Will Raspberry Leaf Tea Help Bring On Birth?
You may read that raspberry leaf tea can bring on labour, or induce you, but the truth is...it won't.
It's actually linked to preparing the uterus for labour, by strengthening and toning it. So it has been shown to help shorten the second stage of labour, and is also linked to reducing interventions in birth. But even this, isn't a guarantee - it should be seen as a natural way to support your birth preparation, rather than a guarantee.
What Is Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Raspberry leaf tea is just as it sounds...the leaves of the raspberry plant. As a result, it doesn't taste of raspberries and it isn't red when you brew it. Instead it has a green/brown colour and quite a bitter taste when drunk on it's own - like a strong green tea.
It is high in anti-oxidants and linked to many general health benefits, but with varying degrees of evidence.
The Raspberry Leaf Tea For Birth Preparation Evidence
Raspberry leaf has been used for thousands of years by women to support their uterine wellness. There are a number of small scale research studies done, which have found evidence to support this traditional use.
Raspberry leaves contain a chemical compound called 'fragerine' which has been shown to make pregnant uterine muscles contract in lab studies. This benefit is linked to preparing the muscles and toning them, so that when you come to contract in labour, they are stronger and ready to go.
Research done with groups of 100 - 200 women has shown that statistically, those who take raspberry leaf do tend to have shorter labours and fewer interventions (use of forceps or vaccuums) in birth. But none show that it can induce or bring on labour.
Who Shouldn't Drink Raspberry Leaf Tea In Pregnancy?
You should always check with you midwife to get the best personalised advice, but there a few situations that mean you shouldn't drink raspberry leaf tea:
- If you're having a planned c-section
- You had premature labour, or an extremely quick labour previously (less than 3 hours)
- You have a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
It is always best to be get specific advice for your individual circumstances, and to always remember - no herbal tea is a drug. It has been shown to help the majority of women, but not every single one.