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Red Raspberry leaf tea for a shorter labor -- did you drink it?
January 17, 2014 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Should I drink raspberry leaf tea in my third trimester of pregnancy? Did you?

Hello! I am in the third trimester of pregnancy. A good friend swore by this raspberry leaf tea she drank strong in the last couple months of pregnancy. (She had a very easy labor). I've read about it, and am not sure whether it's worth the hassle. The evidence says probably not, but the anecdotal evidence appears to be strongly in favor. I think it's safe -- right?

Did anyone here use it or have any thoughts? And if so, what kind and how much did you drink?
posted by caoimhe to Health & Fitness (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
My OB said I could drink it; I seem to recall her thoughts were along the lines of, It's delicious! It won't do a damn thing for you, but it's delicious.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:59 AM on January 17 [7 favorites]


I should add that I did not drink it, though not for lack of trying; I just couldn't find it in the grocery stores. I do see now that you can buy it on Amazon.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:02 PM on January 17


I drank it on the advice of midwives. I've had four labours ranging from eight hours (first child) to two hours. My active labour has never lasted more than an hour. All my labours were super easy (talking on the phone to friends between pushes etc) and no drugs. Everybody is different, I don't know how much of that could be attributed to the daily cuppa.
posted by saucysault at 12:03 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


I drank it. I had a fast and easy labor and home birth. But then, I like tea. It helped me consume those all important ounces of water. Whether it had any benefit to me, I do not know.
posted by jillithd at 12:04 PM on January 17


I'm reliably informed that Evening Primrose Oil is all the rage for easing labor late in pregnancy. Check with your nurse or midwife. Mrs jq took it in capsules.
posted by jquinby at 12:09 PM on January 17


It appears that someone did a study on this.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 12:13 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


I drank it, and had a 5.5 hour labor. But I like tea, and it was the summer, so I was going to be drinking iced tea anyway. I actually didn't like the taste, and added honey, which I usually don't do.

I also used the evening primrose oil. Both were recommended by my midwives.
posted by Safiya at 12:13 PM on January 17


Think about it. Why should drinking tea have any effect on your labour? Does it make sense at all?
Next: what is labour? Some people talk about 24 hour labour, and when you ask, there was only real pain for 30 minutes. Others have the exact opposite experience - days of horrible pain, but only a very short period of actual contractions.

Based on experience, and a midwife's advice, I'd say the important thing is to stay on your feet for as long as possible. Don't lie down during labour. Walk around. Take a warm bath, but sit up in the tub. Basically, let gravity dó its thing, but also, move.

Take yoga classes, or something similar. Stay in shape in a way that makes sense for you.
posted by mumimor at 12:40 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]


It actually gave me cramps when I drank it before I went into labor, and after I went into labor I wasn't really in the mood.

I'm not convinced it does anything. I would recommend just staying hydrated with whatever tastes good to you and doesn't make you tense (so not a lot of caffeine). Hydration and relaxation are going to do a lot more for you than tea.
posted by emjaybee at 12:45 PM on January 17


More anecdata: I had cup or two a day, and had a well-within-the-bounds-of-normal labor that ended in a c-section after much, much, much pushing. If you dislike it or consider it a hassle, I wouldn't bother. If it's tasty, then it doesn't hurt to keep well-hydrated and have a talisman for an easy labor.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:18 PM on January 17


Think about it. Why should drinking tea have any effect on your labour? Does it make sense at all?
Next: what is labour? Some people talk about 24 hour labour, and when you ask, there was only real pain for 30 minutes. Others have the exact opposite experience - days of horrible pain, but only a very short period of actual contractions.


I've been drinking a tea with red raspberry leaf since the beginning of the third trimester and began getting Braxton Hicks in the same week. Braxton Hicks are colloquially called "practice contractions" because they help tone and prepare your uterus for labor.

Haven't labored yet. We'll see if it makes a difference.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:28 PM on January 17


Parsons (2000) reports that this second study demonstrated the safety of raspberry leaf tablets (2.4gm daily) taken from 32 weeks pregnancy until the commencement of labour. There were no side effects identified for mother or baby. The analysis of the findings suggested that raspberry leaf tablets shortened the second stage of labour by an average of 10 minutes but made no difference to the length of the first stage of labour. Raspberry leaf tablets reduced the incidence of artificial rupture of membranes, forceps and ventouse births. Although the reduced incidence of these interventions did not prove to be statistically significant - the researches stated that ‘these results are clinically significant’.
Raspberry leaf – Should it be recommended to pregnant women?This review evaluates the safety and efficacy of raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) in pregnancy. The electronic databases PubMed, ISI Web of Science, AMED, EMBASE, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and Cochrane Library were searched. Altogether 12 original publications with focus on safety or efficacy during pregnancy, pharmacology and in vitro tests explaining mode of action or constituents in Rubus idaeus were reviewed. Limited documentation exists and part of it is 50 years old or older. Only the latest animal study indicates an increased risk for the unborn child; however, all the studies are small and cannot rule out negative effects on pregnancy outcome. The efficacy of raspberry leaf is not convincingly documented.
My partner drunk it religiously - didn't make a damned difference. Baby was over term, labour was about 18 hours, was a vonteuse delivery.
posted by smoke at 1:57 PM on January 17


Think about it. Why should drinking tea have any effect on your labour? Does it make sense at all?

...

I've been drinking a tea with red raspberry leaf since the beginning of the third trimester and began getting Braxton Hicks in the same week.


There are two contradictory views here at work that are both quoted in the above comment. The first is this:

Why should drinking tea have any effect on your labour?

It wouldn't, necessarily, hence the question about it, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. Why would pitocin or epidural fentanyl have any effect on your labor? They might not, but, well, there's been lots and lots of research done to show that they do.

The second is this:

I've been drinking a tea with red raspberry leaf since the beginning of the third trimester and began getting Braxton Hicks in the same week.

Sure, but if you bought shoes that week you probably wouldn't start to think that your new shoes caused your contractions. With only one data point you simply cannot tell whether or not the tea was the cause of the contractions. This is why scientists do studies. If you have six kids, and drink raspberry tea for half of your pregnancies, and find that those labors were easier than the other ones where you did NOT drink raspberry tea, then you're starting to build a body of data. On the other hand, if you've had one kid, and either drank raspberry tea or not, you cannot make any claims about the effectiveness of the tea because you have no idea what night have happened had you tried the opposite thing.

So, then a researcher comes along and gets 50 women to drink the tea, and 50 women not to drink the tea, and keeps track of how long each of their labors is. If you do that, and yo upstart to see a pattern of one group or the other having significantly shorter labors, then it starts to really look like maybe the tea is doing something.

That's what some people did in the link that I posted earlier, and found that the group of people who did drink the tea had labors that were shorter by all of a couple minutes, which doesn't sound super-convincing.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 1:58 PM on January 17 [5 favorites]


That's what some people did in the link that I posted earlier, and found that the group of people who did drink the tea had labors that were shorter by all of a couple minutes, which doesn't sound super-convincing.

The poster asked for anecdotal experience. Anecdotally, I've known other women who correlated their BH with raspberry leaf tea, which is precisely what my midwives told me it would likely do (though they warned that, if one experiences "a lot of cramping" after drinking then one's uterus was likely sufficiently toned for the birth already). My midwives emphasized that there's not a huge body of evidence for its effectiveness, but at the very least, that it couldn't hurt.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:07 PM on January 17


I drank it, in the form of Yogi Mother to Be tea, but only because the tea itself was delicious. Baby's going to come out when it's ready to come out, and your labor will be what it is. For what it's worth, I drank it with both my pregnancies, and had one "easy" and one "difficult" labor.
posted by snickerdoodle at 2:09 PM on January 17


I drank it (and took pills with it for 3 months) during my first pregnancy, and had the longest labor known to man, upwards of 40 hours. My second pregnancy I didn't bother (and my labor was much easier, but second labors often are, so).

Anecdote only, of course.
posted by celtalitha at 2:29 PM on January 17


I drank two cups a day after I hit full term.

My labor was 47hrs with 5hrs of pushing.

YMMV.
posted by sonika at 3:35 PM on January 17


I drank it and had a very average (12 hour) labor with 3.5 hours of pushing. For my next pregnancy I don't think I'll bother. I didn't mind it, but there are other teas I prefer the taste of, and it was a hassle to remember to do it twice a day, when I don't think it made a difference.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 3:52 PM on January 17


I heard about red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy. I didn't start drinking it until two days after my due date. I wanted labour to start! The tea isn't supposed to induce labour, but in my case, I think it helped, after a few days. I could feel it "toning" my uterus and I still feel that when I drink it. I had a really long labour - longer than celtalitha's longest labour known to man. I also had to have an epidural and c-section. I got some loose leaf tea from the health food store. On Tuesday, I had one cup. Wednesday, two cups. Thursday and Friday, 4 cups. Labour started on Friday around 12 am.
posted by foxjacket at 5:13 PM on January 17


I'm 23 weeks with my second pregnancy, and I just started drinking the tea last week - about a cup a day, Traditional Medicinals brand. Nothing fancy.

In terms of why I decided to do it: I had pre-eclampsia resulting in an emergency c-section for my first birth, and for this one I'm planning a VBAC. In my case, I would very much like to have an easier path to delivery, and if this tea is rumored to help me get there, then BY ALL MEANS I will try it. I don't expect it to work miracles, but if it doesn't hurt and can help, I'm all for it.

I'm not usually a tea drinker, but I don't mind drinking tea, so it's not a big imposition on my life either.
posted by meggan at 5:25 PM on January 17


Thanks everyone -- this is all really helpful! I think I'll drink it - I find it tasty -- and cross my fingers. But I think my friend's miracle story was probably a bit of a fluke, but a fluke i'm happy to try to recreate.
posted by caoimhe at 7:08 AM on January 18


I drank it in my third trimester and thought it tasted great. At 36 weeks exactly I inexplicably went into labor and had my son 5 hours later, so I guess there could have been pros and cons to drinking it.
posted by Maarika at 7:57 AM on January 18


I drank it, a lot. My labor was 33 hours. So, you know...eh. It tastes fine, but I wouldn't necessarily expect a lot of it.
posted by feathermeat at 1:37 PM on January 18


I drank it. I was in labor for 68 hours before a c-section. But it was fine, really. My baby was fine. A c-section is really good as worst outcomes go, and I felt good about having done everything possible to avoid it, before finding out it had been inevitable anyway.

I doubt that drinking the tea makes any difference at all, but you tend to hear a lot more about it with respect to the labors that it seems to have worked for.

I didn't bother with the tea the next time around.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 3:52 PM on January 18


I drank it and had to be induced at 42 weeks. ~40 hours in labor and sadly, not even an hour of it was "easy".

The first time I drank it, I had Braxton Hicks contractions every 3 minutes for many hours straight and had to be monitored in the hospital because I was 31 weeks. (I had been experiencing the BH contractions already, just not as strongly or as frequently.) When I stopped the tea (did not start again until full term) the contractions decreased in frequency. As has been correctly pointed out, this is not a controlled study so as always YM is likely to V.
posted by Cygnet at 3:47 AM on January 22


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