This past week I made up a big batch of red raspberry leaf tea as a preparation for my ninth month. Red raspberry leaf tea is a uterine toner that is helpful to take the entire pregnancy, but every time I thought of it, it wasn’t a convenient time to actually prepare it and I ended up not getting around to it until now. (I did take other supplements, which took up the mental space I had allotted for being proactive about pregnancy related choices! )
I brought the bulk herbs I’d bought in the past with me to Israel, so I had red raspberry on hand, though not all the herbs I’ve used in the past for this blend. (You can buy pregancy tea that comes in tea bags, but buying the loose herbs is much, much less expensive.) Honestly, I don’t think it matters that much – the other herbs I used had different purposes but the main one for helping the uterus work efficiently is red raspberry. What I used this time was red raspberry (8 parts), alfalfa (3 parts), spearmint (3 parts), and stevia leaf (for sweetener – can’t remember how much I added). This is a nice tasting blend and I made up a nice amount that should be enough to get me through until after birth, though it depends when I give birth! But I still have enough herbs left to prepare another batch if I run out.
The general guidelines I’ve seen for taking red raspberry leaf tea are like this:
First trimester – start with a half cup of tea daily, working up to one cup (tea – not an infusion, which is much more concentrated). Some people prefer to start taking this after sixteen weeks as there is concern that drinking it at this point can lead to a miscarriage. Based on the reading I’ve done, I’m not convinced this is true, if taken in this amount. It’s actually an ingredient in miscarriage prevention herbal mixes. But better safe than sorry if there’s any concern or past miscarriage history would be the way I would go.
Second trimester – two cups of tea daily.
Third trimester – three cups of tea daily. When entering the ninth month, you can have four cups a day, and start drinking an infusion rather than the tea (proportions for each are below). For the ninth month, I use 1 oz. of leaves (about one packed cup) with at least 5 cups of boiling water, letting it steep overnight. I bottle it when it cools off and keep it in the fridge – it makes a nice refreshing summer drink
At the beginning of labor – 1 oz tea mixture and 2 cups of boiling water, letting it steep for at least 30 minutes. Drink hot. I never have remembered to do this but maybe this time I will. I made a note of it in my planner so we’ll see. :)
After birth – to promote contracting of uterus, expulsion of placenta – drink a cup or two of tea right after birth.
The difference between tea and infusion is how long you let it steep and the ratio of herbs to water An infusion is much stronger. For tea, you can use 1 t. herbs to one cup of water. For an infusion, the proportions are 1/4 c. and 1 c. of water.
My understanding is that the infusion is only used in the ninth month, but I’m still making my infusion on the weak side because I’m not rushing to go into labor. For right before birth, you definitely want to use the supercharged infusion above. But that’s a very potent drink and you shouldn’t use it until you get to the hospital since it can make labor much shorter and it’s not fun to have a baby in transit.
Did you drink red raspberry leaf tea during your pregnancy and/or labor? If so, in what quantities? Did you notice a difference in labor length or quality?