Red Rasberry Leaf Tea

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!

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8 Comments

Filed under childbirth, Herbs, pregnancy, prenatal care, Scientific Studies, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Red Rasberry Leaf Tea

  1. I’ve never heard of it used for this. I know it helps if you are having trouble conceiving, but I have never heard of it toning a uterus for a shortened labor and delivery.

    Interesting post!

  2. When quoting studies, it is important to list p-values which tells us about the significance of the results as relates to sample size and variance. Next, it is important check out not just statistical methods but research method. Your sources don’t mention either of these, and thus I am suspect.

    Funny how some folks will be anti-drug and pro-natural and yet will jump all over herbal ways (these are drugs) to change the natural process. I am a former herbalist and now see how faulty this reflex is. “Natural” is not necessarily good, but neither is “Artificial” — we must be discerning !

    I would worry about just taking any old herb during a pregnancy — later studies may prove them bad. Keep to good health foods and healthy movements.

    Oooops, I am a guy, I probably shouldn’t be allowed here. (smile)

    • Well, I found only one study that listed p value and the f1 generation (1st generation of females). I haven’t read the full text yet, but from the abstract it appears that the herb didn’t seem to affect the MICE while pregnant either adversely or beneficially, but it did promote longer gestational period and reproductive development in the f1 generation. So, I need to go back and read the whole thing because I’m not quite sure what they mean by those results. Are the f1 generation carrying their offspring LONGER? Are they sexually mature earlier?

      Anyway, I thought you’d be interested: http://rsx.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/16/6/605

  3. Be aware that animal models may not reflect humans at all — it is a starting point, but very low on the evidence pole.
    The results say: The mom rats held the pups in their uteruses longer and the baby where partying earlier.
    The researcher, like me, cautions that “Damn it, herbs are drugs ! Be careful taking them, they DO have effects and it may not be what you want. So, for wisdom’s sake, Don’t take them.”

    The “It’s Natural, it has to be good for you” Fallacy is prevenlent out there. Drugs are drugs, factory made or plant made. Eat right, exercise and love. What happened to that?

  4. I am hesitant to share my observation as a doula who has attended only 200+ births but here it goes. I see many first time moms that sometimes subconsciencely and even consciencely feel that there is a magic solution to birth. Hiring a doula is one thing many think will make magic. Other things that are helpful but not magic are prenatal yoga, childbirth classes of all kinds (hypnobirthing, Bradley, Birthing From Within, even hospital classes). In our “you can buy anything” society, it is not surprising that woman buy into the idea that they can buy a certain type of labor (even have a certain sex of baby!) if they buy the right book or buy the right midwife or buy the right… you get my point. Red rasberry leaf tea is good for a woman’s uterus throughout her life as is good eating, like Sabio says. But childbirth is a mysterious, amazing event that has not really changed from the beginning of time. It’s not a modern idea, even though each woman that gives birth FEELS like she just invented it and she’s the only one who has ever done this(because each labor is in fact unique). It is the most miraclous surprising, powerful, earth moving thing I ever did. But infact it happens every 8 seconds in our country today! Wow! I only wish I could convey this message to women of every age: THE POWER IS ALL YOURS & GODS. Therefore you cannot give the credit to your OBGYN, your nurse, midwife, coach, doula, or sister. You cannot give the credit to a tea or a book. You do it, you did it, you get the joy, you get the euphoria, you get the baby and you get the motherhood for the rest of you life : ) Happy birth day everyone.

  5. Pingback: More Herbal Teas « Natural remedies for everything!

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