Pregnant women are always looking for a tasty non-alcoholic alternative to drink and kombucha seems to be a strong alternative to the cheeky glass (or three) of red enjoyed every night. However, many people often wonder whether kombucha is safe to drink whilst pregnant or not. There’s no one correct answer, but here we’ll summarise some of the research and a few of the different perspectives so you can then make your own choice. At the end of the day, it’s really up to you, and the best thing you can do is speak to your doctor about your own situation.
Why some people say no
Unfortunately, there have been no large-scale studies on the health effects of drinking kombucha whilst pregnant. However, we do know that there are a few components of kombucha that are generally known to be avoided during pregnancy.
The first reason why kombucha poses some amount of risk for pregnant people is the fact of its alcohol content. Although the alcoholic content is very low across the board (Monceau products only have about 1% ABV, for example), the presence of any alcohol is still something to consider and chat to your doctor about.
Another reason why pregnant women might ditch the booch is because of caffeine. Since Monceau is brewed from organic black tea, it naturally contains some caffeine. However, the fermentation process that happens when brewing kombucha results in most of that caffeine being consumed by the kombucha culture. After that, you’re left with some very small amounts of caffeine in the drink. Generally, a cup of tea will have about 30mg of caffeine in it, so after being brewed, you’d be left with a lot less - being well below the generally recommended daily consumption amount of about 200mg. Again, best practice would be to ask a professional!
You might have heard the term ‘unpasteurised’ and how pregnant women should avoid certain foods that are so. For example, some cheeses, milk, and raw juice are among the products that are recommended to be avoided during pregnancy for their unpasteurised nature. Pasteurisation refers to a process of heating products in order to kill any live bacteria. Listeria and salmonella are two of the most common bacteria that are killed off during this process. However, since kombucha literally lives off bacteria, in its purest form, it is unpasteurised.
Home brewing kombucha has been something that many people have taken up as a hobby either during lockdown or even prior to it. This kind of kombucha is the trickiest to nail. When at home, it’s quite hard to get the fermentation just right and thus leads to the higher likelihood of the bad kind of bacteria creating a home in your kombucha. If you’re keen to keep kombucha in your life during pregnancy (and, we can’t stress this enough, with consultation with your doctor), best to avoid the home-brewed stuff and go for the pros.
Why kombucha might be a good idea
Kombucha is still being studied for its health effects. There is yet to be any large-scale studies to show the specific health effects on humans. We love to keep our info evidence-based and don’t want to spread any misinformation. So, as always, chatting to a doctor is the way to go. However, we do have some idea that there are probably a few health benefits of kombucha.
Since kombucha is brewed from black tea, it contains the same antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that help fight against free radicals, molecules that cause damage to our cells. A study on rats showed that kombucha reduced liver toxicity by about 70%.
The most common health benefit that people speak about when it comes to kombucha is probiotics. Probiotics are a certain kind of microorganism that, when consumed, promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. They are a good bacteria to aid digestion and all round gut health. Probiotics are mostly found in fermented foods, kombucha being just one example.
Finally, we know that consuming less sugary foods is good for our health. Monceau contains no added sugar and the sugar that does come from the fruit juice we use is mostly consumed by the kombucha culture during fermentation. You’re left with a drink that is very low in sugar, has minimal intervention and is all natural!
Whilst we don’t know exactly the benefits of kombucha, we know that Monceau’s production process is as close as you can get to a zero-intervention fermentation. The only intervention here is to ensure that the right balance of natural flavours combine to create a delicious outcome.
There’s no definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer we can give to the question of whether you can drink kombucha whilst pregnant. In fact, there’s just not enough evidence-based research for anyone to give you a definitive answer. However, we can give you information we know on the risks and benefits associated with kombucha.
If you’re reading this, you’re already being careful and that’s very important. You also might already be pregnant. In that case, congratulations! There are a few things to remember to check before you choose to drink any kombucha whilst pregnant.
First, remember to check the caffeine levels. Monceau, like most other kombuchas, will have had most of its caffeine consumed during fermentation. A reminder - around 200mg of caffeine is the recommended daily allowance for pregnant women. However, this may not apply to you and checking with your doctor will be best to make sure you understand your own allowance.
Second, remember to check the alcohol levels. Alcohol is generally recommended to be avoided during pregnancy. However, again, some doctors may suggest some low levels of alcohol allowance while pregnant.
Thirdly, check the expiration date of the product and ensure that it’s come from a reputable company. A dodgy home-brewer may not necessarily have the stringent sterilisation and sanitisation processes that a reputable company would. These processes minimise the risk of harmful bacteria making its way into the kombucha.
If you hadn’t already got the memo by now, our number one recommendation is to chat to your doctor about choosing to drink kombucha during pregnancy. We obviously want every pregnancy out there to be healthy and safe and want everyone to be aware of the risks. However, we also want as many people to enjoy Monceau whenever possible. So, all we can do is point you towards the things you should be thinking about!
Good luck and happy baby-ing! 👶