#HLWDK Daily Health Tips: Zobo, Lipton And Big Babies!

Q: Good morning doctor, 27weeks gone and I don’t want my baby to be big. Please can I take Lipton tea and zobo without sugar? Thanks Dr.

A: Zobo is a drink made from the Hibiscus flower. This drink is known by many other names depending on where you come from. Some popular names include Karkadi, Karkada, Zenaf, Sour tea, Roselle and of course, Zobo! There are many more names, by the way…but this post is not about the many names of Zobo.

Some people drink Zobo, because there is an assumption that it is a healthier alternative sugary, soft drinks. Well, it depends. If you prepare it with bottles of the sugary soft drinks you were trying to avoid ab initio, then maybe, it may not be so healthy, right? 

Again, some of the touted benefits of Hibiscus on hypertension, cholesterol levels, colds etc do not really have significant medical evidence to back them up.

However, it has been shown that taking Zobo with Acetaminophen (our regular Paracetamol) may lead to a situation where your body gets rid of the drug faster than it would have done ordinarily. This implies that in a short while the effect of the Paracetamol would have worn off and the person probably back with the ache.

There is not sufficient evidence to really confirm that zobo and a lot of other herbal drinks are safe in pregnancy. It has been suggested in some quarters that Hibiscus in excessive amounts could lead to menstruation leading to miscarriages in pregnant women. The evidence for or against this is not in great supply but it is probably a great idea to give it a miss during pregnancy. I would do so 

Tea contains caffeine. There are conflicting reports as to whether some amount of caffeine is beneficial in pregnancy (less than 200mg) or whether increased amounts are a problem > or more than 500mg). One regular teabag steeped in a small teacup has about 55mg of caffeine. So, it may be a good idea to limit your consumption of tea. Big babies are usually seen in women who

  1. Are diabetic.
  2. Have gestational Diabetes (Diabetes that is observed during pregnancy),
  3. Are obese
  4. Have had another big baby before
  5. Have had a lot of babies (from the 5thpregnancy, the risk of big babies increase)
  6. Excessive weight gain during pregnancy
  7. Are older. From age 35 years, the risk of having a big baby increases
  8. Have pregnancies that are overdue. When a pregnancy is more than 2 weeks overdue, the chances of a big baby are increased

For women with big babies (fetal macrosomia), a vaginal delivery may not be a complete no no! However, your OBGYN will weigh the risk of that against your medical history and other pre-existing medical conditions. Potential complications include having genital tract tears during delivery, prolonged labour and rupture of the uterus. The babies may be born with a higher than normal blood sugar level and be prone to childhood obesity.

However, none of this needs to happen if you eat nutritious foods and watch your portions. You should also register in a good center under the care of a qualified obstetrician.

To prevent having a big baby, remember that feeding for 2 is a fad. You don’t really need to eat like a horse  …you and your baby don’t need that much (an average of 12kg weight gain for 9 months…little over 1kg/month!); include some exercise (gentle stretches and walks, with your doctor’s knowledge and advice) and be sure that Diabetes is controlled, if you have this before pregnancy.

The link to my post on weight gain during pregnancy is included here to provide more information. https://chatwithdrketch.com/2013/12/02/daily-health-tips-eating-for-two/

So, for the remainder of your pregnancy, be sure to follow your doctor’s instruction on weight gain, medications etc. to the letter! Let’s share the good news when the baby is born.

All the best!

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