Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy
Organic red raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy often recommended in the last stages of pregnancy by nurse-midwives in the United States. The nutrients in it could help improve uterine muscle tone and prepare your body for labor, easing the birth of your baby. You may also experience a reduced need for interventions like a vacuum-assisted or forceps delivery, and the artificial rupture of membranes. But you should still be cautious and consult your doctor or midwife before you start using raspberry tea leaf.
Herbal teas have been used by midwives and alternative therapists to help pregnant women through their pregnancy for the longest time. Red raspberry leaf tea is one such natural remedy for a host of challenges linked with the third trimester like labor and childbirth, besides easing nausea of early pregnancy.1 And this is precisely why it is so popular. In fact, one poll found that of the 52 percent women using herbal remedies, 63 percent had tried raspberry leaf tea.2
But how safe is it to have raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy? And when is a good time to start drinking it? Here are some answers.
The Goodness Of Raspberry Leaf Tea
Before diving into whether or not you should actually be drinking the tea, here’s a look at what makes it a favorite with so many pregnant women and some midwives. Raspberry leaves contain beneficial compounds like natural antioxidants, including ellagic acid, flavonoids, and tannins. Tea brewed from these leaves could potentially help you tap its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, diuretic, and relaxant effects.3
Benefits Of Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy
According to the American Pregnancy Association, raspberry leaf tea is one of the “pregnancy teas” that could help you in various ways while you have a baby on board. It could allow you to reduce the chance of issues like prolonged labor and preterm labor, and ease other pregnancy-related problems like nausea. It could even help tone up your uterine muscles, making your body better prepared for the rigor of pregnancy.4
1. Prepare Your Body For Labor: Tone And Relax Uterine Muscles
Research has found that raspberry leaves can help relax the various muscles in the body, including the walls of your uterus. This can help ease labor in pregnant women who consume it late in their pregnancy.5 It is also believed to help tone up your pelvic muscles as well as uterine muscles to make delivery easier.6 Ironically, it is both a muscle relaxant and stimulant, properties that help with menstrual problems as well.7
2. Shorten Labor And Decrease Risk Of Pre/Post-Term Gestation
Another possible benefit of raspberry leaf tea is its ability to help shorten labor without impacting you or your baby adversely. It could even lower your chances of having a preterm birth or a baby who is overdue.8
3. Reduce Interventions During Childbirth
The American Pregnancy Association says that raspberry leaf tea could help reduce the need for interventions during childbirth.9 One study of 108 pregnant women suggests that those who consumed raspberry leaf products may be less likely to require artificial membrane rupture, caesarean sections, vacuum or forceps births.10
4. Help Milk Production When Breastfeeding
Wondering if you should continue having raspberry leaf tea post pregnancy? Here’s some food for thought. An iron-rich tea, raspberry leaf tea is also said to help boost milk production in women after childbirth. A galactagogue, the herbal tea brewed from the leaves of the raspberry plant can help women who need help with stimulating milk supply.11
5. Drink Up The Nutrients
Another reason midwives love red raspberry leaf tea is because it is chock-full of nutrients. According to the Royal College Of Midwives in the UK, the leaves are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. The magnesium is great for strengthening the womb by helping build uterine muscle tone.12
6. Other Possible Benefits
There are also some benefits that need further study. You are advised to check with your healthcare provider before experimenting with the tea for these possible benefits.
Ease Nausea: Morning sickness can be a huge problem for many pregnant women. Among alternative herbal remedies used, besides chamomile, ginger, and peppermint, is raspberry leaf tea.13
Reduce Postpartum Hemorrhage: There are also suggestions that raspberry leaf tea might help reduce postpartum hemorrhage, though this has not been adequately proven.14
Safety Of Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy
Now to the question of whether the tea, irrespective of all the goodness it has, is even safe for you to consume while pregnant. A red raspberry herbal remedy is generally regarded as safe for consumption during pregnancy at present, especially by midwives and alternative therapy practitioners.15 However, while there are wide-ranging reports of the benefits, anecdotal evidence, and conclusions from small studies, larger clinical studies are needed to establish the benefits and safety of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy. There are still not enough statistically significant studies done on the use of herbal remedies like raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy. Which is why the Food and Drug Administration advises all pregnant women to be very cautious if they decide to try herbal teas like this one.16 The bottom line? Consult your doctor and make sure it’s safe to have raspberry tea in your specific case.
Who Should Avoid Raspberry Leaf Tea
There are some instances where raspberry leaf tea consumption is explicitly advised against. These include the following17:
- When you need to have a planned cesarean section
- In case of possible breech births
- For pregnancy with multiples (twins, triplets etc.)
- For women with very high blood pressure
- When you are on a regimen of antidepressants
- When you need to take metformin as well
- When medication like atropine, aminophylline, ephedrine, codeine, or pseudoephedrine are being taken – the tea can hamper absorption of the medicines
How To Have Raspberry Leaf Tea
If you decide to have raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy, here are some ways to make it as safe as possible.18
- First step is, of course, getting a go-ahead from your doctor.
- Stick to organic raspberry leaf tea to ensure it is free of other chemicals.
- Use only well-known commercially produced brands. Unknown manufacturers may use more quantities of the herbs than are normally found in food or drink. These are, therefore, more likely to cause a problem. There is also the risk of toxic herbs getting mixed in or impurities spoiling the tea.
When To Have Raspberry Leaf Tea
Because there is some controversy around using red raspberry leaf throughout pregnancy, healthcare providers often suggest you avoid it during the first trimester, just to be safe. To make the most of the benefits of this herbal tea, you could begin drinking it in the second or even in the third trimester.19
Brewing Raspberry Leaf Tea
Usually, about 2 gm or a teaspoon of the tea is to be used per serving. Simply boil about 240 ml of water and infuse the herbal tea in this water for about five minutes before straining.20 If you are using fresh leaves, add three teaspoons of raspberry leaf to a cup filled with boiling water. Let it steep for about 15 minutes before you drink the tea.21
References [ + ]
|1, 2.||↑||Holst, Lone, Svein Haavik, and Hedvig Nordeng. “Raspberry leaf–Should it be recommended to pregnant women?.” Complementary therapies in clinical practice 15, no. 4 (2009): 204-208.|
|3, 5.||↑||Gudej, Jan, and Michal Tomczyk. “Determination of flavonoids, tannins and ellagic acid in leaves from Rubus L. species.” Archives of pharmacal research 27, no. 11 (2004): 1114-1119.|
|4, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19.||↑||Herbal Tea And Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association.|
|6.||↑||Bayles, Bryan P. “Herbal and other complementary medicine use by Texas midwives.” Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 52, no. 5 (2007): 473-478.|
|7, 20.||↑||McFarlin, Barbara L., Mary H. Gibson, Jann O’Rear, and Patsy Harman. “A national survey of herbal preparation use by nurse‐midwives for labor stimulation.” Journal of nurse-midwifery 44, no. 3 (1999): 205-216.|
|8, 10.||↑||Parsons, Myra, Michele Simpson, and Terri Ponton. “Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy.” Australian College of Midwives Incorporated Journal 12, no. 3 (1999): 20-25.|
|11.||↑||Patel, Hetvi N., Harsh B. Desai, and R. Krishnamurthy. “Plant as a booster for lactation.” Natural Products: An Indian Journal 9, no. 7 (2013): 298-304.|
|12.||↑||Rasberry leaves: Turning over a new leaf for pregnancy.The Royal College Of Midwives.|
|13.||↑||Wilkinson, Jenny M. “What do we know about herbal morning sickness treatments? A literature survey.” Midwifery 16, no. 3 (2000): 224-228.|
|15.||↑||Walls, Donna. “Herbs and Natural Therapies.” International Journal of Childbirth Education 24, no. 2 (2009).|
|17, 21.||↑||Rasberry leaves: Turning over a new leaf for pregnancy. The Royal College Of Midwives.|