What is it?
Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy that is thought to tone the muscles of your uterus (womb), to help it work during labour. The idea is not so much to speed up labour but to help it progress at a steady pace.
We can’t be certain about the benefits of raspberry leaf tea, as there has been so little research into it. Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy, not to be confused with raspberry fruit tea.
Is it safe?
Some midwives and doctors advise against taking anything that may interfere with labour. That is especially the case if there is a lack of evidence that it works. Our bodies are designed to give birth without help, in-fact evidence provided by NHS Medicines Information (2014) showed that research studies saw no difference in length of labour, or birth outcome, for mums who had taken raspberry leaf tea compared to those who had not.
Like other herbal teas, raspberry leaf should be drunk in moderation and no earlier than 32 weeks. The chemicals in the tea work their way through your body in the same way as a drug. This may affect how some of your bodily processes work.
The only known possible side effects if taken correctly are nausea, loose stools and Braxton Hicks contractions.
When to avoid it -
It is not recommended that you take raspberry tea during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. This is especially important if any of the following apply to you:
If you've already had a baby and your labour was very short (3 hours or less)
If you're scheduled to have a planned caesarean for a medical reason
If you've previously had a c-section
If you've ever had a premature labour
If you've had vaginal bleeding, or spotting in the second half of pregnancy
If you have a family or personal history of ovarian cancer, endometriosis or fibroids
If you have any complications or health problems in your pregnancy
If you have high blood pressure
If you're pregnant with multiples
If you are on medication
If you have liver or kidney disease
Overall, the jury is out on both safety and effectiveness, so my take (and advice) would be to avoid it and let nature take it's course.