Lavender can have many benefits, and it can be consumed in many forms: as a tea, as dried flowers in foods, and as an essential oil in lotions, diffusers, and baths.
Eating lavender as a flavoring in foods, or drinking lavender tea in moderation is considered to be safe during pregnancy.
There are some periods in pregnancy where you want to be careful about consuming lavender, and we’ll look at that below.
Can I Drink Lavender Tea During Pregnancy?
There are 47 different species of lavender. However, the main types of lavender that you may encounter are:
English lavender. Also known as Lavandula angustifolia, this is what is also known as culinary lavender and is the best lavender for all kinds of edibles.
This type of lavender has a sweet and floral taste, as opposed to other varieties that can taste like camphor or soap.
French lavender. Also known as Lavandin, or Lavandula X Intermedia, this variety is not considered edible because of its strong scent.
It is often used by painters as a less toxic alternative to turpentine, so not pleasant to eat!
The exception to French lavender is the variety called Provence, which is lower in camphor and can be found in many culinary and body care essential oils and dried lavender products such as sachets and neck pillows.
Lavender tea is usually made from English lavender or similar. Lavender tea on its own is considered safe to drink during pregnancy, as lavender is not one of the listed herbs to avoid while pregnant (Source: APA).
Although there are no studies on pregnancy and lavender to date, lavender tea is probably safe in food amounts in any trimester, but avoid any higher doses such as consuming lavender oil or supplements (source: WebMD).
Some lavender teas may contain chamomile and are best to be avoided, as chamomile is not considered safe to consume during pregnancy.
Chamomile has been shown to have emmenagogue and abortifacient properties (source: Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology). You can read more about pregnancy and chamomile in our guide here.
Many lavender teas on the market are sold as sleep aids, so check the ingredients before buying.
Some contain honey, others lemon, both of which are fine. Others contain black tea which has caffeine and is not recommended in large amounts while pregnant.
Good brands to consider are:
- Bigelow Benefits
- Stash Organic
- Celestial Seasonings
- Buddha Tea
- The Tao of Tea
- Traditional Medicinals
Is It Safe to Eat Lavender During Pregnancy?
Lavender has not been shown to have adverse effects in pregnant women, though it is probably safe in small amounts.
During the second and third trimester, lavender can decrease pain and swelling caused by fluid retention, as well as contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing (Source: JCS).
Generally speaking, it isn’t recommended to eat large amounts of lavender, but there are specific pregnancy treats that contain lavender that are safe to use, such as ‘preggy pops’, which can even be taken during the first trimester to help relieve nausea (Source: APO).
Small amounts of culinary lavender (safe to eat in moderation) can also be found in:
- Lavender lemonade
- Lavender shortbread cookies
- Lavender creams (chocolates)
- Lavender sorbet
- Lavender yogurt
- Lavender candies
- Lavender honey
- Lavender preserves
As with any food, though, check the label for sugars so that you aren’t getting too many calories with your lavender!
Lavender Oil, Baths and Scents When Pregnant
Lavender cream has been shown to help alleviate some psychological challenges in pregnancy.
Although more studies need to be done, there have been encouraging results in positive effects of lavender foot baths and creams for pregnant women to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.
Lavender foot baths have even been reported to help improve sleep (Source: JCS).
Lavender oil is best used sparingly, and never directly on the skin: 2 to 3 drops of essential oil can be combined with 2 to 3 tablespoons of a carrier oil such as jojoba oil.
While the use of lavender oil has not been proven to prevent stretch marks, it has been shown to help wounds heal more quickly in a study done on animals (Source: PMC).
While some people consume lavender oil (a drop or two in a cup of warm water), it is not recommended that you consume lavender oil while pregnant.
There simply are not enough studies to show the effects of ingesting lavender oil and its effects on the fetus. However, you can certainly benefit from the scent by inhaling lavender with an oil burner or with a few drops on a tissue (Source: MayoClinic).
Aromatherapy massage with lavender oil can help reduce pain and anxiety during labor, and even decrease labor duration (Source: JCS).
Inhaling lavender oil can also be beneficial for stress and anxiety reduction, though more studies are needed (Source: JACM).
If you are fond of baths, some Epsom salt mixtures contain lavender and are safe to use. Epsom salt baths are one way to help fight muscle cramps and spasms while pregnant (Source: APO).
In conclusion, it is safe to drink lavender tea and eat lavender as an aromatic flavoring in moderation while pregnant.
Lavender oil can be used when diluted in a carrier oil, in a bath with Epsom salts, or when used for the scent only, e.g. on a tissue or in a diffuser.
Drinking herbal tea during pregnancy? You might also want to know:
- Why chamomile tea isn’t recommended for pregnant women
- Whether or not red raspberry leaf tea really works for easing labor
- The safety of decaf tea and coffee during pregnancy
This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.