Postpartum bleeding, meaning bleeding from the vagina after giving birth, is a natural occurrence as the uterus recovers from pregnancy. The leaves of the red raspberry plant, or Rubus idaeus, have a long history of use for treating a variety of female conditions, and they may be beneficial in helping your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy state. Herbal remedies, however, should not be taken without professional medical advice, so call your doctor if you experience abnormal postpartum bleeding.
After Giving Birth
Immediately after giving birth, postpartum bleeding is the heaviest, and it may continue to be heavy for a couple of days before gradually slacking off, according to certified midwife, Mary Murry, R.N. You may pass some blood clots, Murry advises, but if they're larger than golf balls, or if bleeding increases after a few days, see your doctor promptly to rule out an underlying disorder.
Red Raspberry Leaf
The leaf of the red raspberry plant contains flavonoids, but it is the presence of tannins, which are astringent in nature, that may help tone the uterus after giving birth. The herb is a uterine tonic, meaning it has the reputation of invigorating and strengthening the uterus. The sooner the uterus returns to a healthy non-pregnancy size, the sooner the bleeding will stop. Red raspberry leaves may promote milk flow in a new mother, although you should not take the herb while breastfeeding unless directed to do so by your doctor.
Method and Dosage
Making an herbal tea is the preferred method of taking red raspberry leaves, according to the "Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicines," although the herb is also available in tincture and capsule form. Prepare raspberry leaf tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of the dried herb. Steep for 10 minutes before straining. You may drink up to two cups of tea per day.
There are no reported adverse effects from taking red raspberry leaf in the suggested dosages, according to the "Gale Encyclopedia," but that may be due, in part, to a lack of research on the safety of the herb. Although the herb is commonly used throughout pregnancy and immediately afterward, talk to your doctor before taking red raspberry to tone the uterus and reduce postpartum bleeding.
The Food and Drug Administration does not oversee the manufacture of herbal remedies, so you have no guarantee of product purity, safety, or effectiveness.
- MayoClinic.com: Postpartum Bleeding; How Much is Too Much?; Mary Murry, R.N. C.N.M., February 2010
- Cox College: Red Raspberry
- "Gale Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine"; Jacqueline L. Longe; 2005