If you’re pregnant you’ve probably heard of raspberry leaf tea, but is it really safe and does it really work?
Raspberry leaf tea is made from the leaves of the raspberry plant and dates back to the sixth century. It has been taken by many women over the years for all sorts of ailments including high blood pressure, diarrhea, cold sores, sore throat, the list continues!
But why is it used so often during pregnancy?
Raspberry leaf tea contains many vitamins and minerals, most of which the uterus requires to function properly. A healthy uterus = healthy Mummy. The main vitamins included are C, E, A, B and minerals like magnesium, zinc and iron.
A study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health in 2001 found that women who drunk raspberry leaf tea had shorter labours and there were fewer complications and interventions during birth.
Raspberry leaf tea can be taken before and during your whole pregnancy but it has now been advised not to take it until your third trimester. If you do wish to start drinking it earlier then please check with your doctor or midwife before doing so.
But if you feel raspberry leaf tea is right for you then check out these benefits:
Helps reduce morning sickness – let’s face it, if you suffer from it then any relief would be good!
Prevents bleeding gums which sometimes occurs during pregnancy
Strengthen the uterus wall – this is by far the most important reason for so many women drinking the tea or taking the tablets. Raspberry leaf tea contains fragrine which helps to strengthen the muscles of the uterus which is believed to help with the second stage of labour.
Assist with the birth of the baby and placenta – With increased uterine muscles, it will help with the pushing stage of labour and the after birth bleeding
With increased vitamins and minerals, it can also help to promote the production of breastmilk.
Doctors recommend you start by drinking 1 cup a day from about 32 weeks of pregnancy. You can then slowly increase to 2 cups after a few weeks and then up to 3 cups. The tea can be made and frozen into ice cubes for the summer.
There are also tablets that you can buy from most heath food shops If you hate the taste. For recommended dosage please read the label.
But raspberry leaf tea isn’t for everyone and should not be used in some cases.
You should avoid taking it if:
You’ve had a previous caesarean or have a planned one this time
If you have had previous pre-term labours
If you have had bleeding in your second trimester
If you are overdue as it can cause intense contractions which could distress baby.
If you have had previous labours of less than 3 hours (unless you want to have the baby in the back seat of your car!)
There is not much research on the side effects but what is shown is that most women can tolerate raspberry leaf tea well with little or no side effects. If you do they are likely to be nausea, loose stools and increased Braxton hicks. If this is the case then please stop taking it.
Our last point sounds simple but please, please make sure that you buy your tea from a reputable place. There are reduced regulations for herbal medicines and you want to make sure that there are no other substances mixed in with the tea or tablets.