DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor or midwife. Just a girl who’s done a lot of research. Don’t ever take my word for anything. Always speak with your birth practitioner before starting on any pregnancy herbs. That being said I personally do (or would do) all the things I am recommending to you in this blog.
WHAT IS IT?
Raspberry leaf tea (RLT) is a tea that comes from the leaf of the garden red raspberry plant. This is not to be confused with the actual berry. The use of Red Raspberry Leaves dates back to ancient Greeks and Romans and has a rich history of being used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Some of the illnesses that they used RRL to treat include: the flu, gum disease, rubella, upset stomach, hangover, diarrhea, fevers, vomiting, menstrual problems, inflammation, etc. The most popular use of Red Raspberry leaves is for pregnancy.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
The main reason this tea is used in pregnancy is because it is a Uterine Tonic. This means it works to tone the smooth muscles of the uterus to prepare for labor and delivery. When used during pregnancy many women will experience Braxton Hicks contractions (myself included). This harmless flexing of the uterus is like aerobics for your baby maker. The tea encourages the uterus to exercise as it begins to prepare itself for real contractions when the time comes.
It has also been known to help prevent future miscarriage. It won’t help if you’re already having a miscarriage, but consumed prior to pregnancy it can help guard against one. If you know my story, you know this was a big plus for me!
Sorry but it will not likely induce labor. If it could then you would not see miserable women, 3 weeks past their due date, drinking castor oil (yuck!), and doing jumping jacks trying to get labor started.
If you find the Braxton Hicks to be too uncomfortable, then take a couple days off of the tea and start again. But if you can get through them you will soooo glad you did when you have super efficient contractions during childbirth, and an easier and quicker labor.
In addition to its awesome toning properties it also has a ton of other nutrients.
Beneficial Vitamins and Minerals Found in Red Raspberry Leaf:
-Rich concentrations of vitamin C
-Easily assimilated calcium and iron
-Manganese and magnesium
-Vitamin B complex
-Many minerals including phosphorous and potassium
HOW TO DRINK IT
I highly recommend Starwest Botanicals Loose Leaf Tea.
Its about $12 for a 1 lb bag on Amazon, and that will seriously last you for a year or more. I’ve been drinking at least one cup a day for the last 6 months and I haven’t even gotten through a quarter of the bag. You could always buy the tea bags if you want, but at around $5 for a box of 16 bags, I really can’t justify the cost, when its so dirt cheap to buy it in bulk. I found a lovely glass container to pour the loose tea in and set on my counter top. I like being able to see the tea leaves, but in all honesty you’re probably better off getting an opaque container that doesn’t let any light in. This will keep the tea fresh longer.
Next you’ll need a good quality tea strainer. I like the scissor kind. Its just so easy to use. It has a little spring and you just squeeze it open. To make the tea just put a few pinches of tea in your strainer, drop it in a cup of hot water, and let it steep for 5-10 minutes. I like mine with honey. The tea tastes nothing like raspberry, in case you were wondering. It has a light simple tea flavor. Very pleasant. You could also totally make this into an iced tea, and add fruit juice to flavor it if you like.
HOW MUCH TO DRINK?
The recommendation for pregnancy is 1 cup per day per trimester. So 1 cup during the 1st trimester, 2 cups daily during the second trimester, and 3 cups a day (or more) during the third trimester.
WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE TEA?
Alternatively you can try the capsules if you don’t like tea. The dosage on these is a bit more nebulous. I feel confident recommending 2 capsules a day in the 1st trimester, 4 a day in the second trimester, and up to 6 a day in the third trimester. I’m not a doctor or a midwife, so you should research it for yourself just to be sure. But I would personally take these doses if for some reason I didn’t want to drink the tea, but I do love the tea! Plus, it really helped to wean me off my daily cup of coffee. The brand that I have in my cabinet in case I don’t have time to sit and drink my daily cup is Dr. Christopher’s Formula Red Raspberry Leaf Capsules 100ct. This is a great natural brand for herbs and a good price too.
DRINK IT BEFORE YOU CONCEIVE
If you are thinking about starting a family I highly recommend you start now with drinking one cup of tea a day. The benefits are just as great for women who are not yet pregnant. Having a nice toned uterus before pregnancy is a great way to prepare yourself for when the time comes. It also has the added benefit of helping with period cramps, and regulating your cycle.
DRINK IT AFTER THE BABY IS BORN
Drinking RLT after you give birth has been known to dramatically shorten recovery time, and help the uterus to whip itself back into pre-pregnancy shape.
THE STRONG BREW
Finally, and I will definitely be updating you on how this works. There’s one more thing you can do with RLT. When you go into labor, brew yourself a big glass of super strong tea. We’re talking like an ounce of loose tea to about 20 ounces of water, and let steep for a few hours if possible to really get the strongest blend possible. Then chug that bad boy down when labor starts. Theoretically you could probably down a big handful of the capsules, but I have no idea how many you would need.
I have read thousands of testimonies of women and midwives who swear by this. Supposedly it is supposed to make labor super efficient, easy, and quick. Many women even say their birth was virtually pain-free! I don’t know about you, but given that I am having my baby naturally at a birthing center, pain-free sounds pretty dang good to me. If it doesn’t work well then oh well. I will DEFINITELY keep you posted on my experience when my son is born in October.
::UPDATE::: You can read my birth story here!
Hope this helps you ladies! Happy, healthy pregnancy to you all. 🙂