Raspberry Leaf in Pregnancy

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Questions & AnswersHello Herb Lovers,

I think it’s time I start publishing some of the Questions I receive from time to time.

Dear AnkeB,

I have recently found out I’m pregnant and am madly reading everything I can lay my hands on. I have read that Raspberry Leaf Tea is good for “toning” the uterus to help prepare for labour. I understand there is the tea form, and tablet form, and heard conflicting information about when to start taking it. Could you please shed some light on the difference between the tablets and tea, and when is best to take it/how much to take?

Have you tried using it? Did you think it helped you?

Thanks for you help,
One-day-just-got
-a-lot-closer, the soon to be mummy.

Hello Soon-to-be-Mummy,

Congratulations! What a wonderful journey you have embarked upon.
Firstly, I do have to tell you that I am not a herbalist and I have no official qualifications whatsoever. I do however have a very good herbal library so I have done a little research for you.

Raspberry Leaf has been used by expectant mothers for centuries. Science hasn’t done all that much investigating although there was a study in 1941 which reported that in animals raspberry leaf had a relaxant effect on the uterus. Traditionally it is used to tone the uterus and promote general health in pregnant women. It has been used (often in conjunction with other herbs) to prevent miscarriages and to ease labour.

There are many herbalists who will happily have you drink the tea from day 1 of your pregnancy, keeping it to a low amount to start with. The dose then builds as your pregnancy progresses. Others wait until the magical 12 week mark. If you ask your midwife/obstetrician you will get other advice. In Europe raspberry leaf products are prescribed but here in Australia? – Not so much. The official advice given and often found on the packet of your raspberry leaf product, is that you are not advised to take it prior to your 3rd trimester. and the dosage at that time is approx 2 -3 cups a day.

In my pregnancies, I have taken the tea at various times. The 1st I took it all the way through. Starting with one weak cup a day until towards the end I was on 3 or 4 strong cups a day. 2nd pregnancy because of constant threats of early labour I did not take it until the 3rd trimester. And this pregnancy (oops did I forget to mention I am 23 weeks pregnant ?) because of my history I will do the same as in the 3rd.

Tea vs Tablets – I like the tea. Tablets in my mind have been processed so have a lot less of that naturalness I like. But, I am sure the active ingredient is still there so it is probably a better option for those who dont like the taste of herbal tea and who dont want to take the time to sit and drink it. But on the other hand, the dosage in tablets will be more accurate than the tea.

In my opinion, if you wish to start taking it early – check with a herbal professional that this is a good thing in your situation. If not then go with the official line of taking it in the 3rd trimester and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

I hope that this helps you and that your pregnancy will run a very uneventful course until the day of the main performance.

All the best and

Stay Herbal!

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