I have used red raspberry leaf for years. It is an amazing multi-purpose and highly-nutritious herb with a delicious taste similar to regular black tea (but without the caffeine).
When pregnant, I start using red raspberry leaf tea as part of my pregnancy blend in late second and third trimester. Though red raspberry leaf tea is often recommended and touted for its ability to increase uterine contractions and shorten labor, its primary benefit might be in its nutritional value.
Why Red Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy?
Red raspberry leaf tea is most often recommended during pregnancy, and statistically up to 63% of midwives recommend red raspberry leaf to their clients.
The research is somewhat divided about how much red raspberry leaf consumption during pregnancy can benefit a woman in labor, but recent clinical studies have concluded that:
The findings suggest that the raspberry leaf herb can be consumed by women during their pregnancy for the purpose for which it is taken, that is, to shorten labour with no identified side effects for the women or their babies. The findings also suggest ingestion of the drug might decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term gestation. An unexpected finding in this study seems to indicate that women who ingest raspberry leaf might be less likely to receive an artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth than the women in the control group. (source)
While red raspberry was not found to shorten the first stage of labor, it did shorten the second stage of labor (pushing) by almost ten minutes and reduced the risk of forceps delivery with no adverse effects for mom or baby. (source)
Another study in rats showed that RRL could both strengthen or lessen contraction intensity, but that it did not affect the body’s ability to go into labor or duration. (source)
The important takeaways are that red raspberry leaf did not have any adverse affects for mom or baby in any of the published studies available and it showed a potential positive affect. Though many scientists would not consider a ten minute reduction in second stage labor statistically significant, I know most pregnant women would consider pushing for almost ten minutes less VERY significant (including myself).
Additionally, while it may not have a strong history of medical or clinical use, red raspberry leaf does have a long history of use by many midwives and pregnant women. Many claim that RRL helped improve their labors and recovery, compared to previous labors when they had not used it. This was my personal experience as well, and I always turn to RRL during pregnancy for this reason.
Skeptics might counter that this could be largely the placebo affect, but in the absence of any adverse effects and considering that placebo works a significant percentage of the time, I’d still consider it worth a try.
We will hopefully see continued research about the ways that RRL may or may not act on the uterus or affect the strength of contractions, but the available research indicates that it is at least safe to consume and doesn’t have any adverse effects.
In my opinion, the real benefit of red raspberry leaf is its nutrition content. Demand of nutrients important during pregnancy such as iron, B-vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium, are especially high in pregnant women in second and third trimesters. All of these nutrients are present in red raspberry leaf. It is also high in anti-inflammatory tannins and can have a soothing affect on the digestive system.
Red Raspberry Leaf Pregnancy Tea Recipe
- 4 cups dried organic red raspberry leaf
- 1 cup dried alfalfa leaf
- 1 cup nettle leaf
- ½ cup dried dandelion leaf
- Mix all ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.
- To brew a cup: Pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of the tea mixture and let steep for at least 5 minutes before drinking.
- To brew a gallon: Add ¾ cup tea mixture to a pot with 1 gallon of boiling water. Stir and let steep as it cools. Strain out the herbs and store in a pitcher or glass jar in the refrigerator to consume cold as desired.
Why Add Other Herbs?
Red Raspberry Leaf is very nutritious on its own and can absolutely be consumed alone, but I prefer to add the three additional herbs for their nutritional benefits:
Alfalfa is known as the “Father of all Foods” and is rich in many nutrients including magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium, silicon, and trace elements, as well as vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting. Read about the benefits of alfalfa here.
Said to be anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, and good for digestion, nettle is another power-packed herb.
Dandelion is also high in many vitamins and minerals and is also said to be good for the blood. It may have a normalizing effect on blood pressure and help with digestion and urinary heath (all beneficial during pregnancy).
Ever taken red raspberry leaf tea? How did you use it?
Discussion (86 Comments)
I have been drinking pregnancy tea (with RRL) since the beginning of my second trimester and I am now 30 weeks. While this is my first pregnancy, so I can’t report on my labor, I did just get my iron levels checked and my doctor said I have the highest level of any pregnant woman she’s ever seen. She asked me to share my diet, LOL. I do eat a whole-foods, paleo-esque diet, but I wonder if the tea helped to boost my levels.
I’m sure it did! I ALSO eat the same diet and my midwife said I had perfect labs which she has absolutely never seen before but my iron wasn’t significantly higher or anything…and I am not currently drinking any tea…but I will now! Making this mix up tonight.
Do you know of herbal teas/supplements I could try to help GET pregnant?
Are you eating grains that contain gluten? There is a lot of research now that suggests gluten may prevent a woman from getting pregnant. It might be worth a try to cut it out for a month or two and see if that helps. I’ve read testimonies that said it took only a month, but no result is typical so it could take a bit longer.
I took organic Maca pills daily for one month before getting pregnant. My partner did as well. There are ones made for female and male, not sure 100% what the differences are but it is known to boost fertility by balancing your hormones. It has many other great benefits. Check it out 🙂 hope you are able to conceive soon !!
Whether it’s just placebo or a real thing, who cares! As long as is not harmful, it’s worth trying. I think every woman will agree that after a few (or a lot of) hours in labor, if you can shorten it by 10 seconds, it’s a win-win!
Also, I think those are male scientists. Or maybe females, but not moms. No, definitely not moms!
I would take it for sure, if I could find it here in Brazil. But I haven’t seen RRL here.
My wife drank red raspberry leaf at the end of her last pregnancy. Our little girl wasn’t growing so fast, so we waited on the tea. Baby needed to cook a bit longer. At 41 weeks, my wife decided it was time for the tea 🙂
I think the extra vitamins and just having a warm, caffeine free, risk free tea to drink while I’m pregnant is wonderful!! Plus it tastes great and every little bit helps when it comes to labor! I didn’t drink it with my first (31 hr labor 2.5hrs pushing) but did with my second (15 hr labor 16 minutes pushing). Although there were many other differences with the pregnancies and labors, I wouldn’t doubt it if RRLtea made a difference 🙂
Great piece! Curious about whether those with autoimmune disorders should include alfalfa, I believe it can sometimes aggravate those that suffer from them? Also, congratulations on your pregnancy 🙂
Is there a reason you weren’t taking this in your first trimester?
Also how many servings of this do you drink a day/is safe to consume?
The research is divided on taking RRL in the first trimester, so I always just wait to be safe.
With my last and current pregnancies I have used it in the first trimester with no problems.
I did 1 cup per day in the first trimester, 2 cups per day in the second and 3 cups per day in the third trimester of this tea blend with the blessing of my midwife for both my pregnancies. With my first baby it was 1 hour 33 min t go from 4 centimeters to birth, with virtually no pushing, baby just popped out. And with my second baby it was 33 min from 4 centimeters to birth, again with virtually no pushing. In fact in the case of my second pregnancy, I went from 7 centimeters to birth in 3 min. Again baby just popped out. I will definitely use this tea if I have any more babies.
Total labor for both pregnancies was under 6 hours each.
WOW!!! amazing please tell me what else you did throughout your pregnancy… I am trying for VBAC.
Is it safe during the 22nd trimester? Thanks!
I bought mountain rose herbs’ “fecundi-tea” which has raspberry leaf in it. I love it, and my husband loves saying the name in front of guests. Ha.
Would really like to find the nutritional information on this tea. Do you have a factual site for reference?
You could just use a search engine yourself.
Well Carol I have and can find no and I mean no nutritional information on this tea. Since this site recommends it I thought maybe they could provide some sort of reference.
I used red raspberry tea during my second pregnancy, just drinking it twice a day starting around 33 weeks of pregnancy. I also drank stinging nettle but separately from the red raspberry tea and I started it earlier on than the red raspberry.
I was able to have a natural pregnancy this time around versus my first time where I took the epidural. I do believe the tea helped me, plus my consumption of dates starting around 35 weeks. Also, as I am currently breastfeeding, I still drink the red raspberry tea because I heard it helps with your supply (breastfeeding for 3 months now, no supply issues), plus I like the taste.