Pregnancy can be the most joyful time in a woman's life. From conception to labour, you will experience many highs. When preparing for labour, Red raspberry leaf tea can be of benefit.
Red raspberry leaf tea is an age-old remedy known for easing the birth process or inducing labour in pregnant women. Additionally, there is evidence that it can help with lactation and postpartum recovery. Use has traditionally been recommended from the third trimester of pregnancy.
Red raspberry leaf tea is a natural herbal tea that comes from the leaves of a red raspberry plant. The leaves have a fruity but earthy flavour, not to be confused with the sweet raspberry fruit.
In this article, we will look at the benefits of drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea and how to use it safely.
When to start red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy?
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Red raspberry leaf tea may strengthen the uterine walls
Midwives and herbalists have used red raspberry leaf tea to enhance womens birth experience for centuries. When you drink red raspberry leaf tea in the third trimester, leading up to labour, it can strengthen your uterine walls.
The alkaloids in the red raspberry leaf tea, which is called frangine, can help promote blood flow and smooth uterine muscles to ensure contractions are more effective. Frangine can tone your pelvic floor muscles along with your uterus walls. They also perform vital physiological functions within your body, such as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Your perineal area, sometimes referred to as your pelvic floor muscle, is the part between your thighs from the opening of your vagina to your anus. This area can be torn or surgically cut during childbirth.
The Australian Government website for clinical care standards in Australia has some useful information on how to avoid a perineal tear or surgical cut.
How to smooth your pelvic floor muscle to make delivery easier?
It is believed that red raspberry leaf tea accompanied by perineal massage can help smooth the muscles in this area to reduce tearing and make delivery easier.
You can carry out a perineal massage anytime during your pregnancy. It is a massage technique you can use to increase skin elasticity to help widen the birth canal in preparation for labour. Midwives recommend massaging the skin between your vagina and anus for 10 – 15 minutes daily in the last trimester.
Drink red raspberry leaf tea in the final trimester for best results. You can sweeten it naturally with Organic Stevia Leaf Powder if you prefer sweet tea.
Red raspberry leaf tea can be an effective remedy to strengthen the uterine walls during childbirth. The alkaloid frangine can smooth and strengthen not only your uterus but also the perineal area of your pelvic floor muscle. You can get the best results when accompanied by a perineal massage.
Red raspberry leaf tea can decrease labor time in pregnant women
Waiting for your baby to come can be an exciting and stressful time. While you shouldn't rely solely on red raspberry leaf tea to speed up or induce your labour if the baby is overdue, it can help to shorten the birth when used over the term of your final trimester.
Raspberry leaf can make your labour less uncomfortable by making your contractions more efficient. It can also help to expel your placenta safely and efficiently.
Red raspberry leaf tea takes time to build up in your system. Suppose you start drinking one cup of raspberry leaf tea a day in the third trimester (around week 28) of your pregnancy by the time you are ready to give birth. In that case, the tea can promote more effective labour, including the birthing of the placenta once the baby has been delivered.
This study shows how women experienced a shorter period of labour with a reduction in length of the second stage of childbirth. The study also found that there was no harm to humans in drinking the tea at this time.
Does red raspberry leaf tea help with Braxton Hicks?
Yes, it does. The contractions you can experience in the lead up to giving birth are called Braxton Hicks contractions. You can experience a Braxton Hicks contraction as a tightening of your abdomen, which comes and goes. These small contractions start in the last trimester, and red raspberry leaf tea can cause them to start.
Red raspberry leaf tea can help your body and uterus prepare for labour. While it is not recommended that you drink large amounts to bring on labour, it can be beneficial if taken daily during the last trimester of pregnancy.
Red raspberry leaf tea can improve contractions
Women experience labour in different ways. Giving birth can be smooth and incident-free with very little intervention. Studies have shown that raspberry leaf can help prevent some medical intervention procedures you can experience during labour.
Red raspberry can improve the quality of your contractions to allow the baby to birth without a need for an assisted delivery. By preparing your uterus for labour, red raspberry leaf tea can therefore reduce the incidence of medical intervention.
What is medical intervention during labour?
Medical intervention is an action taken by a doctor or midwife during the birth process to assist with the birth. A medical intervention experienced during childbirth could include:
- Artificial breaking of the water – A midwife or doctor will rupture the birth sac to induce labour
- Caesarean section - where the baby is removed from the mother's stomach via an incision to the lower abdomen.
- Forceps delivery – the baby is pulled from the birth canal by a pair of forceps
- Vacuum delivery – a vacuum is inserted over the baby's head to pull the baby from the birth canal.
- Episiotomy – a cut performed by a doctor or midwife to widen the opening of the birth canal.
This study showed that women who consumed red raspberry might be less likely than a control group to receive the following interventions:
- an artificial rupture of their membranes
- caesarean section
- vacuum birth
Assisted delivery is very common and usually has no long-lasting effects, but it can take a little longer for women to return to pre-pregnancy shape. We will look at how red raspberry can speed up postpartum recovery in the next section.
Red raspberry leaf could reduce the likelihood of women experiencing medical intervention during labour. The strengthening properties of the tea mean that caesarean, forceps, vacuum, or artificial membrane rupturing could be avoided. Red raspberry leaf tea can make contractions more efficient to ensure a safe birth.
Drinking red raspberry leaf tea can speed up postpartum recovery.
Postpartum recovery is an important stage of becoming a mother. Red raspberry leaf tea can help you speed up the healing process.
Postpartum recovery is the time that your body and mind take to recover from the stress of birth. Even if you have no medical intervention, your body may take a while to recover.
The benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea in the last trimester can extend to the time following the birth, otherwise known as the postpartum period.
In the same ways the raspberry leaf helped prepare the uterus for birth by toning the uterine walls, it can also repair and heal the pelvic floor and uterus following childbirth. If you have had an episiotomy where your perineum has been cut or torn, the flavonoids and tannins in raspberry leaf tea can assist wound healing.
This study shows how tannins like those found in the raspberry leaf can help heal wounds and reduce scar tissue. Tannins (or tannic acids) are present in many plants, and they promote wound and scar tissue shrinkage by protecting your cells from damage.
The healing of your perineum can take some weeks. Even if you have not experienced a tear or cut, your perineum can be swollen or painful for some time following labour. The flavonoids in red raspberry leaf tea can help to reduce the swelling and pain associated with this condition.
How do you heal a torn or swollen perineum after labour?
Besides drinking red raspberry leaf tea, other ways to help repair a torn or swollen perineum are to:
- Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes at a time
- Rinse the area with warm water following a visit to the toilet
- Air the region by not wearing underwear for short periods
- Wipe carefully after pooping
Postpartum bleeding is a regular occurrence while your uterus recovers after delivery. Bleeding is always heaviest immediately following birth. Red raspberry leaf tea may also slow the excessive bleeding experienced once the baby has been born. It may help your uterus return to a pre-pregnancy state quicker to reduce bleeding.
When you drink red raspberry leaf tea during the third trimester and beyond, it can help your body recover quickly. The flavonoids and tannins can aid in the recovery of tissue damage, slow postpartum bleeding and help return your uterus to its pre-pregnancy state.
Red raspberry leaf tea can provide vitamins and nutrients to pregnant women
While we don't recommend that you drink raspberry leaf tea until the final trimester of your pregnancy, it has been found to have many vitamins and minerals that can benefit pregnant women.
Red raspberry leaf tea has some vitamins and minerals essential for good health in pregnant women, including iron and calcium. Vitamins C and B are also found in raspberry leaf tea, and they are necessary for retaining good health during pregnancy.
According to studies, 28 grams of the raspberry leaf can provide 3.3mg of iron (18% of the RDI*) and 408 mg of calcium (30% of the RDI). You will need to boost calcium and iron levels with something other than just drinking red raspberry leaf tea.
Low iron levels (anaemia) while pregnant can make you feel weak and tired. The Australian Government Health Department Pregnancy Care Guidelines also has some useful advice for pregnant women if you think you may have iron deficiency.
Raspberry leaves also contain the following vitamins beneficial for the health of pregnant women and can aid in postpartum recovery. As the amounts in the red raspberry leaf are only a small portion of your RDI, you will need to ensure a balanced diet to boost levels during pregnancy.
- Vitamin C can help to heal your body following birth. It is also essential to help improve iron absorption.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) can play a part in keeping pregnant women healthy and supports your baby's brain development in utero.
- Vitamin E can help maintain your red blood cells, strengthen immunity, and give you healthy skin and eyes. Taking vitamin E while pregnant can reduce the likelihood of your baby developing respiratory problems later in life.
*RDI: Recommended Daily Intake
Red raspberry leaf tea can provide some of the minerals and vitamins you need during pregnancy and postpartum. When accompanied by a balanced and healthy diet, red raspberry leaf tea can benefit pregnant women in the final trimester and beyond.
The antioxidants in red raspberry leaf tea can heal your body
Antioxidants are in high demand as your body prepares to grow a new life. The antioxidants in raspberry leaf can help with many aspects of your pregnancy, including healing and cell renewal.
The Vitamin E, tannins, and flavonoids make up antioxidants in red raspberry leaf. While tannins and flavonoids work to heal and reduce scar tissue during postpartum, Vitamin E and ellagic acid found in the raspberry leaf can help with cell renewal.
Excess free radicals can damage healthy cells and cause oxidative stress in pregnant women. Oxidative stress can cause problems such as pre-eclampsia, early delivery, and premature membrane rupture, as shown in this study. Therefore, we need extra antioxidants to fight the free radicals and help renew our cells and heal our bodies.
Other foods and beverages high in antioxidants to safely reduce free radicals and prevent oxidative stress during pregnancy include:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Pulses – beans and peas
- Whole cereals
- Green tea
- Chamomile tea
- Pregnancy Tea Nouveau Nee – a blend of raspberry leaf, chamomile, ginger & fennel seeds.
- Peppermint tea
- Dark chocolate
Can red raspberry leaf tea help with pregnant mum's immunity?
Yes, it can. Sometimes during pregnancy, we can become a bit rundown and prone to any virus that is going around. Drinking red raspberry leaf tea can help with a low immunity during pregnancy.
Red raspberry leaf tea contains antioxidants and Vitamin C, which are both essential for boosting your immunity and stopping you from getting sick when pregnant.
The presence of free radicals not only attack our healthy cells but also can make us more susceptible to colds and flu. The same antioxidants we have already discussed can help our bodies fight viruses and diseases.
Some other teas high in antioxidants, you could try to help you recover quickly from a cold or flu could during pregnancy include:
- Ginger – for a warming drink
- Peppermint – to fight the symptoms of a cold
- Chamomile – to fight infections associated with colds
- Lemon balm – to help boost immunity
Antioxidants found in red raspberry leaf can help reduce the free radicals your body produces while undergoing the intense physiological changes of pregnancy. The tea can help with cell renewal and healing during and after birth.
Other benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea
When you are pregnant in your third trimester, the benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea are many. We will look at some of the additional benefits to you and your baby.
Red raspberry leaf tea has been known to boost lactation, help with immunity levels, and relieve the nausea of morning sickness. It is not generally recommended that you drink red raspberry leaf tea before the third trimester because of the dangers of stimulating the uterus.
Breastmilk supply can be increased by drinking red raspberry leaf tea
The milk supply for your newborn can cause concern, especially if you don't feel like you are producing enough. Drinking red raspberry leaf tea could increase milk supply.
Red raspberry leaf can activate the hormone, prolactin which can enlarge your breasts and bring in your milk supply after your baby is born. Remaining hydrated is also very important when breastfeeding as your body takes all fluids and nutrients and uses them to produce milk for your baby.
The evidence for improved lactation from drinking raspberry leaf tea is primarily anecdotal. Even though studies have been carried out, like this study, there is no conclusive evidence to say that it improves lactation in new mums.
Always talk to your doctor (GP) if you are concerned about what to consume while breastfeeding.
Are there any other teas good for lactation?
Not to mention red raspberry leaf tea, there are several natural herbal teas that can help to stimulate lactation in breastfeeding mums. You can try:
- Milk thistle
- Stinging nettle
To read further about the positive benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea and other teas to boost lactation, see the following articles:
Raspberry leaf tea can help you lose postpartum fat
Raspberry leaf tea is sometimes recommended as a detoxifying tea that can help you lose postpartum weight by eliminating toxins and waste.
The antioxidants and polyphenols in the tea can help to speed up your metabolism and burn more fat. Therefore, red raspberry leaf tea can be a weight loss aid to help restore your pre-baby body.
If weight loss is your goal while breastfeeding, some additional teas can also be helpful.
Red raspberry leaf can help with your skin
Your skin can change during pregnancy. Some women report outbreaks of acne or pimples while other women get stretch marks as their bodies swell with the new baby. Raspberry leaf tea could help heal your skin.
Red raspberry leaf tea can reduce the appearance of some common skin changes during pregnancy. The antioxidants in the tea can reduce skin inflammation when consumed as a beverage or used topically and applied directly to the skin.
This article lists the common skin complaints experienced by women during pregnancy. Some of these conditions are hormone-related while others may be pre-existing conditions that have changed during pregnancy.
For pregnancy related conditions such as stretch marks, the tannins in red raspberry leaf tea could reduce the appearance of stretch marks by stimulating skin regeneration and helping to heal surface skin.
When applied topically on the skin, raspberry leaf can act as an astringent to tighten the top layers of your skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of the tea can also relieve irritated skin and improve firmness.
Is red raspberry leaf tea a cure for morning sickness?
No, it isn’t. While some women have reported a reduction in their morning sickness following the consumption of raspberry leaf tea in early pregnancy, there is not enough evidence or studies to prove that it is safe or unsafe to take at this time.
We have already discussed that there could be some risks to taking raspberry leaf before the third trimester of your pregnancy.
The fact that raspberry leaf can cause Braxton Hicks contractions later in pregnancy holds some concerns for possible miscarriage during the first stage of pregnancy. Stimulating the uterine muscles is ideal during the last stage of pregnancy but not ideal if you are concerned about miscarriage in the first trimester.
If you want to read about some safe teas you can have to prevent morning sickness, look at this article.
When is it safe to drink red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy?
Some teas are completely safe to drink throughout your pregnancy, and others require that you take some precautions.
It is generally considered safe to drink red raspberry leaf tea in the third trimester of your pregnancy, in the time after you have given birth, or during the postpartum period.
When taking a herbal tea or beverage, including red raspberry leaf tea when pregnant, you should always exercise caution and drink in moderation. If it doesn't feel right, you know your body best to stop taking the tea and seek medical advice.
How much red raspberry leaf tea should I drink?
When you are in your third trimester, at 28 weeks, start by drinking one cup per day, slowly increasing to 3 cups spread throughout the day:
- After 28 weeks - 1 cup daily.
- After 32 weeks - 2 cups daily.
- After 38 weeks - 3 cups daily.
You can drink it as a hot or cooled drink and sweeten it to taste.
Read this article for more information about some other safe and unsafe teas to drink during pregnancy.
When should I avoid red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy?
Here are some circumstances where you should avoid drinking red raspberry leaf tea.
- Drinking large amounts of raspberry leaf tea to induce labour is not advised as the contractions it produces could be painful and harm your baby. Always seek medical advice first.
- If you are having your baby induced at the hospital, it is advised that you don't continue to drink raspberry leaf tea during this time as it could interfere with the induction process.
- Stop drinking the tea if you think that Braxton Hicks contractions are too strong.
- If you are expecting a baby who is breech, take the advice of your medical professional
- If previously you have had a caesarean section birth
- You have experienced any health problems during your pregnancy, including high blood pressure.
Raspberry leaf tea is generally considered safe to drink during the third trimester of your pregnancy. It should be avoided if your baby is being medically induced, your baby is breech, or you have experienced any health conditions such as high blood pressure.
Possible side-effects of drinking red raspberry leaf tea
As with any herbal preparation, there can be side effects that may or may not affect you. We will look at some of the more common ones.
The possible side effects of red raspberry leaf tea can range from a skin rash if you are allergic to berries to a dangerous lowering of blood sugar levels if you have gestational diabetes. Drinking raspberry leaf before the final trimester of your pregnancy can also risk miscarriage.
If you have an allergy to any berry, it is probably best to avoid taking raspberry leaf tea. People with berry allergies have reported an itchy skin rash following tea consumption.
This study control in gestational diabetes. This is a condition where women may experience high blood sugar or diabetes during pregnancy. Symptoms include being thirsty all the time, frequent urination, and sweating.
Because red raspberry leaf can cause Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy, it can have the possible side effect of causing a miscarriage or early birth in the first part of your pregnancy. There has not been much research on this topic, so it is always good to err on the side of caution when consuming herbal remedies during pregnancy.
Here are other side effects of consuming red raspberry leaf tea.
- It can have a diuretic effect on the body, causing excess urination or pooping.
- If you take blood-thinning medicine, it can prevent clotting.
- It can boost estrogen in hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast or ovarian cancer.
Red raspberry leaf tea can have side effects like any herbal preparation. Allergies to berries can mean a skin rash, and it can be dangerous for women with gestational diabetes as it lowers blood sugar levels significantly.
Can red raspberry leaf tea help me if I am not pregnant?
Even if you are not pregnant, red raspberry leaf tea is the perfect tonic for women. We will show you some of the ways it can help.
There is a reason why raspberry leaf is sometimes referred to as the "women's tea". It can help
- soothe menstrual cramps
- aid infertility
- reduce heavy periods
If you suffer from period cramps during PMS, the good news is that raspberry leaf can help ease them. It can reduce heavy and irregular bleeding by slowing the flow of blood and tightening the pelvic region. The relaxant properties of red raspberry can relieve cramps and spasms when menstruating.
If you have any other problems with your period, read these articles:
Can I drink red raspberry leaf tea when trying to conceive?
Yes, you can. Raspberry leaf tea is a popular beverage for women trying to conceive. The leaf contains phyto-progesterone, which can increase the progesterone levels in your body to improve the chances of falling pregnant.
To learn more about the properties of this versatile tea and other teas, and how they encourage conception, read this article.
The benefits of red raspberry leaf tea are widely known for treating menstruation and fertility issues in women. Women who experience period cramps and excess bleeding can benefit from drinking tea during this time.
The benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea when pregnant have been widely explored and found to be many.
Midwives and herbalists have long utilised this versatile herb to strengthen your uterine wall to heal your body following birth. Moreover, the benefits of red raspberry leaf tea in the treatment of period cramps and even as a fertility booster are known by women worldwide.
It is widely recommended that the leaf is probably safe during the last trimester but must be taken with caution during the early months of pregnancy. As we discussed, the benefits for breastfeeding mums and the healing properties of the tea can have you feeling like your pre-pregnancy self in no time!