Red raspberry leaf is a herb that is used medicinally for thousands of years. Raspberry leaf has been used by indigenous cultures in Australia for thousands of years. In the 1940s, western medicine practitioners began to use it as a tonic for the uterus during pregnancy and childbirth.
Benefits Of Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaves contains a rich assortment of vitamins including Vitamin B complex, calcium, iron, magnesium and fragarine. Across the world, red raspberry leaf is used to treat flu, loose stool, acne, lowering the blood sugar of diabetic women, regulate irregular menstrual cycles, decrease heavy periods and lowering blood pressure to name some of the most popular uses.
When taken during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf is believed to aid the mother’s immune system, ease morning sickness and promote better circulation. Taking raspberry leaf is said to strengthen uterine muscles and tone the pelvic floor in preparation for childbirth, as well as assisting with breast milk supply.
Studies have shown that women who take red raspberry leaf have a reduced incidence of birth interventions. Research has also found that women who drink red raspberry leaf tea regularly towards the end of their pregnancies had shorter second stages of labour than those who don’t. Yay!
Source: Study published by Australian midwives in 1999:
“The sample consisted of 108 mothers; 57 (52.8%) consumed raspberry leaf products while 51 (47.2%) were in the control group. The findings suggest that the raspberry leaf herb can be consumed by women during their pregnancy for the purpose for which it is taken, that is, to shorten labour with no identified side effects for the women or their babies. The findings also suggest ingestion of the drug might decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term gestation. An unexpected finding in this study seems to indicate that women who ingest raspberry leaf might be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth than the women in the control group.”
Red Raspberry Leaf can be consumed by drinking a tea, herbal capsules, or tinctures (be careful these often contain alcohol)
You can have up to 4-5 cups of raspberry leaf tea in your third trimester, but have at least 2-3. If you’re in your first trimester, one cup per day is fine. Some providers and practitioners suggest that Red Raspberry Leaf can overstimulate the uterus in the first trimester and recommend waiting until mid 2nd trimester before consuming to reduce the risk of miscarriage.
If you prefer raspberry leaf tablets/capsules follow the recommended dosage…
Most women do not experience any side effects from taking raspberry leaf tea, however some women report some nausea and loose stool associated with red raspberry leaf, with the most reported side effect being an Increase in Braxton Hicks contractions (CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU EXPERIENCE STRONG BRAXTON HICKS, especially if you are before term)
Avoid consuming red raspberry leaf without consulting your doctor or midwife if you:
- Have previously had a short labour of three hours of less
- Have previously had a caesarean section
- Have previously had premature labour
- Have experienced vaginal bleeding since week 20
- Are having a planned caesarean section
- Have high blood pressure
- Have previously had breast or ovarian cancer, fibroids or endometriosis
- Have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, fibroids or endometriosis
- Are expecting twins
- Have any complications or health problems in your pregnancy
You should always tell your healthcare provider if you are planning to take red raspberry leaf during your pregnancy.
It is generally recommended not to start taking red raspberry leaf until you are at least 32 weeks pregnant, but if you wish to take it sooner, simply check with your doctor, midwife, or naturopath. You can then continue to take it until the end of the pregnancy.
Post Partum benefits: Red raspberry leaf during and after you give birth is known to help your uterus shrink back down, boost your immune system, assist with milk supply and fighting infection. Those who encapsulate their placentas often use red raspberry leaf in their herbal placenta blend.
I personally consumed red-raspberry leaf tea through my 2nd & third trimesters of my last 3 babies. During the early labor phase I could be seen brewing RRL tea, and sipping throughout my early labor, and again post partum. I think this herb doesn’t get enough props or attention as it is very valuable to the female reproductive system.
This post is not medical advice and is not a substitute for seeing your health care provider.