugar compared to sodas and other fizzy, flavored beverages. So drinking kombucha daily can benefit most people.
When to be cautious with Kombucha?
Kombucha is mostly a safe drink to consume. It is not known to have any adverse effects even on medications – either OTC or prescription. Even during pregnancy, one can enjoy this drink in moderation.
People with compromised immunity, infants, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are urged to proceed with caution when it comes to drinking fermented drinks like kombucha.
Can you drink Kombucha when pregnant and breastfeeding?
Pregnancy, nursing, and child-birth, for first-time mothers has become overwrought with anxiety and stress with each woman wanting to do everything right. Naturally, new mommies wonder if it is safe to drink this fermented tea while drinking kombucha.
The simple answer to this question is this: if you haven’t had kombucha before, then pregnancy is not the right time to start having it. This is because it can have mild side effects like nausea, flatulence, excess bowel movements, and sometimes, even cramps.
The tea has a mild laxative action and can lead to cleansing of the intestines and colon. Many people undergo a ‘healing crisis’ when they first drink kombucha and a mother’s symptoms may or may not affect the baby.
In general though, if you have already been drinking kombucha, then you should be able to continue drinking it in moderation, even during pregnancy (if you have concerns consult your doctor as each individual situation is different). As with any food or beverage consumed during pregnancy, you should not drink more than a couple of ounces of kombucha per day while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Morning sickness and aversion to certain foods/drinks
An important factor to consider in this aspect is morning sickness and the aversion to certain smells, tastes, and flavors which many women experience while pregnant. Many women who are able to withstand the taste and flavor of kombucha report feeling an aversion to it as soon as they fall pregnant. Thankfully, most find out that, after giving birth, they are able to enjoy the taste again.
I feel that that is the miracle of the human body. It always tells you when it needs something and when it doesn’t. Likewise, an influx of hormones that help the fetus develop signals the body that it needs something from it.
During pregnancy, when a woman feels certain cravings, it is possibly because her body is lacking in those nutrients. After the delivery, her body, for whatever reason, lets her enjoy all those foods which she found repulsive during her early trimesters.
There are also some women who report feeling an extreme craving for kombucha when they get pregnant. Again, the answer could lie in the fact that kombucha has several nutrients which a pregnant woman may need during the period.
How can kombucha help during pregnancy?
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to a variety of undesirable effects and kombucha may help in soothing these issues. They include the following:
Dealing with pregnancy fatigue
Kombucha contains small amount of caffeine and micro-doses of B-vitamins which can energize without the crash-and-burn following the intake of coffee/tea/etc. The beverage also has adaptogenic properties which help women cope with the stress of pregnancy. When you select kombucha containing chamomile, lavender, or other relaxing herbs, these relaxing properties can be further enhanced.
Many pregnant women suffer from acid reflux, heartburn, constipation, and indigestion. Kombucha can combat many of these issues owing to its probiotic bacteria content that restores and improves digestion. Drinking a few ounces of kombucha every day also keeps the body hydrated. Ginger-based kombucha may relieve nausea and morning sickness as well.
Relief from piles and hemorrhoids
As a woman gains weight during pregnancy, there is pressure on the rectal muscles which can sometimes lead to inflammation resulting in hemorrhoids or piles. To relieve this painful condition, you can insert a piece of SCOBY into the region. SCOBY contains vitamins and minerals along with soothing properties that can relieve pain, itching, and swelling.
Soothes cramps and aches
The depleting levels of calcium and magnesium in pregnancy can lead to leg cramps. Drinking small amounts of kombucha can provide you with these minerals, albeit in small doses. If you brew kombucha at home, you can add powdered eggshells to the ferment to enhance the drinks’ calcium content.
Minimize itchy skin, soothe scars, and lighten stretch marks
Topical application of kombucha culture/SCOBY can relieve stretch marks, reduce eczema, and prevent scars and stretch marks from deepening. Apply the kombucha culture on the skin at night and leave it on overnight.
May increase breast milk
In Europe, many women drink a fermented beer to relax and cope with the stress of caring for a newborn. Kombucha can provide similar relaxing benefits for new parents and can even increase the breast milk supply in the nursing mother. Since it contains negligible amounts of alcohol and sugar, it is usually safe to have while nursing. However, if in doubt, do check with your OB/GYN or your pediatrician.
The Bottom Line
A pregnant woman undergoes several changes: emotional, physical, and hormonal. When there is an imbalance in these elements, the result could be various ailments and an unhappy pregnancy. Kombucha could help in bringing a balance in these elements by providing the pregnant woman with vital nutrients.
However, some women feel an aversion to kombucha during pregnancy. They cannot stand its taste or smell. On the other hand, some women crave kombucha greatly. This could be the body’s way of demanding what it needs.
If you haven’t had kombucha before, then pregnancy may not be the best time to start drinking it. If however, you have always loved it, then there is no reason why you cannot drink it in moderation – a couple of ounces each day. When in doubt, do consult your doctor. Happy pregnancy!