Does Tea Help to Induce Labour?
If your due date has come and gone, and you’re feeling uncomfortable and anxious, you’ll perhaps be willing to try anything and everything to bring on the labour, herbal tea to induce labour is one of them. Yes, you read it right. Teas can induce labour. The idea of using tea as a natural labour inducer has been passed down through generations and remains a topic of interest for many expectant mothers. But do they actually work? Let’s delve into the scientific evidence and valid references to determine whether there is any truth to this popular belief.
Does Tea Help Induce Labour?
Certain herbal teas, like red raspberry leaf tea, are known to induce labour. It is believed that drinking herbal teas like raspberry tea strengthens the uterus and promotes easy labour, but there is not enough evidence that suggests raspberry tea or other herbal tea can help with labour induction. Hence, they are best avoided.
Teas That May Help Induce Labour
Here are some of the tea varieties that possess labour-inducing properties:
1. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to Induce Labour
Red raspberry leaf tea is supposedly beneficial for toning the muscles of the uterus, which helps it work more efficiently when a woman goes into labour. Toned muscles can help the labour progress smoothly without fatigue once underway. However, it is not recommended to have raspberry tea to kick-start labour once you’re due. It could cause bad contractions that can distress the baby. This tea can be consumed gradually from the time a woman enters the 32th week of her pregnancy.
2. Basil Tea to Induce Labour
Basil is an emmenagogue, a substance that can increase the menstrual flow. Basil tea has other compounds than can help smooth muscles to relax and bring on a late period. In higher doses, basil and oregano tea can induce labour. Midwives and natural health care providers have used this combination to induce labour in women who are overdue. But basil is never recommended in higher dosage. Therefore, if you wish to use this tea to bring on the labour, you must check with your healthcare provider to understand whether and how you should use it!
3. Chamomile Tea to Induce Labour
Chamomile is a herb closely related to the common daisy, and there are some reports of the German and Roman chamomile causing miscarriage. Hence the herb gets its reputation as being helpful in inducing labour in post term pregnancy. A 2016 study also reports that chamomile, which has no chemical side effects, can be used for stimulating labour in post-term pregnancy. The flower of the herb is dried to make tea, capsules and extracts. If you have had any pregnancy complications in the current or previous pregnancy and wish to use this herb to bring on labour, you must check with your doctor first.
4. Cinnamon and Clove Tea to Induce Labour
Cinnamon and clove are spices that are safe to consume in limited quantities during pregnancy. The effectiveness of cinnamon and clove tea in inducing labour hasn’t been demonstrated to a credible extent although it is tried with other herbs as a labour-inducer.
5. Cumin Tea to Induce Labour
Cumin tea has also been used to kick start labour by midwives in women who have mostly gone past their 40 weeks mark. The tea is known to stimulate contractions in women who have shot past their due dates. Like many other spicy foods, cumin tea increases the metabolic rate, which is thought to stimulate labour potentially. Cumin tea, unfortunately, isn’t a tasty beverage. To overcome its bitterness, a small chunk of potato can be added to the mix while preparing the tea.
6. Evening Primrose Oil Tea to Induce Labour
Evening primrose oil tea is informally known to ripen and soften the cervix, potentially inducing labour. While the historical use of evening primrose oil for cervical ripening is known to many as well as in a review published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, researchers still debate its efficacy and safety on pregnant women and the foetus. Hence, consulting a doctor before consuming this labour inducing tea is recommended.
There are many other teas like hibiscus tea to induce labour, informally known for progressing labour. However, as a caution, it is advised not to consume any kind of concoction during pregnancy before consulting the doctor, as it could harm the pregnancy and the unborn baby.
How to Make Your Own Tea to Induce Labour?
The method of making tea to induce labour is a bit different than your usual way of making tea. This might take a little longer. Here’s what you need to do:
- Add one tablespoon of herbal tea powder to a mug.
- Pour boiling water into it.
- Cover the mug with a saucer to conserve as much heat and steam as possible in the mug.
- Let the tea steep in hot water for at least 15 minutes.
- Strain the herb before drinking.
A Word of Caution
Before trying any herbs or herbal teas to induce labour, do consult a doctor. While some doctors believe that some labour-inducing varieties of tea may work to bring on labour, others believe that they may not work and hence should not be consumed while pregnant. Although herbal tea seems harmless enough, drinking it to induce labour without consulting your doctor or midwife is unsafe. If you wish to use herbal tea to bring on labour, check with your doctor first. They may guide you to use the best drink for your condition or warn you against trying it at all.
Like all herbal preparations, the effectiveness of herbal teas in bringing on labour is not thoroughly established. Hence, they are best avoided while pregnant!
Disclaimer: The information given in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We urge readers to seek the advice of a physician before trying any herbal teas mentioned in the article.
1. Parsons. M, Simpson. M, Ponton. T; Raspberry leaf and its effect on labour: safety and efficacy; Aust Coll Midwives Inc J.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10754818/; September 1999
2. Gholami. F, Samani. L, Kashanian. M, et al.; Onset of Labor in Post-Term Pregnancy by Chamomile; Iran Red Crescent Med J.; https://archive.ircmj.com/article/18/11/16387-pdf.pdf; May 2016
3. Red Raspberry Leaf; Mosby’s Guide to Women’s Health, 2007; ScienceDirect; https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/red-raspberry-leaf
4. Kalati. M, Kashanian. M, Jahdi. F, Naseri. M, et al.; Evening primrose oil and labour, is it effective? A randomised clinical trial; J Obstet Gynaecol.; PubMed; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29426270/; May 2018