Red raspberry leaf tea has been used as a pregnancy tea for at least two centuries. Although often recommended to induce labour, its actual role is to increase blood flow to the uterus and ready the uterine muscle for more organised contraction during labour.
It is advised to drink raspberry leaf tea from 37 weeks pregnant, starting with one cup a day and building up to three cups a day, to help bring on labour naturally.
While there are no studies to suggest that this fruity herbal tea can induce labour, by understanding how it works with the womb, one can see how drinking the tea prepares pregnant women for birth.
What does raspberry leaf tea do?
“Raspberry leaf tea is used by many women to help prepare their womb muscle for labour and birth,” says Rachel Fitz-Desorgher, author and former midwife. “The womb muscle contracts regularly day in and day out even when a woman is not pregnant, which is how it keeps toned and fit. As the womb gets ready for the mammoth effort required for labour and birth, the exercise it does picks up, just like a runner preparing for a marathon.
“Raspberry leaf tea is also thought to help the womb muscle tone up. There is some evidence that, by getting really toned up and ready for action in this way, a woman is less likely to go past 41 weeks of pregnancy. So although the tea doesn't really start labour, it might help push your body in the right direction by getting the womb fit and strong.”
Does raspberry leaf tea work?
Although no trials regarding red raspberry leaves and drinking red raspberry leaf tea as a pain management therapy during labour have been published, a few studies have looked at how this fruit tea affects labour and birth outcomes.
For example studies evaluating length of labour and birth outcomes with the use of raspberry leaf tea starting at 32 weeks of gestation. Statistics show that drinking raspberry leaf tea can shorten the second stage of labour and reduce post term pregnancy.
When to start drinking raspberry leaf tea
- It’s important to make sure you wait until the recommended date until you start drinking this tea. “The general advice is to wait until around 36 weeks gestation to start the drink, or taking the capsule alternative. This is because there is a worry about its impact in pregnancy,” says Laura Southern, a nutritional therapist from London Gynaecology.
- Sandra Greenbank, a nutritional therapist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and women's health says, this tea can induce labour, strengthen the uterus, make labour less painful, and, yes, even prevent tears during birth. Sandra adds: “Raspberry leaf has been famous throughout history for preparing mothers for childbirth. It is thought to help shorten labour, as it strengthens the uterine and pelvic muscles while also working as a relaxant at the same time, and therefore helps reduce the pain of contractions during labour.”
The risk factors of drinking raspberry tea: is raspberry leaf tea safe?
Some medical herbalists caution that you should be careful taking it early in pregnancy, as it stimulates the uterus so could bring on a miscarriage, although there are no studies on this
You should be careful if you are taking other medicines before drinking raspberry leaf tea as, like all herbal remedies, it can interfere with some other medicines such as those for diabetes and antidepressants and cause side effects
Always check the leaflet that comes with the tea leaves or tablets if you buy it over the counter or, better still, talk to your midwife
Before trying raspberry leaf tea, check with your midwife if you are booked to have a Caesarean
It's not advised to take it if you have high blood pressure
Don't drink this tea if you are expecting twins or your baby is breech
It is also wise to avoid the tea if you have family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, endometriosis or fibroids
Don't drink the tea if you've had a premature labour before
Overall it is best to speak to your midwife before considering drinking raspberry leaf tea to ensure that you personally aren't at risk.
Where to buy raspberry leaf tea
Once you have confirmed with your midwife that it is safe for you to begin drinking this tea, here are some raspberry leaf teas to try.
This tea was voted the best herbal product in 2009, that means that for the past 10 years, it's been one of the best raspberry leaf teas you can find in the market.
This is a refreshing, distinctive, and delicious blend of raspberry leaves made with natural herbs and enhanced with natural raspberry flavour. It's free from caffeine.
This is 100% pure botanical ingredients with absolutely nothing else added. The resealable airtight foil pouch will keep your tea fresher for longer.
If you're not so keen on the flavour of raspberry leaf tea, you can get this version that has peppermint as well.
This well-known tea brand brings you a kosher tea with oxygen-bleached tea bags.
Not a fan of the tea but still want to see if raspberry leaf works for you?
You can always try the capsules. Each daily dose provides 375 mg raspberry leaf extract, equivalent to 1500 mg fresh leaf and can be taken twice a day.
JoviTea is a raspberry leaf tea produced in Germany. It's 100% natural, free of artificial flavors or additives, flavour enhancers or colourings.