Motherhood is a thing of marvel for those that choose the path. While the world looks at it through rose-tinted glasses, the reality is that mothers-to-be and mothers put a lot of thought and research before letting anything touch them or their baby.
The fact that a lot of man-made chemicals that doctors themselves do not consider safe for pregnant women are prevalent in almost everything, is a major disadvantage, to put it mildly. And mothers and mothers-to-be need all the gentle care and help they can get.
At such times, its best to go back to the basics and simple, yet effective, practices of our ancestors. For instance, the use of coconut oil, especially freshly extracted virgin coconut oil.
Virgin coconut oil does not contain any harmful chemicals. It is gentle and extremely versatile. Mothers can use it for the following purposes:
Virgin coconut oil has a high moisture content. It is rich in vitamin E and occlusives such as oleic and linoleic fatty acids. In Kerala, cooked virgin coconut oil has always been an intrinsic part of the skincare routine of mothers and infants. Each traditional household has a ceramic jar full of thenga ventha velichenna, i.e. oil extracted from cooked coconut milk. Application of this oil during pregnancy and post-partum reduces stretch marks. It is good for nursing mothers who develop cracked nipples. A baby can still be nursed because it has zero side effects if the baby ingests it. As a matter of fact, in such a minute amount, it can be good for the baby because it contains lauric acid, a powerful antimicrobial agent that is only found in human breast milk.
As previously mentioned, virgin coconut oil is abundant in lauric acid, a potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent. Its immense healing properties can soothe rashes, burning sensations and minor burns. This can prove helpful to treat a baby’s nappy rash. For pregnant women, massaging warm coconut oil on swollen ankles can help redistribute fluids and reduce the swelling.
Massaging a baby with oil is an age-old tradition that helps it maintain flexibility, moisturizes its skin, improves blood circulation and eases any muscle tension. Massaging the baby with warm coconut oil will help achieve all of the above with the added benefit of protecting its skin against pathogenic bacteria.
During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuation is natural. This may cause your scalp and hair to become dry. A head massage with virgin coconut oil will nourish your scalp and consequently make your hair strong, soft and bouncy.