Can You Drink Kombucha While Pregnant?
Kombucha and Pregnancy
If you love kombucha, you might wonder if it’s safe to drink while you’re pregnant. It’s a complex question and there are some different opinions. We’ll walk you through a few things to consider so you can make an informed decision that’s right for you!
First, let’s talk about what kombucha is. Kombucha starts with tea. It also contains yeast, bacteria, and sugar that combine to make fermentation magic and produce colonies of live and active cultures. Depending on the brand of kombucha you choose, kombucha may also include fruits, fruit juices, herbs, botanicals, spices, or even additional sweeteners or artificial ingredients.
At Brew Dr., we never use artificial sweeteners or ingredients in our kombucha. All of our flavors come directly from high-quality herbs, botanicals, and loose leaf tea as well as real fruit and fruit juices
The Good and The Bad Bacteria
One of the reasons we love kombucha is that it’s live and active, full of gut-friendly bacteria produced by fermentation. We closely monitor our brewing process to maintain the perfect temperature for those good bacteria to thrive while ensuring our product is safe. This means our kombucha is “raw,” the way traditional kombucha was meant to be. Raw kombucha contains all of the live and active cultures that are formed during the fermentation process. While this is the preferred method of brewing, it does result in an unpasteurized product which many doctors advise their pregnant patients to avoid.
One of the biggest considerations with drinking kombucha while pregnant is harmful bacteria that could be introduced during the fermentation process. Most commercial kombucha manufacturers adhere to strict sterilization, sanitation and brewing practices to eliminate the risk for contaminating brews with bad bacteria.
What About The Alcohol?
Bacteria isn’t the only reason drinking kombucha while pregnant could be an issue: The fermentation process naturally produces alcohol. In order for commercial kombucha to be sold in retail establishments, it must contain less than 0.5% alcohol. By comparison, a can of light beer has around 4.2% and a can of non-alcoholic beer has 0.5 percent. While 0.5% alcohol is generally considered safe for pregnant women, most doctors still advise their patients to avoid any and all alcohol while pregnant to be safe. It is still unknown if even this small amount has any impact on the developing fetus.
The main issue, again, arises with brewing at home. The type of yeast used, length of time for fermentation and overall process can increase the alcohol content considerably, and the alcohol content to as much as 2% – 5%.
At Brew Dr., we must adhere to commercial alcohol regulations and keep our brews below 0.5% alcohol. We therefore use technology that removes excess alcohol from our kombucha without the use of heat, keeping our product authentically raw. The process ensures our finished kombucha has around 0.1% alcohol — much less than the required 0.5% — and still contains all of the naturally-occurring live and active cultures
Does Kombucha Contain Caffeine?
Finally, kombucha does contain a small amount of caffeine because it starts with tea. The caffeine content of loose leaf tea can vary considerably based on varietal and brewing method. Black teas tend to result in a stronger and more caffeinated brew, while white and green teas tend to be steeped a little lighter, resulting in a more mildly caffeinated cup of tea.
Fermentation changes the amount of caffeine in the final product, as some caffeine is used up during the fermentation process. In the end, a 14oz bottle of Brew Dr. Kombucha contains about 15mg of caffeine — That’s about the same as a cup of decaf coffee.
If caffeine is a concern for you and your doctor, check the type of tea used in the kombucha and read the ingredients label to ensure additional caffeine hasn’t been added.
The Bottom Line
While kombucha may be perfectly safe to drink when you’re pregnant, there are at least a couple of reasons why you may want to take a sabbatical until after you deliver. It’s important for you to discuss your concerns with your doctor before you make any decision. Don’t worry! We’ll save some bottles (or cans!) for you to enjoy post-delivery. In the meantime, congratulations on your new addition and cheers to you being a great mom who does her homework!