During pregnancy the body and mind are subject to new stresses and strains, and as the months progress, it can be easy to feel more than a little fatigued and emotional. Traditional methods of unwinding might not be recommended for you now, so it might be time to explore a few alternative ways to de-stress instead! The use of Essential Oils can be a wonderful way to lift moods and soothe aches and pains, but it’s important to know what you’re doing. So we’ve put together a quick guide to using essential oils safely in pregnancy and beyond…
Before you start to use Essential Oils for the first time, please seek professional medical advice to ensure the safety of yourself and your baby. Always read as much information as you can; Essential Oils are derived from plants and should be used sparingly. Be informed, and make an informed choice. Always buy from reputable sources, and never use if you are not in good health. Avoid all Essential Oils until after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
How Do Essential Oils Work?
The Oils extracted from plants are highly concentrated, and once they are applied to the body they are absorbed by the skin. Experts are not yet aware of the full effects of all Essential Oils, but it is suspected that they could be able to cross into the placenta. This means that you must be careful when using them, and always follow safety precautions.
The right Essential Oils are known to have powerful relaxation properties, which makes them wonderful for keeping stress levels down and for regulating emotions. The following are known to be wonderful for use in pregnancy:
- Lavender: not only will it help to relax you and aid a good night’s sleep, but Lavender can also be used to treat stretch marks. Mix with a carrier oil and apply to the skin to prevent stretch marks. Massage well, and relax.
- Bergamot: This is a light and refreshing oil with a citrus fragrance. It can help to relieve pain and lift moods – making it great for combating the rollercoaster of emotions that pregnancy and parenthood brings. Bergamot is also known to relieve the symptoms of indigestion. Mix two drops with two drops of Orange and one drop of Neroli for a blend that will settle your emotions and clear your mind.
- Lemon: a wonderful antidote for morning sickness and nausea.
- Neroli: a multi-purpose oil that has the ability to soothe aches and pains, and resolve digestive issues. Neroli is also wonderful for tackling anxiety and depression and is known to aid sleep in the last trimester. Additionally, Neroli can help to promote skin cell regeneration so that you really can have that pregnancy glow after all! You can also add one drop of Neroli to one drop of Roman Chamomile to relieve anxiety and fears surrounding pregnancy and birth. Mix the blend with a teaspoon of base oil, rub into the palms of your hands and inhale deeply.
- Rosewood: perfect for sleep-deprived mums, as it has a mild sedative effect that will help relax you for a good night’s sleep. Mix one drop of Rosewood to one drop of Lavender and one drop of Neroli to quieten the mind and spirit.
- Sandalwood: a powerful anti-depressant that can help treat symptoms of cystitis.
- Chamomile: helps to soothe muscle pain and indigestion, and has a wonderful calming effect on the mind and body.
- Frankincense: can be used in labour to relieve pain effectively, and maintain steady and controlled breathing to aid pain management. Helps you stay focused and has comforting properties too.
Some Essential Oils are wonderful for the postnatal period and can be used effectively with baby too. As always, use with caution and make sure you take safety precautions at all times.
- Vetiver: a wonderfully calming oil that will help to stabilise moods, and can be used effectively to treat postnatal depression. It should be noted that Vetiver can either be inhaled from the bottle or diffused in a room but only when baby is over 12 months. Room sprays or oils in water can be used once baby is over six months.
- Fennel and Clary Sage: can be used to stimulate milk supply in breastfeeding mothers – this combination is known to be very effective. Make a massage oil for the breasts by adding 10 drops of each oil to two tablespoons of Grapeseed Oil. Blend together and massage into the breasts in a gentle, circular motion. Ensure excess oils are removed before feeding baby.
- Roman Chamomile: can be used along with Lavender to treat nappy rash and other minor skin complaints. Newborn babies will need the following blend to be halved: Mix one drop of each oil to a carrier oil and apply gently to the skin.
Some Essential Oils are NOT recommended for use during pregnancy, and all Essential Oils should be used with caution after birth. When you use them in pregnancy, make sure you use just one drop at a time and limit use over longer periods of time. If you add oil to a bath, dilute it first by mixing with at least a teaspoon of a carrier oil – Grapeseed or Almond Oil are perfect for this.
The following oils are NOT recommended:
- Cypress (safe for use after 5 months gestation)
- Sweet marjoram
Mother of three and natural baby care expert Samantha Quinn is an holistic therapist who has won awards for her aromatherapy methods. She founded Mumma Love Organics after the birth of her premature daughter Ella in 2004; it has since grown into an inspirational company with a wide range of organic and therapeutic bespoke Oils and Balms designed to settle fractious babies, help them (and their parents) get a good night’s sleep, and soothe their aches and pains.