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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 10:53 AM   1
MaybeMomSarah
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Raspberry Leaf Tea (RLT) & Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) FAQ


I have seen many threads started about RLT (Raspberry Leaf Tea) and EPO (Evening Primrose Oil) in the last few months, so I thought it best to collect all of the various questions and answers and put them into a FAQ. I'm hoping this can get stickied so it can be used over time. Please suggest any other questions that should go in here!

RLT - Raspberry Leaf Tea, also called Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Q: What is RLT?
A: RLT is an herbal supplement that comes in dried form, an can be consumed orally by either making a tea and drinking it, or injested in caplet form. It is available in most holistic and healthfood stores.

Q: Are Raspberry Tea and Raspberry Leaf Tea the same thing?
A: No. Raspberry tea is made from the berries. Raspberry leaf tea is made from the leaves. They do not have the same properties.

Q: What does RLT do?
A: Raspberry leaf tea contains the alkaloid 'fragine' which is said to strengthen and tone the muscles of the uterus, helping them to contract more efficiently during labour. Research has found that taking raspberry leaf during the weeks prior to delivery helps to shorten the second stage of labour by making contractions more effective. Some studies have also found that it reduces the need for an assisted delivery (i.e. an emergency cesarean or use of forceps or ventouse).

Q: Does RLT induce labour?
A: No. Unfortunately this is a misconception; raspberry leaf tea doesn't actually help to bring on labour at all.

Q: When should I start taking RLT?
A: Although some individuals take RLT throughout their pregnancy in lower doses, it is advisable to wait until the 32nd week of pregnancy before trying raspberry leaf tea as there is a concern that consumption before this time in the more fragile, earlier stages of pregnancy could lead to problems. Once you have reached the 32nd week of your pregnancy you could begin with one cup of raspberry leaf tea a day and gradually increase up to 4 cups or tables a day (although this may vary in accordance with the strength of the blend and the manufacturers instructions).

Q: Is drinking the tea better than taking the capsules?
A: Although this tends to be a personal choice, a Baby & Bump discussion about the topic can be found here.

Q: What is the recommended dosage of RLT?
A: Due to the limited research on raspberry leaf - the ideal preparation and the ideal dosage is not known at this stage. I have posted my own scheudle for taking RLT and EPO in this thread based on what I have read on my own, although I am not a medical or herbal specialist so please do not take this as any sort of professional recommendation.

Q: Does RLT have any benefits post-birth?
A: After the birth is also said to help the uterus contract back down to size, reduce after birth bleeding and help initiate the let down of breastmilk.

Q: Is there anyone who should not take RLT?
A: The fact is that raspberry leaf tea is not right for everyone. Don't take it if:
•You've already had a baby and your labour was very short, three or fewer hours from start to finish.
•You're scheduled to have a planned caesarean for a medical reason.
•You've had a caesarean before.
•You've had a premature labour before.
•You've had vaginal bleeding in the second half of pregnancy.
It would also be wise not to drink raspberry leaf if you:
•Have a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, endometriosis or fibroids.
•Have any complications or health problems in your pregnancy.
•Have high blood pressure.
•Are expecting twins.


This site was pointed out by brunettebimbo - very helpful!
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea – What Every Pregnant Woman Needs

EPO - Evening Primrose Oil
Q: What is EPO?
A: Native to North America, the Evening Primrose is so named because its yellow flowers bloom in the evening. This plant's oil is extracted from the seeds and placed in capsules.

Q: What does EPO do?
A: Evening primrose oil helps to soften the cervix by providing prostaglandins and the components the body needs to make prostaglandins. This can help to ripen a cervix to help encourage labor or to speed labor.

Q: Does EPO induce labour?
A: While some lay midwives will argue that it does, which is the reason it is not recommended until 36 weeks or "full term", almost all sources with experience agree that it does nothing that the body was not ready to do on its own.

Q: How do you take EPO?
A: It can be taken orally as soon as 34 weeks, and can be applied directly to the cervix at full term (36 weeks). I have not found any sources that indicate that EPO can start being used for perineal massage earlier (or later) than their recommendations for using it vaginally. The general recommendation is two 500mg capsules per day until week 38, at which time you increase to 3-4 per day. The entire capsule can be inserted vaginally (inserted just before bed, it will dissolve before the first time you wake to use the bathroom), or you can use the oil on your fingers for your perineal massage, then also rub on your cervix (assuming you can reach it). Applying directly to the cervix is optimal, but the beneficial ingredients are absorbed through the external skin or the stomach also.

Q: Are there any precautions needed when using EPO vaginally?
A: Yes. Always wash your hands (including under your fingernails) before inserting anything into your vagina. Never insert EPO once you have lost your mucus plug (show).

General Questions About Both
Q: Can you take RLT and EPO simultaneously?
A: Yes. Many women start with RLT at week 32, then add EPO to their daily regement at 34 weeks.

Q: Have there ever been any studies or articles published about possible negative / concerning effects of taking RLT and EPO?
A: In 1999, the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery published a study of EPO in pregnant women. This, along with other articles can be found in this post on Baby And Bump.

**********************************************************

My own experiences after taking EPO & RLT:

RLT - I took it as I listed above right up until I started having contractions the morning before TJ was born. The second stage of my labour (what the RLT is supposed to help with) literally lasted ONE PUSH. Head, shoulders, body and legs all out at once on the first push after my midwife said I could start. My OH says TJ literally shot out of me and across the birthing pool.

EPO - I started contractions at 4:30am on the 2nd. Called the midwife when contractions were 5 minutes apart at midnight. I was measured at 1am at 4cm, and I lost my plug immediately after the exam. He was born at 4:30am on the 3rd, so my labour lasted a total of 24 hours. I was never measured a second time due to the fact that it was less than 4 hours between my first measurement and when he was born. This was my first baby.


**********************************************************

Like with anything you read here, always speak with your midwife before you start any herbal treatments, and make your own decisions based on what you feel is best. I am not a medical or herbal specialist - only someone who has gathered information based on what I have read here and elsewhere.

Sources:
http://www.askbaby.com/raspberry-leaf-tea.htm
http://www.maternitycorner.com/mcmag.../preg0007.html
http://www.birthingnaturally.net/cn/.../primrose.html
http://www.pregnancy.com.au/resource...rry-leaf.shtml
http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnanc...elabourexpert/



 
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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 13:46 PM   2
MaybeMomSarah
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Anyone think any more Qs should go in?



 
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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 13:55 PM   3
emmylou209
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just like to say thank you and have answered all my Q's about RLT and EPO I didn't even realise it can help! lol



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Old Sep 9th, 2010, 15:25 PM   4
Cocobelle
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Does anyone know if the RLT tea is better than the capsules, or visa versa?



 
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 04:30 AM   5
MaybeMomSarah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cocobelle View Post
Does anyone know if the RLT tea is better than the capsules, or visa versa?
Added it to the RLT Qs section.



 
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 05:04 AM   6
Babydreams321
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Can you take both at once???xx



 
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Old Sep 10th, 2010, 05:42 AM   7
MaybeMomSarah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babydreams321 View Post
Can you take both at once???xx
Added!



 
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Old Sep 12th, 2010, 03:12 AM   8
rowleypolie
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thank you for this thread! i had all these questions! what would be the recommended dosages if i want to take both the pills of RLT and the tea? another question is is there a difference between red raspberry leaf tea and raspberry leaf tea?



 
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 05:47 AM   9
MaybeMomSarah
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rowleypolie View Post
thank you for this thread! i had all these questions! what would be the recommended dosages if i want to take both the pills of RLT and the tea?
I think that is dependant on the dosages for the tea and the pills - they vary between brands.

I've added a general question about dosages.

Quote:
another question is is there a difference between red raspberry leaf tea and raspberry leaf tea?
I think that's covered with this:
Quote:
RLT - Raspberry Leaf Tea, also called Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
They are the same thing.



 
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Old Sep 13th, 2010, 05:51 AM   10
iwanta8a8y
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Great idea, well done hun x



 
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