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Pregnancy Q&As

  1. Expert: Joanne Saab, RD
    February 25th, 2008
    Is it safe to drink herbal teas during pregnancy?

    The list of herbal teas that are safe to drink during pregnancy is short, simply because not enough studies have been done. Chamomile tea, however, is definitely not safe during pregnancy. Despite its soothing properties, chamomile may act as a uterine stimulant and was traditionally used to induce abortion and should be avoided. Safe herbal teas you can enjoy while pregnant include: citrus peel, ginger, lemon balm and rose hip–and you can have up to two to three cups a day of any of them.

    Other foods to avoid during pregnancy include: raw meat, pâté, raw fish (including oysters and sushi) and soft, unpasteurized cheeses, which contain the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. Cheeses to avoid include: Brie, Camembert and blue-veined cheeses, such as Roquefort. Some pre-packaged soft cheeses, such as feta or chèvre, may be pasteurized, but just check the labels to make sure and avoid buying them fresh from a deli counter.

    If you're ever unsure about what is safe during pregnancy, a great resource is Motherisk ( at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.

    Joanne Saab is a registered dietitian who practices in pediatrics at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton and has co-authored three books in conjunction with the Hospital for Sick Children: Better Food for Kids, Better Food for Pregnancy and the best-selling Better Baby Food.