Lavender is one of the most versatile natural therapies you can find and, unlike quite a few other plants, is safe to use almost throughout pregnancy, during labour and on your newborn baby. (HOWEVER, it is advisable to be cautious using lavender oils in the first trimester of your pregnancy, especially if you have a history of miscarriage.)
Lavender oil can be added to a bath to help soothe away pregnancy aches and pain and relieve stress. It can also act as a natural antiseptic and insect repellent which is useful as you will find many pharmaceutical ointments come with a warning to be avoided during pregnancy.
If you have the pregnancy snuffles or feel congested and are again unable to take over-the-counter chest medicines, you can use a drop or two of lavender oil in hot water as a steam inhalation.
When using lavender oil in pregnancy, you should make sure you have diluted the oils thoroughly if you are not using just a couple of drops in the bath. Ask the person at your health shop or pharmacy about specific dilutions if they are not stated on the packaging or aim to dilute to about one tenth of a mixture with a base oil. Then massage it on your legs and feet to ease fluid retention.
If you want to relax in the evening, you can burn lavender oil in a burner or even burn the dried stalks of the plant like incense.
You can also get aromatherapy cushions, which act like wonderfully scented hot water bottles, from Aromacushions. They also do ‘hottie’ gloves, neck rests and scarfs.
Massaging with lavender oil (again, well diluted) during labour has been known to strengthen contractions and helps to relieve panic or stress.
If you are having your baby at home, try burning some lavender oil for a calming atmosphere.
For your child
Lavender’s antiseptic properties make it a useful skin barrier against nappy rash. Creams with lavender in include the wonderful Living Nature Lavender Massage Balm.
Lavender is also at the centre of the Neal’s Yard Remedies baby range of balms, bath wash, powders and more.
Baby Kind, too, have some gorgeous mother and baby lavender products. Check out the Baby Kind website.
When your child is a little older, add lavender oil in small amounts, to a bath to help him relax after a raucous day, or put some in a cold compress for a fever or headache.