Lavender essential oil (Latin name Lavendula angustifolia) is considered the safest of all the essential oils used in aromatherapy. Even so, it is not advisable to use this versatile oil in the first three months of pregnancy as there is always a possibility that it may bring on a miscarriage. The fact is that although lavender is completely natural, essential oils contain the essence of the plant they are extracted from, and are very powerful.
That being said, there are many ways in which lavender can help over the later months of pregnancy. It is particularly beneficial for stretch marks. These can appear in the later stages of pregnancy on the upper thighs and the abdomen. Massaging four drops of lavender mixed with palm full of jojoba oil into the abdomen and thighs daily will help to prevent stretch marks from forming and to help reduce their appearance if they have already started to form. Skin tends to become drier during pregnancy, and the combination of lavender and oil helps by moisturizing the skin and preserving its elasticity.
Lavender also helps to combat the daily stress of pregnancy, particularly in the later stages when the body becomes unwieldy and sleep is disturbed. Lavender soothes and calms the nerves, helping to relieve tension, stress and anxiety. It also helps ease insomnia, and a couple of drops on the pillow when retiring for the night will help to ensure a good night's sleep.
During labour lavender can be used to calm, and as a pain reliever. Rubbing four drops of lavender mixed with a palm full of jojoba oil into the back will ease backache and have a calming effect. However, it should be noted that lavender should not be used in labour at the same time as Pethidine, with an epidural, or with Oxytocin/Piticon, as it may interfere with their function. If you have any doubts about this, consult first with your health advisor before using the oil.
After the birth lavender can help a new mother to recover from the trauma of delivery. Taking a warm bath to which eight drops of lavender mixed with a palm full of jojoba oil have been added, is not only relaxing, but will relieve pain and help to prevent infection. The bath will also help to ease any other conditions, such as hemorrhoids, sore or cracked nipples or a poor breast milk supply.
In all, used with precaution, lavender can be a great aid in both pregnancy, and the immediate period afterwards.