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Essential oils can play a significant role in balancing the ups and downs of pregnancy. They offer assistance to what can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a woman’s life. The human body is complex and pregnancy introduces a need for a new level of love and care for a woman’s body. Although not all essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy, many are. Subtle aromatherapy during pregnancy is a wonderful way to introduce the softness of scent to your unborn child.
To use essential oils safely during pregnancy, it is important to follow a few simple guidelines. Essential oils are concentrated plant essences and can be diluted with a carrier oil for safety while discovering the correct strength for you. A common dilution for aromatherapy blends during pregnancy is 2%, which would equal approximately 10 drops essential oil to 1-ounce carrier oil. For an aromatherapy pregnancy bath, add 6-10 drops of essential oil to the tub and mix well before getting into the tub. For a compress, use 3-6 drops essential oil in a bowl of warm water wrung out in a washcloth. Use the same dilution in a bowl of steaming hot water for a steam inhalation.
During the first trimester, it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to experience morning sickness. Morning sickness can strike in a variety of ways but can be quite unpleasant for the mother. Experiences vary from woman to woman but usually consist of some combination of nausea, fatigue. exhaustion or simply purging in the mornings.
The first trimester is also the time when the sense of taste and smell are heightened, while the skin becomes more permeable. Certain smells can seem sickly sweet or too strong and can cause nausea. This is the body’s own natural protection mechanism, so it is important to listen to the changes you are going through. Using a mist spray with Spearmint may help with nausea, or if you prefer something more earthy and warming you can also try a Ginger mist as well. Another simple life hack during pregnancy can be including a warm lemon drink before bedtime and first thing in the morning. If you happen to be feeling nauseous, ask your partner to make it so you can have it before you get up or simply prepare enough so you have it on hand when you need it.
During the second trimester, most morning sickness symptoms will have abated and hopefully, you will start to feel rejuvenated. Citrus essential oils can be used to help mitigate stretch marks and the second trimester is a great time to begin your treatment. A safe and effective massage blend would be Sweet Orange and Ginger in a Cocoa Butter base. Not only will this help diminish stretch marks, but the Ginger will also help with any pain you may be experiencing. Other rich carrier oils, such as Jojoba, Olive, Avocado, will ensure that your skin retains its elasticity. Continue to take care of your body and spirit so your skin is resilient, your body is nourished, and your baby is blossoming.
The last trimester is the perfect time to get ready for your big day. As you progress through months 7, 8, and 9, it’s common to experience a wide array of symptoms as your body prepares for birth. Symptoms can include abdominal aches, fatigue, heartburn, irregular practice contractions, varicose veins, backache, erratic dreams, clumsiness, loss of bladder control, among others. During this time, lavender can be very helpful and offer some relief from anxiety as it soothes your nerves.
During labor, it is also beneficial to have a support partner perform a simple figure of eight massage technique over the sacrum. This massage technique feels wonderful and is best practiced well before the day of birth. Bringing a difuser to help release the subtle aroma of Lavender during labor can also help ease the tension during the labor process.
Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy
Although essential oils can offer relief and enhance the experience of your pregnancy, it’s important to note the following list as some oils can be detrimental during this time. Oils to avoid during pregnancy include: Basil, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clary Sage (during labor), Clove, Cypress (after 5 months), Fennel, Hyssop, Jasmine (during labor), Juniper, Lemongrass, Myrrh, Parsley and Pennyroyal.
Oils Recommended During Pregnancy
The following is a list of oils that can help support you during your pregnancy. As always, use caution if you or your family have allergies to any of these oils. Always do a patch test first. Some oils for pregnancy include: Bergamot, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Sandalwood, and Tangerine. Cypress can be used after the first 5 months of pregnancy. Geranium can also be beneficial but it is important to avoid in the first trimester. If you are currently pregnant and have been using any of the essential oils that need to be avoided, but are not experiencing any bleeding or cramping, it still might be best to eliminate those oils during the remainder of your term. The list below encapsulates some of the most effective oils along with their aromatherapy and therapeutic benefits that have been experienced by others during their pregnancy.
Bergamot: Analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, uplifting, and refreshing. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.
Chamomile: Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Soothes pain from muscular aches, headaches, toothaches, and indigestion.
Cypress (ok after 5 mos.) Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic. Helpful for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and swollen ankles.
Eucalyptus: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Helpful with respiratory congestion.
Frankincense: Antiseptic, astringent, sedative, warming, anti-inflammatory.
Geranium (ok after 3 mos.) Antiseptic, antidepressant, astringent, refreshing, uplifting. Eases aching legs and is good for poor circulation.
Grapefruit: Astringent, digestive aid, lymphatic stimulant. Helps with water retention.
Lavender: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antidepressant, healing, relaxing. Helps soothe aches and pains of pregnancy, encourages cell renewal and helps with fluid retention.
Lemon: Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, stimulant, Tonic. Useful as an inhalant for morning sickness and in massage for varicose veins.
Neroli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, Relaxing. Useful in pregnancy to promote healthy skin cell regeneration and for easing nervous tension.
Patchouli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, nerve sedative. Eases confusion, indecision, and apathy.
Petitgrain: Antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, refreshing, tonic. Helpful in dealing with pre or postpartum depression.
Sandalwood: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.
Tangerine: Antispasmodic, lymphatic stimulant, calming, sedative. Helps to prevent stretch marks.
Tea Tree: Antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, disinfectant. Can be used to treat thrush during pregnancy.
Ylang Ylang: Antiseptic, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, sedative, lowers blood pressure. Restorative when overworked or tense.
A New Chapter
A new chapter of your life has begun! Your precious newborn has entered this world. Take care of yourself by continuing to use these oils therapeutically and taking cautious measures to make sure your newborn doesn’t encounter any oils that they shouldn’t. You can also continue to use the Sweet Orange and Ginger blend in Cocoa Butter to nourish your skin and allow any stretch marks to heal properly. To soothe and relax your newborn, our Lullaby blend is the perfect gentle choice however a patch test is always recommended. What a beautiful time in your life to be experiencing! All of us at Ananda wish you endless love, strength, and happiness on your journey through motherhood.
A special thank you to Angela Power and Lorna Findlay for contributing to this article!