Is Kombucha Safe During Pregnancy?

While many might shy away from the strong, pungent flavor of kombucha, the fermented drink from far East has its own fan following. Kombucha is a fermented and sweetened form of either black or green tea that may have originated in China.

Known for its probiotic benefits, among others, kombucha has gained quite some popularity with many commercial and home-brewers trying their hand at brewing this “elixir of immortality.” But though it is popular for its benefits, its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding are still being debated.

Pros and Cons of Consuming Kombucha During Pregnancy

There are two sides to the kombucha coin and the debate is still on about whether it is safe for women who are pregnant or nursing. Here are some noted benefits of kombucha:

  • Detox:

The brewed concoction can help the body detox and many believe that the detoxification effect it has on the body is similar to the body’s natural process.

  • Energy booster:

A woman’s body undergoes various changes during and after pregnancy and this can take a toll on her energy levels. Small doses of kombucha are said to boost energy, allowing you to handle everyday needs with more vigor.

  • Enhances sleep:

Insomnia might be an integral part of pregnancy and motherhood and while many rely on herbal remedies and aromatherapy to enhance sleep, a sip of kombucha might help too. Being a natural adaptogen (an ingredient that helps the body relax), kombucha with lavender or chamomile might be beneficial.

  • Improves digestion:

It is common to have digestive issues like heartburn and constipation during pregnancy and kombucha may relieve these symptoms. It may also increase the production of stomach acids to improve digestion.

On the other hand, the main argument against this popular brew is that it contains alcohol and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), any type of alcohol can be harmful to the mother and the child.

While the commercial brands found in supermarkets may contain only .5 percent of alcohol, some home-brews may contain up to 3 percent. One serving of alcohol can take up to two hours to be processed and in breastfeeding mothers, it can easily pass to the baby.

Another point of the argument is the possible presence of harmful bacteria due to the lack of pasteurization in the kombucha making process. It also contains caffeine, and pregnant women take longer to digest caffeine; breastfed babies may also show signs of irritability and lack of sleep due to caffeine ingestion.

Because kombucha has its possible benefits and disadvantages, it is, of course, recommended to consult a physician before starting to consume it during pregnancy or when breastfeeding your baby.

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