Kombucha during pregnancy? Yay or Nay?

By Angeliz Venter

Kombucha is a drink I absolutely LOVE!! I’ve been an avid kombucha drinker for many years now and I’ve tried all the brands I could find and even tried brewing it myself…As fun as it was brewing kombucha myself, there’s so much room for over fermentation and bacteria to creep in that I stopped and just switched over to a trusted and proudly South African brand, Happy Culture!

Happy Culture products are proudly produced in Cape Town, South Africa since 2017. They mainly produce kombucha and water kefir in many different flavors, sizes and the option between cans and bottles. Kombucha is an ancient eastern drink, which is mainly a sparkling fermented drink. The base of kombucha is strong sweet tea and thereafter a scoby is added. A scoby is the live culture that assists the fermentation process and it’s also responsible for the small slimy brown debris in the bottom of your kombucha bottle. This is also perfectly safe to consume and contributes to your gut health. The tea mixture is then left to ferment over time to eventually produce kombucha. Water kefir is a lightly infused probiotic sparking water, made from mineral water, apple juice and live cultures. Personally, I prefer kombucha over kefir, but that is just a personal choice in taste.

Kombucha in general consists of a small amount of caffeine from the tea and alcohol from the fermentation. The level of these increase when you brew it at home as there is no controlled environment to measure and check this and also varies between brands. So, naturally when I got pregnant, I thought I could not consume kombucha anymore and added it into my mental “Do not consume for the next few months” box, but luckily the team at Happy Culture helped me understand their production process and with some independent research I reached my own conclusion on if I wanted to drink kombucha during my pregnancy or not.

And I decided to consume it! Safely! I am someone who loves to drink something ‘nice’ at the end of the day or on weekends and since I got pregnant, I’ve missed that, even just the idea of drinking something. So here is what I do to make myself and my drink feel and look special, as weird as that may sound. I’ve ordered my favorite boxes from Happy Culture, which is mixed boxes of bottles and cans of kombucha, seeing that I like to switch things up regularly and try new flavors. I put these in the fridge immediately after receiving them, as I want to prevent it going off as much as possible. Then when I am ready, I take a big glass, add ice, pieces of fruit, fill the glass halfway with kombucha and the other half with sparkling water. As stupid as it may sound, I then feel like I am drinking a refreshing cocktail and it is safe for me and my baby.

That being said, I will only drink Happy Cultures’ kombucha during pregnancy and dilute it just to be safe. My reason for this is that they make sure their residual caffeine content is very low with a maximum of 2mg per 100ml and studies have shown that 200mg of caffeine is safe during pregnancy. (Although I try to cut out caffeine completely now, but that is just my choice). My other reason is how effectively they measure the alcohol content, which is always under the legal limit of 0.5%. If you dilute your kombucha even further with sparkling water, it makes these statistics even less, which made me consider it to be ‘safe’. I also did research and found some interesting facts, regular 100% apple and orange juice contain a range of between 0.06-0.73% alcohol and burger buns a shocking 1.28%, which puts diluted kombucha into perspective!

There are also many other benefits of drinking kombucha during pregnancy namely:
• It eases constipation, heartburn and indigestion.
• Gives you more energy when you are feeling exhausted.
• Helps ease your leg cramps, when you drink kombucha with a calcium supplement or your normal prenatal supplement, because it increases the amount of calcium that is absorbed by the body.

It’s important to remind yourself that each woman’s’ journey through pregnancy is HERS and she should do whatever she feels comfortable with. I am comfortable and love drinking kombucha during my pregnancy and I will probably drink it in diluted form when I am breastfeeding as well. I only drink it a maximum of once a week, even though there are women who drink it every day undiluted during their pregnancy journeys. If you haven’t drank kombucha before your pregnancy, I do suggest drinking it in very small amounts and in diluted form, as it can upset your stomach and not everyone gets used to it. Also, now is not the time to feel worse with an upset stomach and morning sickness!

Order a box of Kombucha from https://happyculture.co.za and use the code HAPPY-KICOCO for R100 discount on your order! (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding consult your doctor or gynecologist first, as I am not a medical professional and I am definitely not qualified to tell you if it is right or wrong, this is just my own experience and opinion.)

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