Aromatherapy & Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a wonderful experience for a woman and aromatherapy can greatly enhance their experience whether it is using an oil for inhalation for morning sickness or creating a blend that helps with their aches and pains to rub onto the skin.
Interestingly during pregnancy ladies develop an extra fat layer around the abdomen so in terms of application of lotions or oils to the stomach there is an extra layer to penetrate through. Meaning that anything applied to this area will not access her blood stream as quickly as anywhere else on the body - just one the fascinating changes happening to the body to be aware of. Due to these hormonal changes going on it is important that a trained aromatherapist is sought so that the essential oils are chosen and used safely.
There are many different lists of "do not use" oils for pregnancy in books and all over the internet however sometimes the source behind these has no aromatherapy training at all! The best thing to do is seek the advice of your local aromatherapist as this will ensure that all aromatherapy treatments the pregnant woman receives will be blended carefully and labelled accurately by a qualified therapist.
Oils that should be avoided are those that contain high levels of phenols, aromatic ketones and phenyl methyl ethers are not safe for long term use during pregnancy, (e.g. thymol, thujone, carvacrol, apiole, anethole) as they can irritate the skin and excite the immune system. However this is just a small selection of oils and there is still many to choose from to use during pregnancy. In fact with just a small selection of oils there are many blends that can be created to help with things from morning sickness, lower back pain, constipation, leg cramps, water retention and more.
Below is list of a few of the key ones in my opinion and used these during my pregnancy, labour and postnatal care.
Useful oils in Pregnancy:
Chamomile Roman is pain relieving, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic so it soothes pain from muscular aches, headaches, toothaches and calms indigestion. Chamomile combined with cypress is also a good hormone balancing blend that can be diffused a little each day to help settle things down in the first couple of weeks after birth.
Cypress is antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic so it is helpful for varicose veins, haemorrhoids and swollen ankles. It is also helpful mixed with lavender in a carrier oil or lotion for a postnatal bath oil to help healing.
Lavender is antiseptic, pain relieving antidepressant, healing and relaxing it also helps soothe aches and pains of pregnancy as well as helping with stress, anxiety, low moods and trouble sleeping. It can also be inhaled mixed with neroli to help with painful contractions during labour. Many midwives will recommend lavender in the bath for healing after birth but it does need to be mixed with a plain white lotion of a carrier oil such as almond or grapeseed oil first for safety.
Mandarin is antiseptic, refreshing, and a mild relaxant. It is a great oil for uplifting the mood and can be used with cypress to ease fluid retention in the leg and ankle in a carrier oil and massaged in. The dilution rule is 3 drops to 10ml whether it is for a bath or body lotion or oil.
Peppermint is useful for morning sickness, tiredness, heartburn and heat rash although many pregnant ladies prefer ginger for their morning sickness due the heightened sense of smell peppermint can be too strong. Just apply one or 2 drops to a tissue and keep nearby to inhale when nauseous feelings come on.
Olive oil is a good carrier for helping to prepare the perineum in the weeks before birth, gently massage a small amount in well on a daily basis onto the perineum starting 4-6 weeks before the due date. This will encourage flexibility of the tissues.
The most important thing to remember is only use an oil or blend if you feel good about it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else did or suggests you do. The most important thing is that you are comfortable and relaxed as a relaxed mother has a relaxed baby.