It’s the Holidays and you’re pregnant so you have to skip the alcohol but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your drink. In fact, with this “Third Trimester Mocktail,” your taste buds will be happy and your uterus will thank you. That’s because it contains red raspberry leaf tea and dates, both of which are said to have positive effects on labor and it includes spearmint, fresh raspberries, lemon juice, and honey to create a yummy concoction. This makes it a perfect drink to sip as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve or in the morning for breakfast, or anytime you want to give your body a boost in preparation for childbirth.
Red raspberry leaf tea
Honey to taste
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea is the base of this drink and has been said to have numerous benefits for all women, pregnant or not. It is rich in vitamins and minerals to support the immune system and is said to lessen menstrual discomfort, ease nausea, lower high blood pressure, and aid the reproductive system to name a few. In pregnancy, red raspberry leaf tea strengthens the uterus so that when labor hits, contractions are more powerful and effective which may make labor shorter and less painful. It may also make the amniotic sac stronger which reduces the chance of waters breaking before labor and it supports a healthy breastmilk supply.
Red raspberry leaf tea is not without controversy, however. Lack of testing means this herb is not exactly scientifically supported and care providers widely vary their recommendations toward it. While some believe the tea can be safely taken throughout the entire pregnancy and may even help protect against miscarriage, other midwives and doctors may advise that it not be taken until the second trimester, the third trimester, the 34th week or even later. As always, consult with your care provider before you start drinking red raspberry leaf tea. If you decide you’re not ready for it, simply substitute green tea in this recipe. It will taste just as good!
Dates are said to have an effect on the uterus that is similar to oxytocin (the labor hormone). They are a natural laxative and may stimulate uterine contractions. A 2011 study compared the labors of 69 women who ate 6 dates a day starting in their 36th week with the labors of 45 women who ate none and found several significant differences between the two groups. Those who ate the dates had a much easier latent stage of labor lasting an average of 510 minutes compared to 906 minutes in those who did not eat dates. Only 28% of date consumers needed Pitocin compared to 47% of non-date consumers. Furthermore, 96% of those who ate the dates went into labor spontaneously while only 79% of those who did not eat the dates went into labor on their own. Finally, when they checked into the hospital/birth center, date consumers were an average of 3.52 cm dilated and 83% of them had intact membranes while non-date consumers were an average of 2.02 cm dilated and only 60% of them had intact membranes. To read the whole the abstract of the study, click here.
Of course, like most things, the use of dates in pregnancy isn’t supported by everyone and it’s important to do your own research and check with your care provider before consuming a large number of dates. They are high in sugar so if you have gestational diabetes or are closely watching sugar intake, it may be best to avoid dates. The women in the study did not start eating 6 dates a day until they were in their 36th week but a few dates here and there before that time is most likely just fine. However, if you’re uncomfortable with the idea, simply leave the dates out of your Mocktail. No harm there!
To make your Mocktail, start by bringing 12 ounces of water to a boil and pouring it over your red raspberry leaf tea and a couple spearmint leaves. Add in honey to suit your taste or avoid it all together if you don’t want the extra sugar. Let it steep for at least 5 minutes and then chill in the refrigerator or freezer if you’re in a hurry. Don’t forget to enjoy the sweet little quotes on the tea bag. I just love this one!
Finally, mix the purée and tea together, give it a good shake, and add in more raspberries and mint for garnish if you desire. Now you’re ready to enjoy your “Third Trimester Mocktail.” I hope you find it easy, delicious, and effective in helping you labor along. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Mama!