It is possible to use tea to induce labor, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea. Midwifes, grandmothers, and herbalists have long recommended herbal teas as natural ways to help get labor started at the end of a long pregnancy. There are several different teas that may help get labor started.
Talk to Your Doctor or Midwife First
Many pregnant women experience back aches, joint pain, and stress and wonder what their feet look like around week 37. While some experts agree that natural herbal teas can help induce labor, others say it's merely a state of mind or a way to will the baby to come. Though drinking tea sounds harmless enough, it is always important to speak with your doctor or midwife first. Do not attempt to induce labor without talking to a professional first. She may be able to direct you to the best tea for your situation, or she may caution you against inducing labor at all, even if it's past your due date.
Teas Used to Induce Labor
A variety of teas have reputed labor-inducing properties. If you're planning to speak with your healthcare professional about this issue, it may be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the popular options.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
According to BabyCentre.co.uk, red raspberry leaf tea may sometimes work to stimulate or "tone" the uterus. However, the site mentions that it's best when used after labor has already started--to speed through the pushing stage of labor. The article also states that drinking the tea starting in week 32 will give it plenty of time to build up in your system. It won't work if you wait until the last minute.
Black and Blue Cohosh Tea
There are opposing views about black cohosh and blue cohosh as a method to induce labor. It is best to use them together, after 40 weeks of gestation, when mild or irregular contractions are already present. Some midwives and herbalists claim that the herbs are harmless, but BabyCentre.co.uk states that this combination has been linked to complications in the newborns. Be sure to speak with your health care practitioner before drinking black and blue cohosh. When used together, black and blue cohosh are said to strengthen contractions and help them become more regular.
The Pregnancy-to-Childbirth site also recommends cumin tea as a way to induce labor but states that you may want to drop in a small chunk of raw potato, since the cumin can be so bitter by itself. Just use a tablespoon of cumin seed in boiling water. This tea may work to contract the uterus.
Cotton Root Tea
According to Botanical.com, cotton root tea may work to increase contractions during labor and to stimulate milk production in nursing moms. Pregnancy-to-Childbirth lists it as a tea to induce labor, as well.
Other Teas Linked to Inducing Labor
There are other teas that are rumored to encourage labor, but these have less information as to their effectiveness or safety:
- Basil and oregano
Make Your Tea
Making your own tea to induce labor takes a little more time than simply purchasing tea bags at the store and dumping hot water over the top. These take around 15 minutes and require a few extra steps.
- Deposit one tablespoon of the herb or herb mixture into a mug.
- Pour boiling water on top.
- Cover the cup with a saucer to keep most of the heat in.
- Steep the tea for at least 15 minutes.
- Strain it before drinking it.
Drinking Tea to Induce Labor
Always consult with your doctor or midwife before trying to use any tea to induce labor. You may want to bring it up early since some will need more time to build up in your system in order to be effective. How often you drink the tea and when you begin drinking it will depend on your physician's advice.