Ask The Expert - Raspberry Leaf tea - research, benefits & personal experience
The Final Push Raspberry Leaf tea is an amazing drink and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: mocktails, ice lollies, iced teas, mixed with cordials, or purely drunk on its own, as it tastes so good! But how does it work and what are the benefits?
HotTea Mama have blended The Final Push Raspberry Leaf tea with 40% raspberry leaf, and 60% peppermint. The raspberry leaf helps to tone uterine muscles, with the theory that it helps to activate and strengthen the uterine muscles before labour. Therefore can make contractions during childbirth more effective, and lessen the discomfort felt by women.
The research is limited on raspberry leaf tea, and for the past 22 years all studies have said we need more robust evidence and bigger studies (this needs funding, as the majority of research funding goes to pharmaceutical companies, rather than complementary therapies). But from the small studies available, the link between drinking raspberry leaf tea regularly from between 32-34 weeks may potentially:
- Reduce the likelihood of post dates pregnancy (which could reduce the likelihood of a suggested labour induction)
- Reduce the length of the second stage of labour
- Lower the chance of artificial rupture of membranes (breaking the waters)
- Lower the chance of forceps and ventouse birth
(Simpson, 2001. Parsons, 1999)
What is raspberry leaf and what are its other benefits?
Raspberry leaf tea is made from the green leaves harvested from raspberry canes. Raspberry leaf naturally contains iron, calcium, and naturally occurring vitamins A, C, E and potassium.
How do you take raspberry leaf tea?
Begin drinking one cup of The Final Push tea from between 32-34 weeks, gradually increasing it over 4-6 weeks, to a maximum of 3 cups of tea a day.
If you experience any regular tightenings, then stop or reduce the amount of raspberry leaf tea. Do not exceed more than 3 cups per day, as there is a theory that too much over-saturates the muscles and could potentially have the opposite effect (similar to some other complementary therapies where it is about balance).
Postnatally it is recommended to reduce the raspberry leaf tea slowly to prevent a secondary postpartum haemorrhage (where a woman bleeds more than 24 hours after birth) – there is no data to say that this is a risk, but it is something discussed on the expectancy post dates course, given how raspberry leaf tea works on the uterine muscles.
When not to drink raspberry leaf tea
There are currently no known side effects to mums or babies, but women should avoid drinking raspberry leaf tea if they:
- Are taking metformin as raspberry leaf tea can interact and interfere with the absorption of the metformin: This will impact on the maternal blood sugars which are important to prevent complications during pregnancy.
- Have a history of pre-term births – in this case many midwives would recommend waiting until 37 weeks to start.
- Have been diagnosed with placenta previa.
- Have a previous caesarean/uterine scar – there is no evidence to say raspberry leaf tea is safe to take (there is also no evidence to say it is unsafe either, but in the absence of research and a scar on the uterus it is advised not to take).
- If you have any other health problems where you might think raspberry leaf tea could have an impact – talk to your midwife or a herbalist for more information.
My own experience of The Final Push Raspberry Leaf tea
With both of my pregnancies I used raspberry leaf tea.
My first pregnancy I tried fresh raspberry leaf tea (I would not recommend – it tastes very bitter), and managed to find some higher strength raspberry leaf tea online. Supermarket raspberry leaf tea is usually under 10%, so it is unlikely to have the desired benefits or effects, and I would recommend avoiding it.
In contrast, in my second pregnancy I started drinking The Final Push Raspberry Leaf Tea from 34 weeks, and by 37 weeks I was up to 3 cups a day.
Both of my active established parts of labour were quick. In my first pregnancy on paper I had around a 4 and a half hour labour (excluding early labour) and in my second I had my first contraction at 16.00 and had birthed my second daughter by 17.47.
Like with anything I’ll never know whether the raspberry leaf tea was the reason behind my quick labours: but I recommend it because I always think it’s better to have tried something than wish ‘I should have done this…’ .
As a midwife I have also had lots of women say they’ve drank it and had a quick birth, but also some say they drank it, and it made no difference and vice versa.
Every baby, pregnancy, mum and birth are different and unique, but drinking The Final Push tea at the end of pregnancy gives some control back to women, to try and facilitate a positive impact on their labour and birth. Plus The Final Push tea is not only caffeine free – but super tasty to drink too!
You can use ECOMIDWIFE20 for 20% off @hotteamama for, in my opinion, the nicest raspberry leaf tea on the market.