You may have heard the benefits of drinking red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy from midwives, doulas and/or mamas. I drank it during my first pregnancy in the third trimester and know many others who have as well.
But what is the truth about this tea? Does it really work? How is it effective? When should I start drinking it? We’ve got the answers for you!
Just like anything else, there are always controversies – does that really work? how do you really know? But it didn’t work for me … so on and so forth. There have been a few studies on a group of mothers who drank the tea and have had shorter labor and fewer medical interventions. The major controversy is whether the tea should be used throughout pregnancy or just in the second/third trimester. Note that it is suggested by sources to avoid drinking red raspberry leaf tea in the first trimester.
Always talk to your healthcare provider about starting red raspberry leaf tea.
You can check out a few studies in regard to RRTL: NCBI (Tea) and NCBI (Capsule Form) and also reference The American Pregnancy Association post about Herbal Tea and Pregnancy.
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What is Red Raspberry Leaf Tea (RRLT)?
Red Raspberry Leaf tea comes from the leaves of the red raspberry plant. The leaves are loaded with nutrients and are often made as an herbal tea that has medicinal uses. The herbal tea has been used for centuries to support respiratory, digestive and uterine health.
What does RRLT taste like?
It tastes like black tea (not like raspberries) without the caffeine. It doesn’t taste bad at all, it just isn’t fruity as the name may lead you to believe.
What RRLT is recommended?
You can either use the bulk loose tea or tea bags – either will work. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is available online, in your local health food store and most grocery stores. Here are a few recommended options:
RRLT Tea Bag Option: This is red raspberry leaf tea even though the packaging only says Raspberry Leaf.
RRLT Loose Tea Option: If you prefer loose tea, this option is best for you.
I ordered a bulk of boxes to keep on hand because I went through the tea pretty quickly and wanted to be sure I was stocked.
What are the health benefits and how does RRTL help in pregnancy and birth?
Red raspberry leaf tea contains a key ingredient alkaloid called fragrine, a plant compound that can help strengthen the uterus as well as the pelvic area.
Red raspberry leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals containing vitamins A, C, and E, a variety of B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. All of which helps the uterus function properly since it needs a lot of vitamins and minerals. It also contains minerals such as zinc, iron, chromium, and manganese.
Red raspberry leaf tea can help shorten labor and reduce complications and interventions during birth (including c-section). It can also help in other ways during pregnancy, birth and postpartum such as:
- Faster postpartum recovery
- Improve the effectiveness of contractions
- Reduce pain during labor and after birth
- Help balance postpartum hormones
- Help bring in breast milk for many mothers
When do I start drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea during pregnancy?
Many healthcare providers (midwives and doulas) recommend waiting until the second trimester to begin drinking the tea – always talk to your healthcare provider about starting red raspberry leaf tea.
Some moms prefer to wait until the third trimester, or even until 32 weeks to start drinking the tea. I waited until I was 30 weeks pregnant to start drinking the tea, starting at 1 cup a day and slowly increasing from 2-3 cups a day until my due date. Then I combined eating dates at 36 weeks to also help prepare for labor <<< check out my post on dates.
How much Red Raspberry Leaf tea do I drink?
Once you have spoken to your healthcare provider about starting to drink red raspberry leaf tea, the recommended start is 1 cup a day (8oz) starting at 32 weeks pregnant. Gradually increase from 1 to 2 cups per day and then to 3 cups as you approach your due date – if you do not experience any uterine cramping or other reactions.
Allow the tea to steep (covered) for at least 5 minutes before drinking. You can keep a gallon of cold tea in the fridge if you don’t want to brew by the cup.
I personally started drinking 1 cup a day for a few weeks, then gradually increased to 2 cups a day for the next few weeks and then drank 3 cups a day only about 2-3 weeks prior to my due date. My cervix was 100% softened and effaced at 38 weeks pregnant and by 40 weeks I was 3cm dilated.
From the time my water broke to giving birth to my son, my labor was a total of 8 hours. As a first time pregnancy, my labor and delivery went very smooth and even though I pushed for 3 hours, it could not have been more calming and easy. I will be drinking the tea and eating dates for my second pregnancy (due May 2020!)
If you happen to notice any uterine cramping, cut back on your dosage for a week or so and try again. Always consult with your healthcare provider!
Did you drink Red Raspberry Leaf tea during your pregnancy? Did you find that it helped ease your labor and delivery? Comment below!
Be sure to pin this post to reference back when you have reached your second trimester of pregnancy!
Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have.