In addition to taking Red Rasberry Leaf tea while pregnant, I also experimented with varying additions of ginger root to my diet. I suffered fairly awful morning sickness for the first 18 weeks of my pregnancy, and I had heard that ginger would relieve my symptoms. I first tried taking ginger capsuls, but after I read that they was no level of ginger that had been determined as safe during pregnancy, I switched to a lighter dose of ginger tea. When that failed to work, I tried the old wive’s suggestion of real ginger soda…and ginger candy…and finally some ginger gum. Absolutely nothing worked. My nausea was extreme and lasted all day every day for 18 weeks until POOF! one day it was gone.
So, what is the deal with ginger root? Was I taking too low of a dose to see any benefit, or is it all just hearsay?
One study conducted at Chiang Mai University in Thailand found that fresh ginger root taken in the correct dosages can significantly reduce nausea and vomiting syptoms in pregnant women. The study found that of 67 women (divided between those receiving 750 mg of ginger and those receiving a placebo) those who received the ginger reported a significant improvement in their nausea/vomiting (87.5%). Less than 30% of women who had been taking the placebo reported similar results. You can read more about the study HERE.
I will go ahead and point out that there are some obvious flaws to this particular study. For one, the study was not double-blind, which is always a problem when their is a placebo involved. Also, the women were self-reporting their nausea/vomit levels…self-reporting is not the same as controlled observation. The women were also around 17 weeks pregnant when the study began which is a common time for morning sickness to be leveling out. AND (as the article mentions) the scientists had not determined what consituted a proper dosage.
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!