The role of lavender oil in relieving perineal discomfort following childbirth: a blind randomized clinical trial

Authors


Ailsa Dale, Midwifery Sister, Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Hinchingbrooke Park, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE18 8NT, England.

Abstract

Aromatherapy is a movement growing in popularity, but lacking scientific justification in the field of practice, although laboratory experiments are in evidence. Lavender oil is frequently selected for aromatherapy as having antiseptic and healing properties. More specifically, it has been used as a bath additive postnatally to reduce perineal discomfort. A blind randomized clinical trial is described, involving three groups of mothers, one using pure lavender oil, one a synthetic lavender oil and one an inert substance as a bath additive for 10 days following normal childbirth. Analysis of daily discomfort scores revealed no statistically significant difference between groups. It cannot be concluded that current practice results in a reduction of postnatal perineal discomfort at the dilution levels used. However, there is some consistency in results between the 3rd and 5th days, with those women using lavender oil as a bath additive recording lower mean discomfort scores. This is a time when the mother usually finds herself discharged home and perineal discomfort is high. A total of 635 women participated and no side-effects were found.

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