Raspberry leaf tea and labour
Consuming raspberry leaf tea during your pregnancy is not scientifically proven to induce labour. However, it does act as a relaxant and many women believe it helps to shorten labour and make labour easier.
The raspberry plan (rubus idaeus) doesn’t just taste good, it’s leaves provide a source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. The magnesium content is thought to help strengthen the muscles of the uterus (womb) and help it work more effectively during labour. Many women believe it makes contractions more efficient resulting in a shorter labour.
Although many women swear that raspberry leaf tea helped to bring labour on naturally, there is no evidence for this. Instead researchers found that it can help to ease labour and make it slightly shorter. Midwifes in Australia researching the effects of raspberry leaf in tablet form discovered that:
- taking raspberry leaf tablets (2.4gm daily) from 32 weeks pregnancy until labour begins has no side effects on mum or baby.
- raspberry leaf tablets shortened the second stage of labour by an average of 10 minutes but made no difference to the length of the first stage of labour.
Other benefits of raspberry leaf tea (RLT) include:
- source of vitamin E, vitamin B1 and vitamin B3
- may lessen bleeding gums and nosebleeds during pregnancy
- calms morning sickness (allow some women find it causes nausea)
To be on the safe side, talk to your midwife or GP before you start taking raspberry leaf tea or any herbal supplement.
- Wait until your 3rd trimester.
- Start taking one cup a day after you are 32 weeks pregnant, then slowly build up to three cups.
- If you get practice contractions (braxton hicks) after taking the tea then stop taking it.
- you have had a very short labour or premature labour before
- are classed as ‘high-risk’
- have any complications in your pregnancy
- if you are expecting twins
- have high blood pressure
- you are booked in for a caesarian
- Make ice cubes of raspberry leaf tea in the summer to cool down.
- Take a flask of raspberry tea into the hospital
- Take raspberry tea in tablet form if you don’t like the taste
Many women continue to drink raspberry leaf tea after their baby is born to:
- assist the uterus in returning to its pre-pregnant size and shape
- fight off infections
- gain immune boosting vitamins and minerals
Where to now?
The Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: it’s safety and efficacy in labour, 2001 (Published Online 2010)
Photograph: Mike Bowler