Pregnancy can be a beautiful, magical, and at times, extremely uncomfortable experience. Especially when you’re past your due date with no baby in sight. So it’s no wonder the internet is full of tips and tricks to naturally induce labor. There’s one that’s taking over #pregnancytok: The Starbucks “labor drink” aka the Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade with raspberry syrup, which many pregnant women claim induces labor. To get to the bottom of whether this drink lives up to the hype, we called up Lizzy Swick, a registered dietitian who specializes in pregnancy nutrition.
Does the Starbucks drink really induce labor?
It’s not that simple. While the drink is a fruity iced tea, it’s the four pumps of added raspberry syrup (which, unrelated to the pregnancy phenomenon, Starbucks recently discontinued) that has some people thinking it can help them go into labor. Here’s why: Raspberry leaf tea has been used by generations of women to trigger labor. It’s thought to strengthen the uterine muscles and shorten labor, says Swick.
The problem: There’s no raspberry leaf tea in the Starbucks Iced Passion Tango Tea Lemonade, whether you add the raspberry syrup or not. There’s also only anecdotal evidence to suggest that either raspberry leaf tea or the Starbucks drink can induce labor (though one study suggests raspberry leaf tea could potentially shorten part of your labor).
Whether it's the drink that’s sparking labor or the fact that someone is just at the tail end of their pregnancy, is up for debate. Plus, it’s worth noting that the Starbucks drink doesn’t work for everyone.
But can I at least try it?
Swick says it’s best to steer clear of the Starbucks drink if you’re pregnant. She explained that it's made with a few herbs that may be harmful for pregnancies, including licorice root and hibiscus. If it’s consumed during pregnancy, licorice root may be linked to lower IQs, behavioral problems, and early puberty — while hibiscus may put you at risk of a miscarriage.
As for raspberry leaf tea, Swick says it’s generally safe — as long as your doctor gives you the OK. It likely won’t help you go into labor, though. At the most, it may help “tonify the uterus, but not stimulate it,” Swick says. Meaning, it may help make for a smoother labor. At the very least, you’re getting an additional boost of antioxidants and vitamins from the tea, she says.
Is there anything I can do to help start labor?
We get it if you’re over the belly bump, the swollen ankles, and needing someone’s help anytime you stand up. Swick gave us a few safer ways to get things moving: Walking, nipple stimulation, and rest. “I know this isn't necessarily what people want to hear,” Swick says, especially if you’ve already tried them all. Her advice: “The best thing that you can do to get that process going is to be in a place of calm.”
Approaching or hitting your due date might have you looking to try anything and everything to get your baby moving. Instead of trying the viral Starbucks drink to induce labor, opt for the proven methods. And call up your doctor if you have any concerns about your pregnancy.
Subscribe to Skimm Well
Sign up here to receive our wellness newsletter (currently in beta), filled with actionable advice, expert-vetted content, product recs, and more — delivered directly to your inbox.