In recent years, Raspberry Leaf Tea has become one of the pregnancy must-have items. It is easy to see why – Raspberry Leaf Tea is thought to strengthen the walls of the uterus (the womb), potentially decrease the time you spend in labour, and make labour less painful. As with all teas, it may also help you to relax your mind and ease the stress that comes in those last few weeks.
Whilst it is often thought that drinking the tea induces labour, this has not been medically proven. However, the tea is thought to help tone and tighten the uterus muscle, and this is thought to help preparation for giving birth. Therefore, although it may not induce labour, it may be the case that it helps the uterus prepare and get strong and therefore push labour in the right direction.
However, it is worth knowing that very limited studies have been carried out on the benefits (or not) and consequences of taking raspberry leaf tea and therefore it is advised by experts to be cautious when deciding whether to take it (and often they will not recommend it due to the lack of studies around its use). Due to the lack of evidence around its safety and benefits, it becomes a personal choice for women whether they wish to take it or not (lots of women choose to do so based on positive personal anecdotes from other new mums).
If you take it, it is recommended that you begin taking it in gradually increasing doses – start with one cup a day at 32 weeks, and then gradually progress to 2-3 cups a day from 37 weeks. It is not recommended to take it earlier in the pregnancy as it is unknown what effects it may have and stimulating the uterus too early could in theory (although not proven) bring on a miscarriage.
If you find that you have strong Braxton Hicks contractions after drinking the tea, you should stop immediately (or reduce the quantity). If you are overdue, also be careful with the quantity that you consume as it may cause contractions which are so intense that your baby becomes distressed.
Although it has been around for hundreds of years, there have been very limited studies carried out into the benefits (or not) of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy and therefore you should avoid taking the tea (or seek medical advice prior to taking) if you:
- are going to have a planned caesarean section for medical reasons or have had a previous caesarean section
- have had a previous premature labour or a previous labour which lasted only three hours or less from start to finish
- have had any vaginal bleeding in the second half of your pregnancy
- have a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, endometriosis or fibroids or you have any complications or health problems in your pregnancy, including high blood pressure
- are taking other medications (e.g. for diabetes)
- are expecting a baby who is breech
- are expecting twins.
A lot of mums don’t like the taste of raspberry leaves, and therefore we love HotTea Mama’s The Final Push Raspberry Leaf Tea as they mix it with peppermint, giving a lovely taste.
The above is not medical advice, and you should seek the advice of your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns about taking raspberry leaf tea.