If there is one thing I’ve done religiously throughout both of my pregnancies it’s drink Red Raspberry Leaf tea (RRL). I couldn’t remember to take my prenatal half the time, but as soon as the second trimester of pregnancy hit I made sure to stock my pantry with Red Raspberry Leaf tea.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This information is not to be used to substitute the advice of a professional. Please consult your Dr or Midwife before you start using any supplements or herbs.
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Okay, now that I’ve gotten the disclaimer out of the way let me go into a little bit about what Red Raspberry Leaf tea is and what it does. Not to be confused with regular Raspberry Tea.
What is Red Raspberry Leaf Tea?
- 1 What is Red Raspberry Leaf Tea?
- 2 Will RRL Induce Labor?
- 3 How To Use RRL And When To Start During Pregnancy
In short it’s a tea. (It is available in capsule form, but I’ve always preferred the tea and will focus solely on the tea.) Be-aware that Red Raspberry Leaf is classified as a “likely safe” herb for use during pregnancy.It is a herbal tea made from the leaves of the red raspberry plant (it does not taste like raspberries). Best known for its use in uterine health, it dates back centuries. Even “ye olde” midwives recommended it. The leaf is used primarily as a uterine “toner” as it is said to strengthen the ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor. It is drank mostly by pregnant woman, though it is said to have different properties that can benefit diabetics, lower blood pressure and even help with the Flu.
Honestly, the info and research about the tea is all over the place. (I’ve spent hours trying to find solid research) If you try and google for a concrete medical article you aren’t likely to find one. Like most herbs and holistic practices, it gets swept to the side in modern medicine. You can find some studies on it here, though they seem short and as always inconclusive.
Some of the reported benefits of use during pregnancy include:
☆ Helps with morning sickness
☆ Strengthens and tones uterus
☆ Can decrease the length of the second stage of labor
☆ Makes contractions more productive
☆ Contains B-complex, calcium, iron, magnesium, and fragarine
☆ Helps uterus return to normal size after delivery
☆ Increases milk production – postpartum
Will RRL Induce Labor?
THIS INFO IS BASED PURELY ON MY OWN RESEARCH AND MIXED WITH MY OWN OPINION.
No, no it will not. What it does do is make the contractions your body naturally produces more “productive”. The uterus is mostly composed of smooth muscle and even though it’s an internal organ it can vary in strength. The stronger the muscle is the more efficient it is.
If you are at risk of pre-term labor then it is most likely not advisable for you to use RRL. You want to keep the baby in not take something that “helps” get the baby out.
Third Trimester Tea vs Plain Red Raspberry Tea
When you do go to buy the tea you may notice specific brands selling Third Trimester Tea. They usually have several herbs rolled into one bag which may include Red Raspberry Leaf, Stinging Nettle, and Oatstraw to name a few. Each herb offers something different to help support pregnancy.
Make sure you check out all the ingredients and even bring it to your doctor to make sure all the herbs are safe during pregnancy. Keep in mind the FDA does not regulate herbs, some seemingly safe ones can cause harm.
Example: Cinnamon in high doses can cause miscarriage and was often used for such purposes back in the day.
I just stick to plain-old one ingredient RRL tea. It’s worked for me this far and though I am a big advocate of natural herbs and remedies I prefer to air along the side of caution while pregnant.
How To Use RRL And When To Start During Pregnancy
This is another area where you are going to find a lot of conflicting information. Some say it’s unsafe to use in the first and even second trimester. Others recommend starting it day one, ask your healthcare provider their thoughts before you start your regiment.
The info below is strictly based on MY personal use over the course of both of my pregnancies.
How I Use Red Raspberry Leaf
Earlier I said that I did not take the capsules which may be a little untrue. I use a prenatal (Rainbow Light One A Day) that has a very small amount of RRL in it. I started using this prenatal with both of my pregnancies while trying to conceive. So, technically speaking I use Red Raspberry Leaf from pre-conception until after birth and while nursing.
I start drinking the actual tea at 30 weeks. I do not recommend starting the full on capsules or tea until the third trimester. (See below to read my full regiment)
What You Need
I highly recommend getting a hot water dispenser (Wish I would have had one with my first pregnancy). I’ve had mine for over a year now and it’s still going strong. They are amazing! Reasonably priced and can be used for making food that calls for boiling water (instant oatmeal, easy mac, etc I also use it for heating bottles) It takes like 15 seconds and it’s done.
The only downside I’ve ran into is the size of mug that will fit under the dispenser. If you’re a lover of tall coffee mugs they can not be used with the Sunbeam dispenser.
Where To Buy & Which Brand
Make sure when you go to purchase your tea (or capsules) that it is in fact made from Red Raspberry Leaves. It should NOT taste like raspberries at all, unfortunately, there is no fruity flavor.
I buy mine from Amazon and use the Organic Alvita brand with both of my pregnancies. The Vitamin Shoppe also carries the Alvita brand in store if you have one near you.
Organic Traditional Medicine is another popular brand that most Target stores sell. If you have a vitamin/herbal store near you call and check if they carry it in stock.
For me it’s easier to just order it online.
When to Start and How Much At A Time?
The earliest I would start is 28 weeks. I wait until 30 because that’s when I feel the most comfortable. The latest I recommend to start is 34 weeks.
Think of it like Folic Acid, it needs time to build up in your system. If you wait until 37-38 weeks it’s really not going to do much for you.
You want to start out slow too and gradually increase as you near your due date
Here’s my schedule:
30 Weeks – 33 Weeks: 1 cup (tea bag) a day
34 Weeks – 36 Weeks: 2 cups (2 tea bags) a day
37 Weeks – Delivery: 4+ cups (4+ tea bags) a day
(This pregnancy I’ve stuck to 4, with my first daughter it was around 6)
What It Tastes Like and Recipes
The best thing I know to compare it to taste wise is just plain “un-sweet” tea. If you’re from the Southern US you know what I am talking about. I have also heard people describe the taste as a lighter black tea. Basically, it’s not sweet at all. It doesn’t taste bad, in my opinion, and I am fine drinking it “straight up”.
You can drink it hot or cold and add what you’d like to it. Sugar, honey, and lemon are my favorites.
Being heavily pregnant through most of the summer months leads me to drink it cold, 80% of the time.
Ideally, you want 1 tea bag per 8oz of water. If you find it’s too strong try diluting it more.
Cold Tea Recipe
This is an easy way to make it to-go. If you’re at home you can just dump it on ice when you’re done and skip using a water bottle. I usually use two bags for this recipe.
Sweet Southern Red Raspberry Leaf Tea | To-Go
☆16.9oz bottle of water (or an empty reusable water bottle)
☆1-2 Tea bags (depending on how many weeks you are)
☆1 Tablespoon of Sugar or Honey (per 16.9oz)
☆1 Tablespoon of Lemon juice fresh or from concentrate for an Arnold Palmer (It’s really yummy!)
- If you’re using a pre-filled water bottle remove about half of the water and use that as your brewing water. I just dump it into my water dispenser.
- Heat your water.
- Grab a coffee cup add your tea bags and sugar or honey.
- Add hot water to the cup and let steep for 10-15 minutes
- Squeeze excess liquid from tea bag(s) into cup and discard
- Slowly pour the concentrated tea mixture into the water bottle and mix with the remaining water.
- Add Lemon if you choose and refrigerate for 2+ hours
Take with you to work, or drink it around the house.
If you aren’t a fan of sweet tea to begin with just skip adding the sugar or honey to the recipe. I don’t always make it sweet, but I do use lemon .99% of the time.