Based on the current advice/information from Denise Tiran (Midwife, Lecturer and Complementary Therapist).
We can’t be certain about the benefits of raspberry leaf tea, as there has been so little research into it. Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy, not to be confused with raspberry fruit tea.
What is raspberry leaf tea?
Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy that is thought to tone the muscles of your uterus (womb), to help it work during labour. The idea is not so much to speed up labour but to help it progress at a steady pace.
Is raspberry leaf tea safe in pregnancy?
Some midwives and doctors advise against taking anything that may interfere with labour. That is especially the case if there is a lack of evidence that it works. Our bodies are designed to give birth without help. Trying to change the course of this natural process could be seen as just another way to induce or speed up your labour.
Evidence provided by NHS Medicines Information (2014) shows that research studies show no difference in length of labour or birth outcome for mums who had taken raspberry leaf tea compared to those who had not.
Like other herbal teas, raspberry leaf should be drunk in moderation. The chemicals in the tea work their way through your body in the same way as a drug. This may affect how some of your bodily processes work.
The only known possible side effects if taken correctly are nausea, loose stools and Braxton Hicks contractions.
When should you avoid raspberry leaf tea?
. If your previous labour lasted three hours or less from start to finish
. You are going to have a planned caesarian section for a medical reason
. You have had a caesarian section before
. You have had a premature labour before
. You have had any vaginal bleeding in the second half of your pregnancy
. You are expecting a baby who is breech
. You have any complications or health problems in your pregnancy, including high blood pressure
. You are expecting twins.
When should you start taking raspberry leaf tea?
If you do decide to take raspberry leaf tea, it’s recommended that you start when you are about 32 weeks pregnant, though not before. This will give enough time for it to build up in your body. Begin with one cup a day, gradually increasing to three cups. If you don’t like the taste of the tea you can buy raspberry leaf capsules.
If you have strong Braxton Hicks contractions after drinking the tea, cut down on the amount you drink, or stop taking it.
Raspberry leaf tea for labour
Because raspberry leaf tea takes several weeks to build up in your body, you should not drink a lot of it in one go to ‘bring on labour’ if you are overdue. This may cause contractions that are so intense that it causes distress to your baby.
During early labour while you are at home, you can either sip hot tea, or suck ice cubes made from tea. You could also take a flask of the tea with you into the hospital or birth centre. However, don’t take the tea if your labour is being induced, or if you are having treatment with a hormone drip to speed up labour.
If you have already had a baby and your labour went smoothly first time around, there is no need for you to drink raspberry leaf tea for this baby.