Monday, November 4, 2013

My Experience with Red Raspberry Leaf Tea after a Miscarriage

Today's post is for all the women who come to this blog to find healing and hope after a pregnancy loss. I'm so sorry you're here--I wish you weren't--but since you are, I hope to offer some empathy and support and peace. 

After my miscarriage in 2011, I did a lot of research on what I could do to nourish my body and care for it. Mainly, I wanted it to come back into balance so that I could feel good and strong and healthy, and so that I could be prepared for another pregnancy, since my husband and I really wanted to try again for a pregnancy that would result in our second healthy baby.

I've talked about this elsewhere on the blog (see this) but the first thing I did was to change my diet and go Primal /paleo. It was October of 2011 that we ditched grains, legumes, refined sugar, processed foods and rancid vegetable fats, and I've been living that way ever since. That has been a huge success, which I'll cover in another post, but today I want to talk about the tea.

One of the reasons I suspected I miscarried was that my hormones were off due to nursing. I don't really know if that's the reason, and I'll never know. But when my son reached two, I decided it was time to wean him so that I could focus on healing and conceiving again.

That was, for us, relatively painless. He was down to two nursings per day anyway, and so over the course of about two months, we just tapered off until we said "bye bye to milkies." It was a very emotional process, but it was the right decision and it was ultimately pretty gentle for both of us.

For years, I've charted my menstrual cycle with the method outlined in Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Even after weaning I noticed that my luteal phase was too short. I also noticed that my menstrual cramps since giving birth to my son were waaay worse than they'd ever been in my life. I knew my cycle was off.

After consulting Dr. Google, I decided to try B6 supplementation to lengthen my luteal phase. After two cycles doing that, I noticed that I was having mid-cycle breakthrough spotting, and I didn't like that. It had never happened to me before, so I knew the B6 was not helping, and was possibly hurting.

I stopped taking that, and that's when I did some research on the balancing and fertility promoting properties of red raspberry leaf tea, which I'd heard about from my doula, but never really looked into.

You can read a lot about what it is supposed to do here. This story even talks about boosting goat fertility!

I used the Traditional Medicinals organic tea bags. I brewed 4 bags in 4 cups water in a big Mason jar, and then stuck it in the fridge so I could drink it iced. (I only drink hot tea in the dead of winter, and the taste of RRL is better iced, IMO.) I drank 3-4 cups a day, every day.

I knew it was helping when I noticed a significant improvement within the first cycle. I had a longer luteal phase, much better EWCM, almost no cramping at all when my period did come, and I just felt more balanced.

In my second cycle of drinking the 3-4 cups of tea daily, I conceived again, and this time the pregnancy stuck. :-) My daughter is now almost 11 months old.

Now, I want to say that I don't want this to come off as a "If you do this, then you will conceive" kind of message. I know intimately the fragile state of a woman who has miscarried, and the even more fragile state of a woman who has miscarried and is desperate to conceive again. It is very easy to want to control everything and try to "do" something. The last thing I want to do is send anyone into a tizzy of "I need to order this and this and this." Because, just as I don't know why I miscarried, I don't know why I conceived again when I did. I have my suspicions. But I don't know.

I have my little anecdote, and if it is helpful to you, or you think my story sounds similar to yours and it might help, I don't think trying RRL tea can hurt you in any way. It will cost you a few bucks. (And, full disclosure, the links on my site are Amazon affiliate links to help support my writing, but I want to just put that out there so that you know I'm not trying to sneakily earn some money off anyone's pain.)

But your body is unique and if it is healthy, you could probably do nothing and still conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. And it is my most fervent wish that you achieve your heart's desire. I guess what I'm trying to say is that only you know what you need.

I listened to my body, watched its signs and realized that I was out of balance. I did a bunch of things (including using Pre-Seed Lube in my fertile window and also undergoing Mayan abdominal massage and regular Swedish massage) to try to help me to conceive, and maybe they helped, maybe they didn't. It's in your heart and hands what you can undertake and what you can handle in the quest to have a baby, especially after a loss.

It's so, so hard to be in that spot, and if you're reading this, I'm so, so sorry that you are. I wish none of us had to go through the pain of a lost pregnancy. It's such an awful grief and sorrow. But, sisters, I offer you a hug and some hope that you will be well again.

With all my love,


arianek said...

Interesting! I am going to try the Raspberry Leaf tea again for my cramps - I had to stop taking the pill a while back (I'd reluctantly gone back on it because of awful periods) because my hormones were such a horrid mess, and my periods have been getting bad again. I used to use the tea ages ago but had kind of forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder!

Tiffany Hamburger said...

Hey Ariane! Great to see you here! Been enjoying your blog, too, though have barely the energy/time lately to post comments on anything. Anyway, yes, the RRL tea was amazing for easing my monthly cramps, so do give it a try. I've heard so many wise women say that RRL is a woman's all-around tonic, and I am now convinced! :-) Hugs to you and hope you are well! -- Tiffany

ArianeK said...

Hugs back! Was glad to see you writing again. :)

Hannah MacArthur said...

I had never had midcycle spotting, but in July this year I had it once, and it was the month we conceieved. and then we lost the baby at 8 weeks. I had midcycle spotting again in november, the month I conceived my 2nd pregnancy, lost the baby at 5 months. I had midcycle spotting again this last month.

Do you think midcycle spotting isn't good? I have read it's a great fertility sign, but what are your thoughts?

I have already ordered some red rasberry leaf tea before I read this post, but I might have to buuy more as I only bought 16 bags!!I have problems with gluten, not celiac, but I'm allergic to it. So I am going on a strict diet too for the next couple of months to prepare myself for pregnancy again.. hoping after two-three more cycles we can try again.

Thanks for you post, hope to here from you soon!

Melissa said...

Did you continue drinking the RRL tea during your pregnancy? Even in the first trimester? My OB advised against it and I feel it was a mistake to listen. It ended in MMC anyway, so it feels like it was a pointless exercise.

Tiffany Hamburger said...

Hi Melissa--yes, I did drink it throughout my pregnancy--even in the first tri. Did one cup a day till 12 weeks, then upped it to 2-3 for most of the pregnancy, and up to 4 cups for the last two months or so. Hope that helps. So sorry for your loss. I know a lot of people say it's not safe, but many midwives and herbalists think otherwise. Find someone you trust and good luck. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Hi, may I know how long after your miscarriage that you start to drink raspberry leaf tea? I just had a missed miscarriage and done D&C surgery last Sunday.

Tiffany Hamburger said...

Hi Anon--
so sorry for your loss. :-( Hugs to you. As for when I started drinking it, I don't really remember, but if you're wanting to start, there's no reason to wait. In fact, it is such a wonderful regulator of my cycles that I just drink it all the time. When I go without, my periods are weirder and more painful. I basically just consider it maintenance now, even though I am not trying to conceive and I am two years + postpartum. I think it is just that powerful for me. YMMV, of course, but it has had a huge impact on my female/hormonal existence. :-) Good luck to you. :-) -- Tiffany

The Proofer's in the Pudding said...

I drank RRLT for one cycle before getting pregnant. I stopped after I found out because so many said not to in the first trimester and I ended up miscarrying. I'm going to start again and hope it works for when we're ready to try again.

Meg said...

Thanks, Tiffany for this post! I drank this tea in the last few weeks of my first pregnancy to help my body prepare for labour and didn't learn until recently that it can help balance hormones. We're trying for baby #2 (son is 2.5 years old) and it isn't happening easily this time. My luteal phase is short and I'm experiencing a lot of spotting 3-5 days before my period. This started happening while I had my copper iud in. I hope this helps! I'm considering B6 and vitex as well, but I'm waiting to see what my naturopath says when I meet with her tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post I just stumbled on it as I searched for information. I have had seven miscarriages and I am 29 years old. I have decided to ditch the tablets and go herbal with trust in God that this works this time. I will share my testimony as soon as I go through this successfully.

Brittany said...

I have been researching RRLT, Maca and Vitex. Do you know anything about the other 2? I don't have periods and so I don't ovulate and I have been seeing a Dr for a year now but it's not working out so we decided to try natural things.

Tiffany Hamburger said...

Hi Brittany--I don't know too much about Maca, but I've been taking Vitex to get my periods back on track, since I weaned my toddler about a month ago. They had been really wacky--spotting that goes on for five days and then my period starts, or my period seems to start, and then it goes away for 2-3 days, and then starts again. Since I've been taking vital (and I'm still taking RRLT), my periods seem to be a bit more regular and my luteal phase seems a bit longer. But I haven't been taking it long enough to be sure if this is a cure for my weird periods, and so I'll have to update later. I don't know anything about it inducing a period after amenorrhea, though. Please let us know what you find out. Hugs and good luck!

Meg said...

A really good resource and guidance on the do's and dont's of using vitex is She is a women's health and hormones naturopath with excellent advice and an amazing website and book all about fixing periods. Check her out!
As a follow up to my previous post about starting RRLT to help conceive, after two months of drinking the tea and after one month of following a strict no gluten/no sugar diet and seeing an accupuncturist I got pregnant. :) currently 18 weeks. I really think the no gluten and sugar diet helped as I ovulated two days earlier than normal and had a longer luteal phase without my usual PMS spotting. Best of luck to all!

Anonymous said...

I know this sounds weird (and obviously I dont think it will solve the problem for everyone)...but I mentioned to my chiropractor (because they also have nutrition services) that I wasn`t ovulating or having periods for many months. She started doing pelvic adjustments at my monthly visits and all 3 times I would ovulate within 24 hours (which I knew from BBT charting). I became pregnant after the 3rd adjustment, but had a miscarriage. Just thought it might be something to consider with your other natural efforts.

Anonymous said...

As the last person commented, I just thought I'd share that I know a chiropractor who specifically got started into becoming a chiropractor because she, also, wasn't having periods and then had chiropractic adjustments which gave her regular periods. It was proof enough to inspire her to become a chiropractor. Makes me wonder what all menstrual-related issues may be helped with adjustments.

Binkle said...

I've been trying to conceive for about two years. I have mid-cycle spotting EVERY month, starting about day 21 and usually lasting around five days. I've seen several practitioners that don't seem to know what's causing it (maybe low progesterone, but labs are normal) and aren't too concerned about it. I can hardly find any information on other women with this problem and how it has been treated. Did the Raspberry Leaf tea stop the spotting? Did you find out what was causing it?

Unknown said...

Hi Tiffany - thank you very much for this post. I realize it was written quite a few years ago but I hope my message still reaches you. I was trying for my second child for a year with multiple chemical pregnancies and finally became pregnant after a month of drinking raspberry leaf tea (3 cups a day) that whole month. We were moving to a new city when I was about 5-6 weeks pregnant and forgot to take it regularly and ended up miscarrying at 7-8 weeks. It’s now 6 months later and I would like to start raspberry leaf tea again (I too have midcycle bleeding) but I am also maybe afraid it could have been what caused my miscarriage. I would like to ask if you drank 3 cups a day throughout your whole pregnancy? I have read many different articles saying various times during pregnancy to drink it. Thank you and I hope to hear back from you. Lana

Tiffany Hamburger said...

Lana--yes, I did drink 3 cups a day throughout my whole pregnancy. Have you consulted with a doctor to test your progesterone levels, etc.? I doubt not drinking it could cause a miscarriage, but it would be wise to discuss all this with a doctor or midwife. I'm very sorry for your losses, and am sending you good thoughts for the future. Hugs. :-)