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When to start on the raspberry leaf tea?

(17 Posts)
Moulesfrites Sat 18-Dec-10 17:41:51

I always though this was something you could try if you went overdue but my chiropractor friend insists that I should start with a cap a day now (at 34 weeks) and gradually build it up - won't this put me at risk of perm labour?

Moulesfrites Sat 18-Dec-10 17:42:35

Cup and prem sorry!

Firawla Sat 18-Dec-10 18:21:35

I don't think it will put you at risk of prem labour its okay from around 35 weeks? I was drinking it daily from around then and both of mine still 10 and 11 days overdue so I wouldn't worry about that too much. It doesn't induce labour or anything it just helps to prepare you for it

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sat 18-Dec-10 18:26:13

Never. It tastes vile and there is no evidence whatsoever it works.

smoggii Sat 18-Dec-10 19:09:43

MW told me 34 weeks too.

giraffeshatewinter Sat 18-Dec-10 20:49:12

MW said they advise it from 37 weeks....

MacMomo Sun 19-Dec-10 08:51:11

Doesn't induce labour, is supposed to make your contractions more efficient and so speed up labour. The Holland and Barratt ones are mixed with some hibiscus and I actually really like.

As for no evidence, depends what you call evidence. Generations of anecdotal evidence from around the world counts for many people as evidence. Western medical doctors including specialist obstetricians (including the UK and France, such as the well-known Dr Dick-Read) have been advising the use of it at least since the 1930s.

The active compound is fragrine, an alkaloid that is believed to assist in toning uterine muscles. Yes, it is herbal. But so was aspirin until 150 years ago. Some doctors believe it does not need to be taken prior to labour beginning, but can assist uterine muscle performance just by being taken during labour.

Eddas Sun 19-Dec-10 09:06:23

I took the tablets from about 37 weeks IIRC. I am a firm believer that it works.

With both dc I went from a few cm dilated to fully dilated in about 2 hours if not less. Infact with ds the midwife said I was about 3cms and that she was going for lunch(an hour) but would be back in plenty of time(another midwife took over for an hour) she only just made it back before the pushing stage!!

Himalaya Sun 19-Dec-10 09:30:41

Macmomo...."depends what you call evidence" . Generations of belief can be right, and they can be wrong, they don't constitute medical evidence of effectiveness. That's why we have randomnised contolled trials. If raspberry leaf tea works why on earth is it not possible to show this in a clinical trial?

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 19-Dec-10 12:21:14

I've found 2 studies which have a conclusion.

These results do not support the hypothesis that RRL augments labor by a direct effect on uterine contractility.

No significant relationship was found between (raspberry leaf) tablet consumption and birth outcomes.

Are there studies that indicate a positive relationship between RLT consumption and better / quicker labour?

Himalaya Sun 19-Dec-10 22:16:04

AFAIK it doesn't do any harm, apart from tasting foul (...and of course pregnant women need that like a hole in the head on top of heatburn, no booze, smelly cheese, shellfish etc...)

But it does seem to be the gateway drug for all the general woo that is peddled to mothers.

MacMomo Mon 20-Dec-10 09:35:54

schwarzkopf thanks for the abstract, I had read it. Did you get into the details of it? How about the conclusion:

We conclude that the biological activity of RRL (red raspberry leaf) varies depending on the herbal preparation used and pregnancy status.

The RRL extract caused only weak contractions in non-pregnant rats, and the researchers agree that it can and does influence contractions but not directly (key word); the research has focused on rats who were already experiencing oxytocin-induced contractions and the conclusion is that the effective extract interacts with the oxytocin - sometimes helping and sometimes helping then hindering contractions depending on the specifics of the concentration of the extract. It would be most interesting to know whether the extract also interacts with synthetic oxytocin (if one assumes the rats were experiencing natural oxytocin), as that would impact on its effect on induced labour. The researchers' conclusion is that oxytocin is causing the contractions but that RRL interacts with the oxytocin to cause clinically measurable subsequent effects on contractions.

The conclusion that it does not initiate contractions agrees with those who advocate its use.

The second abstract you quote actually supports the effectiveness of RRL. It has no effect on 'birth outcomes' indeed - no one on this thread has claimed it does. Birth outcomes means the health of the baby vice complications. However, the research clearly concludes:

The only clinically significant findings were a shortening of the second stage of labor (mean difference = 9.59 minutes) and a lower rate of forceps deliveries between the treatment group and the control group (19.3% vs. 30.4%).

For women having their first baby, the UK published statistics for second stage labour duration give an average of 33 mins (for second births it is less than 9 mins). So the RRL in the Australian study which indicated a reduction on average of 5.59 mins by RRL would indicate (for first timers) a reduction of nearly a third. Combine that with the reduction of forceps delivery by a third as well, and it is clear why the researchers describe the results as 'clinically significant' and call for further research into the subject.

I'm not a herbalist. I don't recall that I've taken herbal remedies for anything in my life. But few question the effectiveness of arnica, for example, or aspirin (which is a synthetic form of tree bark). RRL has been barely researched seriously, which is the main point, IMHO.

MacMomo Mon 20-Dec-10 09:39:00

Correction: the average reduction of second stage labour in the australian study was 9.59 not 5.59, sorry for my typo.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Mon 20-Dec-10 10:29:51

The second study looked at tablets not the tea.

The UK second stage average is 33 minutes? REALLY? Can you give a source for that and would it include non-assisted second stages? My second stage was 30 mins but because I had ventouse as soon as I was fully dilated - totally assisted second stage* - very quick. I understood a non-intervention second stage would be around 1-2 hours? This would seem to support that. Is this not the case? I'm not being facetious this is a genuine question.

*Anecdote - after drinking RRL 4-5 times a day for a month. So clearly didn't work for me grin

The study in question is of 192 women in Sydney hospitals. It does not say how many births ended in assisted delivery.

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Mon 20-Dec-10 10:31:59

Agree with himalaya about 'gateway drug' wink

Not really sure about the relevance of arnica, aspirin or 'herbalism' to the discussion.

MacMomo Mon 20-Dec-10 11:26:26

The quoted UK times are in a study published (2007) by the RCM, and are for non-assisted deliveries with no epidural. I could not find the doc on the internet, but have a hard copy. As your South Australian (and any other) research clearly states, it really depends on so many factors that it is impossible to generalise across the world where women get very different advice and MWs follow different guidelines. The study you quoted from Sydney was taken at the same hospital, so that the clinically significant (their words) reduction in second stage labour times of, on average, 9.59 mins are more likely to have been measured in a labour environment with a consistent birth ethos, but that is as much as can be said without making shit up. For example, there is no internationally agreed method of determining exactly when second stage labour starts and finishes (or there wasn't in 2008), but it is more likely that practioners at a single unit would use the same criteria.

My point was really that the research you quoted didn't actually support that RRL tea doesn't work. You can google something and find anything. From a 2 paragraph abstract of a research paper, you did not draw the same conclusions as the researchers themselves, I think you misunderstood what was written. I'm not being rude, I really don't want to be. Your point about not having direct effects (your link one) is irrelevant - if it has secondary or tertiary effects. Your point about there being no link with RRL and positive birth outcomes (your second link) is also irrelvant: no one has claimed (to my knowledge) that RRL improves the health of the baby or reduces medical birth complications.

So, from the research you quote, the most that can be said is:

1. RRL has a non-direct, measurable effect on the contractions of rats with pre-existing (non-specified) oxytocin.

2. RRL shortened second stage labour in one trial in one hospital by an average of 9.59 mins, which the researchers concluded was clinically significant.

If I were trying to make the point that RRL has proven to have no effect in trials I would be more interested in the first study that found that in some cases the RRL compound inhibited contractions after first augmenting them.

As for: If raspberry leaf tea works why on earth is it not possible to show this in a clinical trial? It has been, in the 2 trials quoted by someone who (I think) shares your point of view.

For what it's worth, and I have a life to get on with, IMHO there are many, many factors which will influence the length of the second stage of labour. If I am lucky enough to have an assistance and pain-relief free labour, the balance of scant evidence available currently indicates the use of RRL (or its active compound) may reduce that stage by an amount of time that I think will feel significant to me at the time!

My point about aspirin was in response to the idea that you appeared to be suggesting himalaya: if it hasn't been proved to work, it doesn't. There are many medicines which we have forgotten are based on natural compounds. Just because something hasn't been proven to work, doesn't mean it doesn't, it might just mean the research hasn't been done yet. That doesn't automatically translate into something being a 'gateway' to abusing the trust of ignorant expectant mothers. I think you underestimate the intelligence of the average person who is perfectly capable of understanding that drinking RLT isn't guaranteed to give her a 10 minute labour.

I thank you and goodbye smile

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Mon 20-Dec-10 13:37:05

MacMomo if you do come back please stop making things up about what I have said.

"you did not draw the same conclusions as the researchers themselves"

I did not draw any conclusions. I copied and pasted the conclusions quoted by the researchers from the abstract as my link text.

I did not make a point about 'direct effects' - this was the conclusion of the research - the latter of which, I remind you, is about tablets NOT tea.

I think you are inferring a lot from the little that I have written.

Have another one.
The use of raspberry leaf in pregnancy is a traditional herbal therapy and is recommended by some midwives. Due to the lack of evidence for safety and efficacy such recommendations are questionable.

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