Raspberry leaf tea header

Raspberry leaf tea

May help labour start naturally and shorten labour by encouraging strong, rhythmic contractions to continue.

Benefits & Evidence

Raspberry leaf tea is thought to stimulate the muscles of the uterus, leading to it becoming more toned. That enables more effective contractions and helps labour to progress quickly. There are no known adverse effects from human trials.

It also is known to provide a good source of vitamins and minerals that are valuable in pregnancy: iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium, vitamins B1, B3 and E.

Shorter labour

A retrospective study of 108 births in 1998 showed that raspberry leaf tea is effective – it “shorten[ed] labour with no identified side effects for the women or their babies”. Another follow up randomised controlled trial on pregnant women confirmed these findings.

On time

The former study found that raspberry leaf may also make you more likely to give birth at full term (40 weeks) rather going overdue. 

Fewer interventions

Of course this is statistics, so you are increasing your chances of having these great outcomes. But for me, stacking the odds in my favour was definitely something I wanted to do! During my pregnancy, I drank raspberry leaf tea and my personal experience was that I did go overdue, with my son being induced at 41 weeks, but the birth was very easy and quick for a first baby: just 6 hours end to end with only 20 minutes of pushing. I’m definitely going be drinking raspberry leaf tea again in future pregnancies.

Is there any evidence to the contrary?
review of 12 studies, including animal trials, was inconclusive about the benefits and suggested further larger scale research be done. As far as I know, this hasn’t yet been undertaken. No human studies have observed any side effects when the herb is used from 32 weeks onwards. 

… and that women who used raspberry leaf were more likely to give birth naturally, and didn’t need “artificial rupture of their membranes, or require a caesarean section, forceps or vacuum birth”.

What do other mums say?

There’s a lot of anecdotal belief in the effectiveness of raspberry leaf.

“I drank raspberry leaf tea two to three times a day every day from 36 weeks labour with both my kids and I had very quick 2nd stage labour, with no intervention, tears or grazes”

Laura Southern, Nutritionalist at London Gynaecology, via Mother & Baby

“Her birth was so quick and painless (yes! Not painful!) that I almost didn’t make it to the birthing center on time. My contractions were so strong and effective (again, not painful) that she just moved right out with no issues. Her birth was actually FUN! And I believe RRL [red raspberry leaf] tea definitely played a role in this.”

Genevieve Howland aka Mama Natural

How to use

The NHS advice varies depending on where you read it, but all the information agrees that you can start using it between 32 and 36 weeks in small doses, building up an accumulation of the active compounds in your body so that they’re present by the time you go into labour. And also so that your uterus has had time to be working and toning up through Braxton Hicks.

How much raspberry leaf tea should I drink?

Parsons et al (the Australian midwives who conducted research into the effects of raspberry leaf tea), give the following guidelines:
One cup per day in the first trimester, two cups per day in the second and 4 to 5 cups throughout the day in the third.

However, most other advice is to avoid drinking it during early pregnancy start late in the second trimester or even in the third trimester. 

The more conservative advice is that you can start drinking 1 cup a day at 32 weeks, rising to 3 cups towards the full term of your pregnancy.

Of course, you should always consult your midwife or GP. Especially if you’re taking other medication.


NHS midwife, Denise Tiran, recommends that you don’t use raspberry leaf in the following circumstances:

  • If your previous labour lasted three hours or less from start to finish
  • You are going to have a planned caesarian section for a medical reason
  • You have had a caesarian section before
  • You have had a premature labour before
  • You have had any vaginal bleeding in the second half of your pregnancy
  • You have a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, endometriosis or fibroids
  • You are expecting a baby who is breech
  • You have any complications or health problems in your pregnancy, including high blood pressure
  • You are expecting twins

You should also discontinue using it, or take a lower dose, if you experience strong uterine contractions after taking it.

What to buy

Heath & Heather

Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea Bags

20 bags of organic raspberry leaf blended with apple and other herbs.

Each bag is 30% raspberry leaf so you may wish to drink more to get the same level of active ingredients.

This product contains hibiscus.

Raspberry Leaf Tea Bags

50 bags of raspberry leaf blended with apple, natural flavourings and other herbs.

Each bag is 30% raspberry leaf so, again, you may wish to drink more to get the same level of active ingredients.

This product contains hibiscus.


Clipper products are made with pure ingredients and a clear conscience. They use only the highest-quality sources, add nothing artificial and strive to improve the welfare of the workers. All their organic products are grown in a way that preserves the natural balance of the environment and will help sustain people, wildlife and the land for the future.

Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea Bags

A multipack of 6 boxes of 20 bags of raspberry leaf tea.

Each bag is 50% raspberry leaf, so you get a good dose of active ingredients from each bag.

95% organic ingredients.

This product contains hibiscus.


Cotswold Heath Products have supplied high quality herbs, spices and teas direct from source for over 30 years.

Pure Loose Raspberry Leaf Tea

100g of pure loose raspberry leaf tea.

Rough chopped and dried, this product contains no additives or other ingredients. You may wish to serve with a dash of sugar or another sweetener such as apple juice.

Makes approximately 40 cups.


Is raspberry leaf the same as red raspberry leaf?

Yes, that’s just another name for it. The latin name is Rubus Idaeus.

Is raspberry leaf tea the same as raspberry tea?

No, raspberry tea is made with the fruit. The substances that have the desired effect are in the leaves, so you need to look for raspberry leaf tea, which is less common than standard raspberry tea.

Does raspberry leaf tea help with pregnancy nausea?

This is a traditional belief, but there is no evidence to back it up. Moreover, you may wish to avoid raspberry leaf in early pregnancy, when most nausea strikes (see ‘Does raspberry leaf tea help to prevent miscarriage, or cause miscarriage?’ below).

Can raspberry leaf tea increase my milk supply?

No studies have shown this, but in traditional medicine, raspberry leaf is believed to assist in breastmilk production when taken in combination with blessed thistle by acting on the way the body handles oestrogen. 

Does raspberry leaf tea help to prevent miscarriage, or cause miscarriage?

There is no conclusive evidence either way. It’s understood that the popular belief that raspberry leaf tea might cause miscarriage may come from a study using a reduced selection of compounds present raspberry leaf substances on animal tissue in a lab rather than live animals or humans.  It is not known if this method can be used to predict the effect of the full range of herbal compounds present in raspberry leaf once they’ve been processed by the body via the digestive system. 

Does raspberry leaf tea help to prevent tearing?

There’s no evidence that this is the case. There are anecdotal reports that mothers who take raspberry leaf tea often don’t tear. However, perhaps they would not have done anyway, or perhaps they benefited from other measures that reduce tearing, such as perineal massage, or more active perineum management by the midwife during birth.


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