RASPBERRY LEAF IN PREGNANCY: ITS SAFETY AND EFFICACY IN LABOR

Authors

  • Michele Simpson DipRemedial Therapies, MHNA CNM*, ,

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    • Michele Simpson is an Australian nurse and certified midwife currently employed by a major tertiary-level hospital in Sydney where she manages a midwifery-led prenatal clinic. She holds a diploma in massage and remedial therapies and is a founding member of the Holistic Nurses Association in the State of New South Wales.

    • Australian nurse and certified midwife.

  • Myra Parsons CNM*, BHSc, MRCNA, MACMI,

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    • Myra Parsons is an Australian certified midwife practicing in hospital and home settings. She holds a degree in nursing and a Graduate Certificate in Research from the University of Western Sydney. Ms. Parsons is currently enrolled in a Master's (Honors) program at the University of Western Sydney, Nepean, and is a member of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia, and the Australian College of Midwifery.

    • Australian nurse and certified midwife.

  • Jennifer Greenwood CNM*, MEd, PhD, FRCNA,

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    • Jennifer Greenwood is a clinical professor of nursing, jointly appointed by Western Sydney Area Health Service and the University of Western Sydney. Greenwood holds a Master's of Education from Exeter University, UK, and a PhD in Education from the University of Leeds, UK. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, Australia.

    • Australian nurse and certified midwife.

  • Kenneth Wade BSc, DipEd, PhD, MEdAdmin, MACE

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    • Michele Simpson is an Australian nurse and certified midwife currently employed by a major tertiary-level hospital in Sydney where she manages a midwifery-led prenatal clinic. She holds a diploma in massage and remedial therapies and is a founding member of the Holistic Nurses Association in the State of New South Wales.

    • Kenneth Wade is a policy and systems coordinator at the University of Western Sydney, and formerly a senior lecturer in research methods and statistics at Cumberland College of Health Sciences in Sydney. Dr. Wade holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia; a Diploma in Education, a PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Sydney, Australia; and a Master's of Educational Administration from the University of New England, Australia. He is a Member of the Australian College of Education.


7 Jordana Place, Castle Hill, NSW 2154, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Objective: Many women consume the raspberry leaf herb during their pregnancies in the belief that it shortens labor and makes labor “easier.”

Methodology: Because of the paucity of research regarding this herb, particularly in relation to pregnancy and birth, the authors undertook a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The sample consisted of 192 low-risk, nulliparous women who birthed their babies between May 1999 and February 2000 at a large tertiary-level hospital in Sydney, Australia. The aim of the study was to identify the effect and safety of raspberry leaf tablets (2 × 1.2 g per day), consumed from 32 weeks' gestation until labor, on labor and birth outcomes.

Results: Raspberry leaf, consumed in tablet form, was found to cause no adverse effects for mother or baby, but contrary to popular belief, did not shorten the first stage of labor. 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%). No significant relationship was found between tablet consumption and birth outcomes.

Conclusion: The lack of significant differences between the groups on measures expected to demonstrate the effect of raspberry leaf ingestion during pregnancy on labor prompted consideration of the issue of effectiveness of dosage level. Suggestions for further research are offered.

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