The popularity of kombucha keeps growing and growing, and considering the number of potential health benefits it may offer, it’s no wonder you want to drink it yourself as an expectant mum. Either that, or you have strong pregnancy cravings for the fizzy and delicious fermented beverage, and who can blame you?
However, you may have heard that kombucha’s fermentation process and its alcoholic and caffeine content make it unsuitable for mothers-to-be, and are wondering whether kombucha is safe to drink during pregnancy. This is quite a complex topic with a few nuances to consider. Allow us to walk you through the subject of kombucha and pregnancy to help you make an informed decision on whether to drink it or not.
Is kombucha safe to drink while pregnant?
The main safety concern with drinking kombucha while pregnant relates to the alcohol and certain bacteria produced during its fermentation process. Kombucha is made by mixing a SCOBY (a pancake-shaped symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) with sweetened tea, which allows the bacteria and yeast to convert sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. This ultimately creates a lot of “good” bacteria that can be particularly beneficial for the gut, but, depending on how the kombucha was brewed, there is a chance of contamination with a small amount of “bad” bacteria left over. Naturally, consuming this may not be the best thing for you and your baby.
However, it’s crucial to note that the presence of “bad” bacteria is only really a possibility when drinking home-brewed kombucha. This is because commercially-available brands follow careful hygiene to avoid contamination and rigorous testing to ensure no “bad” bacteria are present.
Here at No. 1 Living, our kombucha is brewed in line with strict safety standards, meaning our fermentation processes are always incredibly safe and hygienic. However, because it is raw and unpasteurised, it ultimately isn’t suitable for pregnant and breastfeeding women. That said, you can drink our kombucha Health Shots instead, as they are pasteurised, allowing future mums to get a healthy dose of kombucha during this period!
Pregnancy and kombucha’s alcohol content
As is the case with all kinds of fermented food and drink, including water kefir, soy sauce and vinegar, kombucha naturally contains alcohol. However, the amount is negligible, with most commercially-produced kombucha containing around 0.5% ABV. As such, it is technically non-alcoholic, which is any drink under 1.2% ABV. For reference, most non-alcoholic beers have an ABV of 0.5%, while even a particularly ripe banana can have an ABV of 0.4%.
That said, the alcohol content of kombucha will vary between brands due to factors like the brewing time and type of yeast used, so it’s important to always closely read the label. And again, homemade kombucha will almost certainly have a higher alcohol content, making it even more important to avoid during pregnancy. Here at No.1 Living, our kombucha contains around 0.5% ABV.
Pregnancy and kombucha’s caffeine content
Because kombucha is brewed from green tea, it contains a small amount of caffeine — usually 15mg per serving. However, this is minimal — in comparison, a standard cup of coffee will have around 95mg of caffeine.
According to the NHS, up to 200mg of caffeine a day is absolutely fine during pregnancy, meaning drinking kombucha poses almost no risk from this perspective. That said, it’s a good idea to always closely check the caffeine content of any products you drink, and consult with your doctor if you’re concerned about consuming caffeine while pregnant.
Is kombucha good for you?
Kombucha potentially offers a number of health benefits. For example, its high number of probiotics and prebiotics can help balance bacteria levels in the gut, potentially boosting digestion, while it also contains B vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, and B12, which may support brain health. What’s more, kombucha is a great alternative to unhealthy fizzy drinks, meaning you avoid the potential drawbacks of consuming these too.
All of these advantages can make kombucha particularly appealing while pregnant. After all, being healthy during this time is incredibly important for the wellbeing of you and your baby.
Verdict: Can I drink kombucha while pregnant?
Although kombucha might be perfectly safe to drink while pregnant and offer several health benefits to boot, there are a few reasons why it might make sense to take a break from it until after you deliver. If drinking kombucha is still something you want to do, however, we recommend chatting to your doctor before making a firm decision.
Should you choose to go ahead with doing so, our unpasteurised kombucha Health Shots are just the ticket, and come in flavours of ginger or blueberry.
Don’t worry though — if you decide to take a kombucha sabbatical instead, we’ll save some cans (or bottles) for you to enjoy as a new mum. In the meantime, good luck with everything, and cheers to your new arrival!