Will raspberry leaf tea help me go into labour?

Pregnant and looking for ways to bring on labour? If other mums have told you to try raspberry leaf tea, find out whether it works or if it's just an old wives' tale

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Spicy food, pineapple, sex – they’re all supposed to bring on labour. Raspberry leaf tea’s meant to do the same – as well as speed labour up – and lots of mums talk about it. Take for example, LA79 in our forum, who says:

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“I’m 28 weeks pregnant and will start having raspberry leaf tea when I hit 32 weeks as I have heard it helps with labour and speeds things up etc.

“Did any of you drink this tea before labour and did you think it helped? Did it speed your labour up? How much of it were you drinking? Is it worth it?”

So – does raspberry leaf tea bring on labour or help speed it up? What the expert says

We got in touch  with our trusted GP, Dr Philippa Kaye, who told us, due to a lack of proper studies being done on this topic, it’s actually really hard to comment on.

“While I can’t say if it does work, many complementary therapists believe that it does help the cervix soften as well as help tone the muscles of the womb – all of which would hopefully bring on and speed up labour,” she says.

Herbal medicines are medicines and should be considered as such: the fact that something is natural doesn’t mean that it can’t harm you (many traditional medicines come from plants).

“So check with your antenatal team before taking it, she advises. “It should not be taken:

  • before 32 weeks of pregnancy
  • if you have had bleeding after the 1st trimester
  • if you previously had had premature labour, or a very quick labour
  • if your baby is breech
  • or if you have a multiple pregnancy.

“If it is going to work, it doesn’t work instantly, so drinking a cup or taking a capsule is not going to mean instant labour!

“This is why therapists advise building up from 1 cup of tea per day from about 32 weeks to up to 3 cups.”

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When can I start drinking raspberry leaf tea and how much can I have?

The general consensus is that, if you want to drink raspberry leaf tea during your pregnancy, that you don’t start until week 32. And even then, don’t go mad with it. A couple of cups a day tops is enough.

While there are no guarantees that it will actually do anything, if you like the taste it might be worth giving it a go.

What do our mums say about raspberry leaf tea and labour?

There’s a lot of chat about raspberry leaf tea and its effects on labour in our forum. Mum tamarabell wasn’t sure how much it helped with her first birth, saying: “I used it with my first and don’t think it did anything.

“I went 10 days over and was in labour for 30 hours before having my son by forceps! However it hasn’t stopped my taking the tablets again this time!!!! Can’t do any harm!”

Though another mum, EngelebertW_nkface, had a very different experience:

“I didn’t take it first time round, I was in labour for about 14 hours and pushing for nearly 2 hours before she was delivered with forceps (she was back to back though).

“Second time round I drank…[the] tea and took the capsules. I was in established labour for 1 1/2 hours and pushing for just 12 mins.

“If I had another I would DEFINITELY take the raspberry leaf again!”

So the anecdotal evidence seems mixed – as, as Dr Kaye says, there hasn’t been enough scientific research to show any effects on labour.

But if you enjoy the taste of raspberry leaf tea, and stick to the guidelines of when and how much to have – there’s no reason at all not enjoy a fruity cuppa now and then ☕ ☕

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