Have you heard about taking raspberry leaf tea whilst pregnant? Is it an old wives tale, or does it actually work?
Upon announcing at my work place that I was pregnant for the first time, a colleague immediately recommended raspberry leaf tea. Another colleague wholeheartedly agreed with this recommendation, swearing great results. I have never been a herbal tea drinker and had never heard of it but as with anything related to a positive birth, I was only too pleased to take it on board!
If you’ve read my birth stories you’ll know that both of my labours were absolutely wonderful… after the first incredible experience, I made sure that I repeated everything exactly the same the second time around! Raspberry leaf tea was a part of my protocol but, much to my delight, a friend told me you could also buy it in capsule form, so I must admit to preferring that option as opposed to drinking the tea.
See what you think about these amazing claims and decide for yourself.
“It is believed that raspberry leaf, if taken regularly through pregnancy and labour can:
- Ease the symptoms of morning sickness.
- Sooth and prevent bleeding gums which many pregnant women often experience.
- Relax the smooth muscles of the uterus when it is contracting (Burn & Withell, 1941).
- Assist with the birth of the baby and the placenta.
- Calm cramping of the uterus.
- Provide a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. The magnesium content is especially helpful in strengthening the uterine muscles. Raspberry leaf also contains vitamins B1, B3 and E which are valuable in pregnancy.
Raspberry leaf was found to cause a relaxant effect on the uterus. It was believed that this relaxant effect caused the uterine contractions of labour to become better coordinated and more efficient, thus shortening the length of labour.” (Source: www.pregnancy.com.au)
“When taken during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf is said to aid the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and promote better circulation. Taking raspberry leaf is believed to help strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth, as well as assist with breastmilk supply.” (Source: www.bellybelly.com.au)
“The purpose of this study was to examine the safety and efficacy of raspberry leaf products consumed by a group of mothers during their pregnancy, by comparison with a group of mothers who did not. A retrospective observational design was used. Subjects were women who birth their babies at Westmead Hospital between January 1998-July 1998. The sample consisted of 108 mothers; 57 (52.8%) consumed raspberry leaf products while 51 (47.2%) were in the control group. The findings suggest that the raspberry leaf herb can be consumed by women during their pregnancy for the purpose for which it is taken, that is, to shorten labour with no identified side effects for the women or their babies. The findings also suggest ingestion of the drug might decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term gestation. An unexpected finding in this study seems to indicate that women who ingest raspberry leaf might be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth than the women in the control group.”
To be absolutely honest, I can’t remember at what stage I started taking it, nor the amount I consumed. I believe it was a case of starting at say one cup of tea or 2 capsules per day and then you could work up if you wanted to. Of course, this article is for information purposes only. As always, I encourage you to do your own research to decide if you feel it’s right for you and please consult your health care practitioner before taking raspberry leaf, the type of preparation, what dosage to take and when to commence.
Please note if you are not a first-time mum: It has been said to not take raspberry leaf tea if a previous labour lasted three hours or less. For me personally, seeings as I barely reached the hospital bed with bub no. 2, if there is a third I would consider not taking it!