While being pregnant can be the most amazing part of a woman’s life, it can also be quite demanding not only physically, emotionally but mentally too. It is essential to stay calm, relaxed, and stress free as possible to ensure good health for you and your baby.
Aromatherapy is a superb way of doing this, however not all oils are ‘safe’ during pregnancy.
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy using a blend of essential oils to help you relax, rebalance or up lift you as a whole. Some oils can assist with the overwhelming exhaustion and fatigue that is common in most pregnancies. Many essential oils can help to protect against viruses such as the cold and flu viruses. They may also help with nausea, varicose veins, cramps, digestion and anxiety.
Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts which can be added to a base or carrier oil and massaged over the body. There are many effective methods a blend can be used, either add to your bath water, inhalation and even mixed with creams, lotions and natural products to produce homemade facials (one of my personal favourites).
The skin is our largest organ, therefore these essential oils are instantly absorbed straight into our blood stream, lymphatic system, other organs and they work a lot like medicine.
Aromatherapy is not recommended during the 1st trimester, even if you are 12 weeks it is always best to seek advice from your GP or Midwife before having any treatments. Some essentials oils can cause adverse health reactions such as increasing blood pressure, irritation of the skin or interfere with other medications.
Essentials oils can be used to for the following symptoms:
Peppermint (to relieve nausea & Headaches)
Ginger (to relieve nausea,)
Geranium (for anxiety)
Tea tree oil (antibacterial; relieve blocked or stuffy nose)
Ylang Ylang (de-stressing)
Cypress (pain-relieving; sedative)
Spearmint (pain-relieving; anti-fatigue)
Black pepper (energising; calming)
German chamomile (insomnia & Itching)
Citrus oils, such as tangerine or neroli (relieve fatigue)
Lavender (to help promote good sleep)
The following Oils are NOT safe to use during pregnancy Not all essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy because they could trigger contractions, interfere with other medication or cause bleeding in the womb. Always avoid the following: (partial list)
Rosemary (increases blood pressure and may cause contractions)
Fennel (effects Kidneys & liver)
Basil (can trigger abnormal cell development)
Sage and rose (may cause bleeding)
Nutmeg (can have hallucinogenic effects and interfere with pain relief)
Citronella (could stimulate contractions)
It is NOT safe to use aromatherapy oil
If you have high or low blood pressure, diabetes or thyroid problems, check with your midwife as to whether using aromatherapy and essential oils are safe. Some oils can trigger breathing problems, especially if you have asthma or a similar respiratory condition, so it is best not to use in a massage or in an oil burner.
If you've experienced any bleeding at all during this pregnancy, it's probably better not to use essential oils.
Which are the best aromatherapy oils for labour?
Some women like to use aromatherapy oils during labour too, to help strengthen contractions or keep them relaxed and focused.
Two popular 'labour' oils include frankincense, for its calming properties, and clary sage, which can help to strengthen contractions.
Peppermint or spearmint can also be handy natural ways to relieve nausea - use a couple of drops on a handkerchief and breathe in as required.
Aromatherapy oils can be used after birth ?
Strong scented products should be avoided while your baby is young as their senses are very sensitive and especially perfumed products can upset your baby and their skin. You can essential oils mixed with carrier oil instead of perfume but it is not recommended while around small babies.
All essential oils have antibacterial properties, so can aid healing, but never use them directly on the skin, or inside the vagina, as this could cause a painful reaction. Instead, you could put a couple of drops of tea tree oil, mixed into a base oil, such as almond or grapeseed oil, into a warm bath to help soothe and heal in diluted quantities.
Massage for Babies
Massaging your baby is a good way to help them relax before bed and aid their immune system, it’s a beautiful way to bond with your child too. My own children are in their teens now and still insist on having a massage now and then.