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Zobo drink is a popular non-alcoholic beverage in Nigeria, made from the dried calyces of the hibiscus flower. It is known for its refreshing taste and numerous health benefits, including its ability to lower blood pressure and improve digestion.
However, there are contradicting opinions when the question, is Zobo drink good for pregnant women? comes up.
- Some specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology have said that it is not dangerous and can be consumed by pregnant women.
- Other studies like the one published in the African Journal of Food Science found that Zobo could cause low birth weight in rats; hence making the consumption of Zobo during pregnancy harmful.
- While Zobo drinks have many health benefits, pregnant women should exercise caution when consuming it.
- To be on the safe side, pregnant women should not take Zobo to avoid the potential risks it poses to their unborn babies as a result of its acidity.
Since many pregnant women are unsure whether or not it is safe to take Zobo drinks during pregnancy, It is recommended that pregnant women consult with a doctor before consuming Zobo drinks to determine if it is safe for them to do so.
In this article, we will explore the safety of Zobo drinks for pregnant women.
5 Health Benefits of Zobo Drink with Ginger
Before we delve into the safety of Zobo drinks for pregnant women, it is important to note that this beverage has many health benefits, especially when ginger is added.
Zobo drink, also known as hibiscus tea, is a popular beverage in many regions of the world especially Nigeria where it is consumed more often and usually used for medicinal purposes.
Zobo drinks are rich in several nutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorous, niacin, riboflavin, fibre, fat, thiamine and carotene.
- A study found that Zobo drink has antihypertensive and cardioprotective properties which may be beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure. Zobo leaves have a rich content of iron which helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Those with low pack cell volume and anaemia can start consuming Zobo drink regularly to boost the levels of iron in their blood.
- Another study showed evidence that seeds of hibiscus flower increased breast milk production in animal experimental models. A 100g serving size of Zobo drink contains 7.5 mg of vitamin C. Vitamin C fortifies the immune system and fights all kinds of diseases and infections.
- Regular intake of Zobo drinks can balance nutritional fiber deficiencies and prevent malnutrition.
- Due to its high content of vitamin C, it can fight colds and coughs by resisting inflammation and killing bacteria. It also has a cooling effect that can help reduce high body temperature and relieve fever.
- Zobo drinks are low in calories except when sugar is added to it. Some studies suggest that Zobo may increase metabolism and lower the absorption of starch and glucose from meals. Zobo leaves extract is found in many weight loss products because it does not cause weight gain. It is also rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect the body against damage from free radicals.
Is Zobo drink good for pregnant women? What the Experts Say:
Zobo drinks during pregnancy are not recommended due to the potential risks it poses to the unborn baby. Studies have shown that drinking Zobo during pregnancy or lactation can lead to low birth weight babies (LBW).
In addition, drinking, Zobo can reduce the amount of breast milk a woman produces, making it unsuitable for breastfeeding mothers.
Despite its potential health benefits, such as treating nausea and fatigue, reducing high blood pressure, and providing antioxidants, pregnant women should avoid taking Zobo due to the potential risks it poses to their unborn babies as a result of its acidity.
For the safety of their unborn child, women should stay away from foods and drinks that can be harmful.
Pregnant women should however be encouraged to take folic acids. Increased folic acid consumption during pregnancy has been shown to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects, one of the diseases whose prevalence has been successfully minimized through dietary therapies during pregnancy.
Can a Pregnant Woman take Zobo?
While Zobo drinks have many health benefits, pregnant women should exercise caution when consuming it. This is because some studies have suggested that consuming large amounts of hibiscus tea (the main ingredient in Zobo drink) during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage or premature labour.
However, these studies were conducted on animals, and there is currently no evidence to suggest that consuming moderate amounts of Zobo drink is harmful to pregnant women.
Specialists in obstetrics, gynaecology, and nutrition in Nigeria have disputed research findings that said pregnant women who drink Zobo, or Hibiscus sabdariffa tea, run the risk of miscarriage or early labour.
The doctors disputed assertions that the drink, which has become everyone’s favourite, increased the risk of having babies with low birth weight.
This fact is backed with the results of a research in the University of Nigeria Nsukka which showed increase in birth weight of the rats at birth and exposes the fetus to congenital birth defects
The reactions from this team of gynaecologists came after a group of researchers conducted a study on the safety of Hibiscus sabdariffa tea on female wistar rats and showed that there are enough indications that Zobo drink could be harmful to pregnant women and nursing mothers.
What are the potential risks of consuming Zobo during pregnancy?
Zobo drink, also known as hibiscus sabdariffa tea, has been linked to hormonal imbalance that might delay puberty and cause miscarriage in female wistar rats.
Studies conducted on animal models show that administering Zobo drinks in rats caused maternal malnutrition, which delayed the onset of puberty in offspring.
More so, drinking Zobo during pregnancy puts the baby at a higher risk of congenital birth defects or deformities.
The experiments on animal models also suggest that Zobo drink can induce an abortion in pregnant women, miscarriage and uncontrolled bleeding. Therefore, it is not safe to drink Zobo during pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters (1−6 months).
A new research suggests that Zobo drinks can trigger early menstruation and assist women with irregular menstruation to find balance, but they can cause excessive bleeding/miscarriage in pregnant women.
The African Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study which revealed that when pregnant women take Zobo, it increases the risk of them giving birth to babies with low birth weight. Therefore, it is best to Talk to a Certified OB/GYN before taking Zobo in pregnancy.
While some specialists have rejected findings from studies that claimed that pregnant women who consume hibiscus sabdariffa drink stand the risk of having a miscarriage or premature labour, others warn that Zobo drink should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation because there are warning signs about its safety for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Nevertheless, it is advisable for pregnant women to avoid consumption of Zobo drinks or at least take it with caution during pregnancy.
How Much Zobo Drink is Safe for a Pregnant Woman?
If you are pregnant and asking yourself, is zobo drink good for pregnant women? Check with a licensed doctor first. Zobo drinks are known to be rich in vitamin C, which aids the immune system in a healthy person.
However, pregnant women have a specific amount of vitamin C that is safe to consume per day to avoid an overdose.
Sufficient dosage of this vitamin is already provided in the antenatal vitamins given to pregnant mothers during antenatal visits. So, it may not be necessary for pregnant women to take Zobo drinks alongside the prescribed vitamin dosage .
The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams per day.
Since Zobo drinks do not contain caffeine, it is generally considered safe to consume in moderation. However, it is important to speak with your doctor before adding any new foods or beverages to your diet during pregnancy.
Which drink is good for a pregnant woman?
When pregnant, it is important to consume healthy drinks that provide essential nutrients for both the mother and the baby.
Better alternative drinks recommended for pregnant women include fresh fruit juices and smoothies made from beetroot, apple, cucumber, carrots, and dark green leafy veggies.
What can you not drink when you’re pregnant?
Other drinks that should be avoided during pregnancy include:
- Alcohol including herbal and cereal-based alcoholic drinks like burukutu and Ògógóró, palm wine, etc
- Soda and carbonated drinks
- Agbo jedi jedi (herbal concoctions) and green teas
- Coffee including Nestlé’s Nescafé.
These drinks can harm the baby unknowingly or cause miscarriage/abortion. It is important to prioritize what will be good for the health of both the mother and the baby than what one enjoys eating or drinking during pregnancy
In conclusion, even though Zobo drinks have many health advantages, it is not worth endangering the health of your unborn child.
Instead, try other alternatives like Kunu, a healthy beverage made from guinea corn, millet, tiger nuts, and a small amount of sweet potatoes. For nursing moms in particular, Kunu is said to increase milk production.
While there is some evidence to suggest that consuming large amounts of Zobo drink may be harmful during pregnancy, there is currently no evidence to suggest that moderate consumption of Zobo drink is unsafe.
As with any food or beverage during pregnancy, it is important to speak with a doctor before adding it to your diet.
- Medically reviewed by Dr. Elijah Agari