New series alert! There are so many topics on pregnancy and birth boards that parents continue to question. We want to help clear up some of those questions and misinformation with a series called "So You Want to Know About..." We'll be covering some of the most commonly talked about (and debated about) topics -- things that can make your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum safer, healthier, easier, and more enjoyable. Today we're talking about red raspberry leaf tea.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy
What is it?
Red raspberry leaf tea is tea made from the leaves of the raspberry bush.
What is it used for?
Red raspberry leaf tea has been used for centuries across cultures and time, historically and significantly by Native Americans, to treat a variety of ailments and bodily issues, including pregnancy-related problems and bowel and digestive issues. Today, red raspberry leaf continues to be used to relieve premenstrual symptoms like cramping, nausea, and diarrhea, and it's also used to strengthen the uterus to potentially shorten labor and birth, and potentially prevent certain complications like premature and overdue birth, and may decrease the likelihood of needing interventions like artificial water breaking, c-section, forceps, and vacuum during labor.
Why is it a hot topic?
Red raspberry leaf tea is purported to be beneficial because it strengthens the uterus through contractions. These strengthening contractions, though not strong enough to cause labor by themselves, are believed to help a person experience an easier labor and birth. Because red raspberry leaf can cause contractions, however, there is concern about triggering miscarriage in early pregnancy. For this reason, many midwives advise taking red raspberry leaf tea after 32 weeks. Additionally, while the available research shows no risks to consuming red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy, the research is not extensive and does not rule out long-term risks.
What does the research say?
Research conducted thus far about the benefits and risks of drinking red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy has shown potential but not proven benefits as well as no risks to outcomes in birth. Studies have also indicated that more research is needed to confirm any potential benefits as well as rule out any short-term and long-term risks. Learn more about and read summaries of the specific studies and research available on drinking red raspberry leaf during pregnancy on Evidence Based Birth. In the smaller study, findings suggested that ingesting the tea might decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term birth, as well as being less likely to receive an artificial rupture of membranes (breaking water), or require c-section, forceps, or vacuum during birth.
In short: According to available research, drinking red raspberry leaf tea in pregnancy does not cause problems for pregnancy or birth. We don't have sufficient research to know if there are any long-term problems from drinking red raspberry leaf tea. Research has not proven any specific benefits from drinking red raspberry leaf tea, either, though it has been used for centuries across cultures with purported benefits of making labor and birth easier.
What's the bottom line?
Talk to your doctor, midwife, or obstetrician before beginning any new supplement during pregnancy. According to significant centuries-old and current anecdotal evidence, consuming red raspberry leaf tea regularly during pregnancy is associated with shorter and potentially easier labors. Research to date has shown no evidence of adverse (negative) outcomes in pregnancy and labor. We do not have sufficient research about long-term affects.
For further information, check out this post on Mama Natural, this review on Evidence Based Birth, and this article on Healthline.
TagsLabor Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Herbal Supplements