NOTE: Evening Primrose should NOT be used throughout pregnancy.
Red raspberry leaf tea has been used for thousands of years as a uterine tonic. Its use strengthens and tones the reproductive organs but does not stimulate uterine contractions, making it safe for use throughout pregnancy. Evening primrose, however, definitely plays a role in labor induction, as I have seen with women who use it as a vaginal suppository to soften the cervix and "get things going" during the last days of their pregnancies (do not insert anything into your vagina if your membranes have already ruptured, though!) Both herbs are safe and gentle to women when used with wisdom during pregnancy--red raspberry throughout, and primrose oil at the very end when both mother and baby are prepared for birth.
I would recommend 2 500 mg. tablets/day of evening primrose oil to systemically soften all tissues (including cervix and perineum, especially if cervical scarring or previous perineal injury exists) and 1 c. rasp. tea from 28 weeks, 2 c. from 32 wks. and 3 c. from 36 wks., then as needed in labor to strengthen and tone the uterus.
-Amy Darling, midwife
Reprinted from Midwifery Today E-News (Vol 2 Issue 4, Jan 28, 2000)
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