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Pregnant people have to avoid several foods and drinks, including shellfish, sushi, and alcohol. It can be tough learning what foods you can and can’t have when pregnant, especially when you have to give up the things that you love.
One of these drinks may be kombucha. It may have several health benefits, so it must be fine to have during pregnancy, right?
Kombucha should be avoided completely when pregnant, as it contains alcohol and caffeine, both substances that shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy. Pure kombucha is also unpasteurized, so it may contain harmful bacteria that can be dangerous for both mom and baby.
We’ll cover why kombucha should be avoided when pregnant in this article, as well as some kombucha alternatives to ease your cravings.
What Is Kombucha Tea?
Kombucha is a beverage that was first created in China. Made around 220 B.C., these fermented teas can be made out of green, oolong, or black tea. The tea is produced by mixing tea with sugar and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, also known as SCOBY.
The SCOBY is necessary to ferment the product, as it contains the right amount of yeast and bacteria. Once the mixture is created, it’s left to ferment for over a week. The fermentation process also infuses Kombucha with a small amount of alcohol.
Kombucha has increased in popularity due to its plausible wellness benefits. Fermented foods are thought to be probiotics, substances that can promote gut health.
While these health claims are possible, the majority of kombucha studies haven’t used humans in their analysis. People believe kombucha can help several conditions, but more studies are required to be sure.
Kombucha Consumption In Pregnancy
Kombucha may have some benefits, but it contains a few substances which should be avoided. The alcohol content may be small, but it should still never be drunk during pregnancy. Unpasteurized kombucha can also contain dangerous bacteria, which is a health hazard.
Kombucha also contains caffeine, another substance that should be avoided when pregnant. No pregnancy is the same, but the general health consensus is to avoid unpasteurized food, alcohol, and large caffeine amounts during this time.
Kombucha can also have risks to the parent. When unpasteurized kombucha is bottled, it continues to ferment. The permitted amount of alcohol within kombucha needs to be under 0.5%, but as it continues to ferment, this can increase the alcohol content above the allowed levels.
Additionally, there is a small risk of bacterial contamination if the kombucha isn’t brewed properly.
More research is needed on whether kombucha is safe to have during pregnancy, but the potential health risks outweigh any health benefits.
One of these possible conditions is liver toxicity, as well as metabolic acidosis, which can be fatal in severe cases. Everyone should avoid health risks, but particularly those who are pregnant.
Is Kombucha Bad For The Baby?
The worries about drinking kombucha during pregnancy are concerns that it may harm the baby. Kombucha naturally contains alcohol. Any alcohol amount, no matter how small, can cause several health issues for the baby. These range from facial defects to learning impairment.
Consuming too much caffeine isn’t very likely when drinking kombucha. The majority of kombucha brands have between 8 and 14mg of caffeine for every 8 ounces of beverage. Nevertheless, this amount should be factored into your daily intake.
Pregnant people are recommended to consume under 200mg of caffeine per day, as caffeine can increase the risk of preterm birth and miscarriage. In one day, a bottle of kombucha on top of regular coffee and tea exceeds the caffeine guidelines.
Unpasteurized products, like certain ciders, juices, and kombucha, contain bacteria that can make you ill. These can also cause premature birth, or more seriously, loss of the baby. Kombucha in particular can carry E. colo and Listeria.
Babies born with Listeria can have health problems, including infections in the blood or the brain. Other potential issues are seizures, vision loss, paralysis, and mental disabilities.
When Can I Drink Kombucha Again?
You can start drinking kombucha once the baby is born, but if you plan on breastfeeding, you should take safety measures.
Kombucha still contains alcohol, so you should time your feeding periods around drinking it, or cut down on the amount that you drink.
It’s normally fine to consume small amounts of caffeine when nursing, but greater amounts can affect your baby. Kombucha has a lower caffeine content, but as it contains alcohol, don’t drink it around your nursing periods.
Pregnancy Approved Kombucha Alternatives
Kombucha may have possible health benefits, but the potential risks outweigh these during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are a few kombucha alternatives that are permitted during this time.
Kefir Or Yoghurt
Yogurt and kefir contain live cultures as well as beneficial bacteria and yeast. These provide the same healthy gut bacteria and probiotic elements as kombucha, but without the alcohol and harmful effects of unpasteurized foods.
Yogurt also has protein and calcium that are beneficial for wellbeing, and you can find some varieties that add vitamin D.
If you drink kombucha a lot, you may find that sparkling water eases some of the cravings. The carbonation provides a fizzy effect, but you can also add a little fruit juice to add some flavor. This is one of the safest alternatives to kombucha.
If you drink kombucha for its perceived health benefits, you can get the same probiotic advantages through supplements. Probiotic supplements can add healthy bacteria without the need for kombucha.
However, keep in mind that some supplements won’t be safe for pregnant people. Always discuss probiotic supplements with a medical professional before taking them.
Some Fermented Foods
Some fermented foods are safe to consume when pregnant. For instance, pickles are loved by many people, but they’re also great for gut health. Kimchi is another fermented food that contains probiotics and is safe to eat during pregnancy.
Before you think about adding fermented food to your pregnancy diet, research whether it’s safe to do so first. You need to make sure that they’re prepared well, pasteurized, and handled properly.
Kombucha has become popular due to its possible health benefits, but it should be avoided completely when pregnant. Kombucha contains alcohol and caffeine, both substances that shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy.
Pure kombucha is also unpasteurized, so it may contain harmful bacteria that can be dangerous for the pregnant parent and the baby.
You can drink kombucha after the baby is born, but if you’re nursing, time your consumption around your feeding sessions. Yogurt, kefir, and some fermented foods have probiotic benefits, just like kombucha, but these are safe to consume when pregnant.