Model Amber Rose uploaded a controversial ad promoting a detox tea for pregnant women by Flat Tummy Co. Rose, who is currently pregnant with her second child, posed with a package of the product and told her 18 million subscribers that the tea was safe for pregnant women.
In the photo, Rose posed with a package of “Organic Pregnancy Tea” by Flat Tummy Co. while showing her bare pregnant belly. On the caption of the picture, Rose wrote,
“Okay listen up @flattummyco just launched an Organic Pregnancy Tea to help us moms with those bloated, nauseous, blah feeling days! It’s safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. This is not a detox tea – it’s specially designed to help reduce occasional nausea and support digestion during pregnancy – haters stop riding the bandwagon and think for yourselves.”
View this post on Instagram
#ad Okay listen up @flattummyco just launched an Organic Pregnancy Tea to help us moms with those bloated, nauseous, blah feeling days! It’s safe to take while pregnant and breastfeeding. This is not a detox tea – it’s specially designed to help reduce occasional nausea and support digestion during pregnancy – haters stop riding the bandwagon and think for yourselves.
Responses by users were immediate and visceral because of Flat Tummy Co. sells detox teas that contain laxatives. The company uses influencers to promote their products, although they are not FDA approved. Additionally, ingredients in their beverages, lollipops, and shakes contain senna, a laxative, that causes diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps.
According to Flat Tummy Co.’s website, pregnancy tea is a combination of herbs that aim to reduce bloat and occasional nausea with pregnancy. The product description reads,
“Another shameless ad for “magic tea” perpetuating the need to have a flat tummy… Now aimed at pregnant women! Ily. You’re supposed to be a feminist. You have enough money. Seriously just stop.”
“Imagine drinking something called flat tummy when you’re pregnant. Oh, lord..”
“Bloat isn’t just about the way our tummies look, it’s about the sluggish, blahhh feeling that comes along with it too. These hand selected ingredients work to support digestion and even help reduce occasional nausea.* Just have a cup whenever you feel like you could use an extra boost, and feel freaking good again.*”
Additionally, Flat Tummy Co states the product contains gentle and safe ingredients for women. The tea includes ginger root, rosehip, lemon balm, rooibos, stevia, and oatstraw. Most of the ingredients in the product are considered safe or likely safe for consumption by pregnant women.
However, the American Pregnancy Association states that herbs can contain substances that can cause miscarriage, premature birth, uterine contractions, and injury to the fetus. On their website, the APA says that ginger root, lemon balm, oatstraw are likely safe or possibly safe for pregnancy. Stevia, a low-calorie sweetener, is generally considered safe for consumption for pregnant women according to the FDA.
One ingredient, Rose Hips, is problematic for pregnant women. Rose Hips is commonly used as a mild laxative in the alternative health world. The fruit helps rid the body of excess salt and water. Because of the plant’s side effects, the ingredient has insufficient data to determine safety for pregnant women.
According to Pregnancy Safety Information, Rose Hips may stimulate the uterus and cause miscarriage. Because the fruit is not well understood, pregnant women should consult a doctor before consuming products with Rose Hips.
On Flat Tummy Co’s website, the Organic Pregnancy tea sells for $39.00. The company insists the product is safe to use for pregnant women. However, a disclaimer at the bottom of the description reads,
“Results from consuming the products offered on the Site may vary from person to person. If you are pregnant or breast feeding you should always discuss with your doctor any dietary supplements or teas that you are consuming and follow their advice. The statements on the Site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and the products offered on the Site are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
Flat Tummy Co has made millions of dollars selling products to teenagers and young women by using social media influencers like Amber Rose. Influencers can earn millions of dollars for a single ad on Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube. However, the ads rarely contain disclaimers to consumers to warn them that the products are not FDA approved to treat, prevent, or cure illnesses.
Due to the deceptive marketing, Senator Richard Blumenthal wrote a letter to the FTC to investigate the marketing of these products online. In the letter, Blumenthal said that teens and young women use the products to lose weight.
However, the products contain senna, a laxative, that is not safe for daily use. By using the products, women and teens are becoming dependent on laxatives and developing eating disorders. Blumenthal hopes that the FTC will stop companies like Flat Tummy Co from promoting harmful products to children online.
Despite the backlash, Amber Rose appeared unswayed by her fans call to remove the ad. The ad remains on her Instagram and is visible to her 18.1 million followers. Sadly, there is no way to know how many people will try the product due to her endorsement.
Want a deeper dive into Flat Tummy Co’s new pregnancy tea, watch my stream:
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
Communicate with Katie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Merchandise available at Teespring.
Buy Katie Joy a cup of Coffee.
Individuals wishing to help Katie with her expenses can become patrons. Patrons gain exclusive access to stories, new projects, and future books.