During pregnancy and breastfeeding, carefully consider everything you eat and drink due to potential side effects for the baby, including any herbs you may be taking. Herbs have acted as natural remedies for a variety of ailments for centuries, including during pregnancy and breastfeeding. One highly discussed herb relating to pregnancy is red raspberry leaf. According to the American Pregnancy Association, or APA, red raspberry leaf may ease labor, tone uterine muscles, decrease postpartum bleeding and increase breast milk production.
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Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf is an herb commonly consumed as a tea. It is also available in tablet form or as a tincture. Birthsource.com reports red raspberry leaf promotes fertility, stops diarrhea, decreases post-birth bleeding, regulates menstrual cycles, lowers fever, eases sore throats and increases breast milk supply. According to the APA, while studies indicate red raspberry leaf is likely safe during late pregnancy, a firm conclusion of safety during the first trimester is lacking. Most doctors recommend minimal use of red raspberry leaf during early pregnancy.
Red raspberry leaf contains a variety of nutrients that are important during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The herb contains iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and manganese. Red raspberry leaf is also a good source of B vitamins, including thiamin and niacin, as well as vitamins E and C.
Studies have shown red raspberry leaf may play a role in decreasing the incidence of artificial rupture of membranes, unplanned cesarean sections and use of forceps during delivery. The herb may also ease symptoms of morning sickness and postpartum depression. Red raspberry leaf is often included in “pregnancy teas” to help tone the muscles in the uterus, which can help shorten labor and ease labor pains.
Although mostly used during pregnancy, red raspberry leaf can also have postpartum benefits. The APA states red raspberry leaf can help increase breast milk supply, help the uterus return to pre-pregnancy size and help reduce postpartum depression. Most evidence of red raspberry leaf increasing breast milk is anecdotal, but it is considered safe to consume while breastfeeding.