Red raspberry leaf tea seems to be a staple in most natural pregnancies. It’s recommended by doctors and midwifes alike, and most agree it is perfectly harmless. I would tend to say this is mostly true. Red raspberry leaf tea has been falsely labeled an induction method by some people. While in reality, it should only work to strengthen the uterus.
How Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Works
Red raspberry leaf tea, is rich in vitamins B, and C. It also contains potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and iron. All of these amazing vitamins and minerals are part of a healthy pregnancy! The true standout ingredient in the tea however, is fragarine. This plant compound is responsible for to tighten and tone muscles throughout the pelvis, including your uterus. In theory, a stronger more toned uterus, will produce more efficient contractions, and some people believe shorter labors. Who doesn’t want an efficient short labor?
My Personal Experience with Red Raspberry Leaf Tea in Pregnancy
I have been through two pregnancies, in which I relied heavily on red raspberry leaf tea. There is conflicting research about when it is safe to start drinking. However, I was told by my care providers that third trimester is a great starting point. So, I bought my herbal organic, loose leaf red raspberry leaf tea around 28 weeks in my first two pregnancies, and began drinking daily.
At first I noticed no drawbacks, and truly believed I was doing something amazing for my baby and my body. In each of my pregnancies, I began experiencing strong Braxton Hicks contractions before the second trimester, something I just considered my “normal”. Within about 2 weeks of my third trimester, I found these contractions greatly intensified in severity and frequency.
I have been blessed with a high pain tolerance. So I found it little more than annoying, until almost 36 weeks into my last pregnancy. At this point contractions that were 3-4 minutes apart came in fast and furious. I knew that it was more than Braxton Hicks, so I went to the hospital for monitoring.
Baby girl, was transverse which was to blame for the intense pain with each contraction. After many hours of monitoring, and a few cervical checks, I was making no progress. Doctors permitted to go home in spite of intense, regular contractions showing up on the monitor. I was relieved, and also stumped. So, I came home and began doing my research.
Why I Blame Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Following this experience, I began researching prodromal labor causes. I learned that prodromal labor is often an attempt to move baby into the proper position for delivery. It made sense I was experiencing it if she was turned the wrong way. However, I simply did not believe she was developmentally ready to be born at 36 weeks, and knew there had to be more to it. This is when I began asking other Mom’s for their advice and I learned about a condition called “irritable uterus”.
According to healthline:
“Some women develop frequent, regular contractions that don’t produce any change in the cervix. This condition is often called irritable uterus (IU). IU contractions are much like Braxton-Hicks, but they can be stronger, occur more frequently, and don’t respond to rest or hydration. These contractions are not necessarily normal, but they also aren’t necessarily harmful.”https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/are-your-contractions-normal#what-to-expect
I learned from women who had walked this path before me, that red raspberry leaf tea is often to blame for painful, prodromal labor! This amazing uterine tonic that is a blessing to so many women, is definitely not a one-size-fits-all natural remedy for every pregnancy. Upon learning this, I immediately stopped drinking red raspberry leaf tea. My contractions quickly lessened in both frequency and severity. I’d had a similar experience with my first pregnancy as well, with multiple false alarms, and painful contractions. Now in my third trimester, with baby number three, I am not experiencing painful contractions at all!
What Are Good Natural Options if You Have Irritable Uterus?
Fortunately, there are some natural remedies that are cited as helping women have productive, healthy, and even shorter labors, that don’t conflict with irritable uterus. Here are a few great options that don’t include uterine tonics!
The intake of dates has not been studied on a large scale yet. However, most mom’s who have ate 6 dates per day starting between 32-36 weeks agree it helped them. Dates have been credited with increased cervical ripening at the onset of active labor. A less studied benefit that seems to be gaining some notoriety lately, is lower instances of postpartum hemorrhage! This is great news for Mama’s who wish to avoid routine administration of pitocin postpartum! Especially Mama’s who already struggle with an irritable uterus and are prone to stronger postpartum contractions. A great place to find more information is: https://evidencebasedbirth.com/evidence-eating-dates-to-start-labor/
Labor is hard work, and some hospitals prefer you stick to liquids while laboring. This can make it difficult to keep energy levels high which can lead to prolonged active labor and pushing stages. Most hospitals will happily accept honey sticks as a part of a liquid diet. These little sticks are packed full of natural sugars which help produce more energy for laboring mama’s. This makes them a must have for any hospital bag!
Vitamin C is something we all need regularly. Some doctors recommend lower amounts preconception and through the first trimester. In the third trimester it is recommended to begin increasing daily intake of vitamin c. Increased vitamin c, particularly in the from of sodium ascorbate has been shown to effectively prevent premature rupture of membranes. Many women agree that labor is gentler and less painful while their waters stay in tact. A stronger membrane means a higher likelihood that your waters will stay intact through much of labor and delivery. You may even get lucky and have baby en caul!
Who Does Red Raspberry Leaf Tea Benefit?
From what I’ve found, it’s still an amazing option for most women in pregnancy. Just not Mama’s with an irritable uterus! In fact, all uterine tonics should be avoided in pregnancy if you struggle with irritable uterus. Those practice contractions you are having consistently, are doing so much to prepare and tone your uterus for an efficient labor already!
As a crunchy Mom, have you ever found certain remedies to do more harm than good for you? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section!