Red Rasberry Leaf tea was introduced to me during my pregnancy with Kaius as a sure way of “exercising” my uterus from the 2nd trimester on. The idea (as I understood it at the time) was that my uterus would then be toned and prepared for the physical trials of childbirth thereby shortening the length of my labor. Obviously I couldn’t pass up a labor shortening trick as easy as drinking a cup or two of tea a day, so I PROMISE you that I faithfully drank…and drank. I ended up with a 46 hour labor that was augmented with pitocin…not the “shortened” labor I had imagined.
Now, I’d like to revisit Red Rasberry Leaf tea and it’s supposed affect upon the length of a woman’s labor. I’ve found two studies conducted by a group of midwives at Syndney’s Westmead Hospital, Australia.
1. The first study was done retrospectively over a 6 month time period and basically involved a comparison of the prenatal, birth, and postnatal histories of 108 women during that time span. The women were self-selected with 57 (52.8%) admitting to taking Red Rasberry Leaf supplements in the form of a pill or tea. Most of the women began supplementing with Red Rasberry Leaf between 28-34 weeks, but a few began as early as 8 weeks. The study concluded that their were no side affects from the Leaf and suggested that it may help to prevent miscarriage and post-dates deliveries. It also found that the women who consumed Red Rasberry Leaf tea were less likely to require a C-section, forceps, vacuum extraction, and/or artificial rupture of membranes.
2. This second study was conducted much more scientifically and had more surprising (and believable [to me]) results. The study was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, trial of 192 first time mothers with an average age of 28.5 yrs. One group of women took Rasberry Leaf supplement in the form of pill (1200 mg/day) from 32 weeks until labor started. The control group took a placebo.
The study found that their were no side effects attributed to Red Rasberry Leaf and that it DID NOT significantly shorten the first stage of labor as had been indicated in earlier studies (and was what I was led to believe). The study did find that the second stage of labor was shortened by about 10 minutes. It also led to a lower rate of forceps usage (19.3% vs 30.4%) and less chance of a C-section (62.4% vs. 50.6%).
(Both studies taken from: http://www.birth.com.au/Preparing-for-new-baby/Raspberry-leaf-during-pregnancy.aspx)
Overall, it seems that Red Rasberry Leaf tea will not HARM you although it may not be as helpful to your labor and delivery as you may hope!