Raspberry leaf tea has been used as a medicinal tonic for centuries. It is known to relieve several discomforts, from morning sickness to painful labor, in pregnant women.
But what does the research say? In what way does it help pregnant women? This MomJunction post tells you about the benefits of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy, how much you can take, its possible side-effects and when not to consume the tea.
Benefits of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy and birth
Raspberry leaves offer several benefits thanks to their antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, relaxant and diuretic properties. Let us know what research says about this pregnancy tea.
1. Prepares the body for the labor
The raspberry leaf helps relax various muscles, including the uterine muscles. Thus, it eases labor when taken in the later stages of pregnancy. It contains an alkaloid called fragarine that is known to tone pelvic and uterine muscles and make the delivery easy (1).
2. Shortens labor and lowers the risk of pre/post-term gestation
It is known to shorten labor without causing any impact on the mother and the baby. Studies have found that pregnant women who had raspberry tea towards the end of their pregnancy had a shorter second stage of labor when compared to those who did not take. It also reduces the chance of having a preterm or an overdue baby (2).
3. Results in fewer medical interventions during birth
Regular consumption of raspberry leaf tea paves way for labor with fewer complications. Studies show that women who had the raspberry leaf in the later stages of pregnancy had reduced chances of C-section, artificial membrane rupture, and forceps or vacuum births (3).
4. A rich source of nutrients and antioxidants
Raspberry leaves are rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, minerals, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus (4). They also contain antioxidants such as ellagic acid, tannins, and flavonoids (5). These are all available in an absorbable form that makes the tea a good source of nutrients during pregnancy.
5. Other potential benefits
Raspberry leaf has other benefits, like those mentioned below, for women in general. In fact, the leaf is referred to as a woman’s herb. However, further research is needed to confirm the benefits.
- Reduces morning sickness (6)
- Boosts immune system
- Strengthens the amniotic sac
- Balances postpartum hormones, and promotes breast milk after delivery (7)
- Aids in blood circulation
- Reduces post-delivery bleeding
- Helps shrink the uterus to post pregnancy
Raspberry helps you at various stages of pregnancy. Therefore, you need not wait until the third trimester to start drinking the tea.
When Can You Start Consuming Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Most doctors recommend taking raspberry leaf tea from the second trimester for it to help induce labor when the time comes. However, there are no studies to support this. Some women prefer to take it from the third trimester or wait until the 34th week.
You may also take it earlier as it is known to reduce morning sickness and nausea. However, we advise you to talk to your doctor before adding the tea to your diet. Also, you need to only have it in limited quantity.
How Much Raspberry Leaf Tea Can You Drink?
You can begin with one cup of tea a day during the second trimester. If you do not experience uterine cramps or any other reactions, gradually increase the intake to two cups and three cups by the time you enter the third trimester (8).
You should discontinue it if you experience untimely contractions, spotting, or any other discomfort and try it again just before the due date. Also, make sure you are buying good-quality tea.
How To Choose Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Raspberry leaf tea is available in the form of tea bags and loose leaves. You will find them in food stores, supermarkets and online too. Here is what you need to know about selecting the type of tea.
- Go for the organic variety because it is free of pesticide residue.
- Understand the difference between red raspberry leaf and raspberry leaf. Red raspberry is 100% raspberry leaf whereas teas labeled as raspberry are a blend of hibiscus, rosehips or raspberry flavor that are not effective.
You will also get the product in the form of tablets or tincture.
How To Brew Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Here we tell you the best way to brew one cup of raspberry leaf tea:
You will need:
- Organic red raspberry leaves – 2 cups (dried)
- Alfalfa leaf – 1/2 cup (dried)
- Nettle leaf – 1/2 cup (dried)
- Dandelion leaf – 1/4 cup (dried)
How to make:
- Mix all the ingredients and store in an air-tight jar.
- Add one tablespoon of tea mixture to eight ounces of boiling water.
- Allow it to steep for five minutes, strain the tea and then consume.
- The tea mixture is enough to make around two liters of tea.
Total preparation time: 10min
Are There Any Side Effects Of Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Raspberry is considered safe for the mother and the baby. However, some women might have one or more of these side effects if the tea is taken in large quantities:
- Loose stools
- Braxton Hicks’ contractions
- Increased urination
- Decreased response to insulin
If you have any of these side-effects, stop using the tea even though these symptoms are not dangerous in most cases. However, the tea should not be taken in certain situations.
Who Should Not Take Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Do not take this herbal tea if you:
- are going for a planned C-section
- have a breech presentation of the baby
- have multiple pregnancies
- have high blood pressure
- are taking antidepressants or metformin
- are on medications such as ainophylline, atropine, codeine, ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as the tea influences the effects.
Raspberry leaf tea might be good in multiple ways but you need to seek your doctor’s advice before using it, especially if you intend to drink it every day from the start of your pregnancy. Also, you need to rule out the risk of any drug interactions or allergic reactions associated with its use because each woman is different and so is her body.
Did you drink raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy? Share your experiences in the comments section below.
2. Simpson M et, al.; Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor; J Midwifery Womens Health (2001)
3. Parsons M et al.; Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy; Aust Coll Midwives Inc J (1999)
4. Anastasia-Varvara Ferlemi and Fotini N. Lamari; Berry leaves: An alternative source of bioactive natural products of nutritional and medicinal value; Antioxidants (Basel) (2016)
5. Lucie Buřičová et al.; Antioxidant capacity and antioxidants of strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry leaves; Czech Journal of Food Sciences (2011)
6. Wilkinson JM; What do we know about herbal morning sickness treatments? A literature survey; Midwifery (2000)
7. Deema Hilmi Adawi; Prevalence and predictors of herb use during pregnancy (A study at Rafidia Governmental Hospital/ Palestine); An-Najah National University Faculty of Graduate Studies (2012)
8. Peggy O’Mara; Mothering Magazine’s Having a baby, naturally: the mothering magazine guide to pregnancy and childbirth