Is it safe to use essential oils during Pregnancy ?
The answer is yes! 👍
Provided we follow safety guidelines.
Women are the primary caretakers of children and elders in every country of the world. International studies demonstrate that when the economy and political organisation of a society change, women take the lead in helping the family adjust to new realities and challenges.
Pregnancy and motherhood are amazing and at same time challenging experiences for any woman. Here we have another opportunity to use aromatherapy as a natural tool to support us throughout, keeping in mind that synthetic medicine must be kept to a minimum during pregnancy.
Aromatherapy techniques are safe and beneficial to maintain the general health of the expectant mother, minimising the discomforts of pregnancy, such as nausea, backache, general aches and pains, swollen legs and ankles, insomnia, emotional stress, looking after the little ones we may already have at home.
What are the "Pregnancy Safety Guidelines"?
The key point to remember is that the expectant mother is still a human being and the body is still able to metabolise and excrete the essential oils which are found in every-day food and drink. The body knows how to break them down and utilise them to balance the human physiology.
Many oils are suitable for use during pregnancy; the real danger comes when the dosages are incorrect or irresponsible. Essential oils work with the body, not against it. The body always remains in control with low doses of oils.
Please stay away from the “No Go” list of essential oils: Oregano, Thyme, Clove, Cinnamon, Fennel, Sage, Hyssop, Peppermint, Cumin, Aniseed, Fennel, Star Anise, Sweet Birch and Wintergreen.
Robert Tisserand, founder of the Tisserand Institute, the leading organisation of research and education in the art and practice of Aromatherapy, recommends a 1% dilution for the expectant mother. This works out at 1 drop of essential oil to every 5ml of carrier oil (1 teaspoon of carrier + 1 drop essential oil).
In addition, during pregnancy the sense of smell may be heightened, so a 1% dilution blend will be less offensive to the olfactory system.
We must use this guideline for topical massage, compresses and bath. To diffuse, we can still use eight drops, making sure we diffuse just a couple of hours a day.
Essential oils should be avoided the first 12 weeks. They bring much needed support from the second trimester onwards including childbirth and postnatal care.
Let’s see how to use Essential oils & carriers safely
From the second trimester onwards, Aromatherapy helps to minimise nausea, backache, general aches and pains, swollen legs and ankles, emotional stress, insomnia, looking after the little ones we may already have at home.
👉Nausea & morning sickness: Mandarin, sweet orange, Petitgrain
👉Heartburn: Sandalwood, Roman chamomile, Petitgrain. Remember: Peppermint essential oil is not recommended.
👉Aches & Pains: from your second trimester aromatherapy can help relieve pregnancy aches and pains and be a great de-stressing tool too. The hormone “Relaxin” is involved with relaxing the muscles and ligaments in the body, allowing the growing of the baby. Unfortunately, Relaxin softens all the joints in the body which can lead to various muscular aches and pains.
A massage oil made with 25ml Jojoba and 5 drops of essential oil helps relieving the pain by applying to the areas of discomfort, like hips, neck, shoulders and lower back.
Suggested blend: 2 drops of Roman Chamomile + 1 drop of French Marjoram + 2 drops of Mandarin.
👉Emotions: as hormones change throughout pregnancy, this can have a huge effect on us emotionally. Some women feel tearful while others experience anxiety and low mood. Flower essential oils are particularly good at supporting women at this time. Their aromas are sweet, soft, and ultimately feminine, which combined with wood essential oils are supportive of emotions and will enhance the respiratory system, allowing us to feel relaxed yet alert.
Suggested blend in 25ml of Jojoba: 1 drop of Geranium + 1 drop of Frankincense + 3 drops of Grapefruit (bonus: Curbs cravings!)
Simply massage this blend into your upper chest and inhale the calming aroma.
Diffusers are a great way to support your emotional health as you can still go about your daily routine while getting the benefit of the essential oils.
Suggested blend for an Aroma Diffuser: 2 drops of Geranium + 2 drops of Frankincense + 4 drops of Grapefruit.
Remember to diffuse only a couple of hours a day.
👉Stretchmarks: a lot of women are concerned about stretch marks developing whilst pregnant. This tends to be a familial thing, if your Mum or sister were prone to stretch marks then it may be something you will also develop.
To help minimise stretch marks, you will need to apply a blend every other day from the beginning of the second trimester to your abdomen, across your lower back, and to your thighs. Add the following essential oils to 25ml of Jojoba oil:
2 drops of Neroli – for its effect on the growing layer of the skin + 3 drops of Mandarin
3 drops of Lavender + 2 drop of Frankincense
Not only can aromatherapy nourish the skin, the uplifting and calming essentials oils can also provide much-needed relief after a stressful day.
Very often the developing baby responds positively to the massage of the belly given by its mother. A lively baby which may be causing its mother some discomfort for the amount that it kicks and moves around, will calm down and be still for quite a while when its mother has been massaging her belly with a soothing and calming oil.
👉Better sleep: Diffuse Lavender, Ylang Ylang (supports sadness), Vetiver (boosts sleep), Roman Chamomile (releases anger), Sandalwood (tackles fears), Spikenard (one of the best sedative) or Frankincense half an hour before bedtime.
Suggested blend for a Diffuser: 2 drops of Lavender or Vetiver or Spikenard + 1 drop of Roman Chamomile + 5 drops of Bergamot.
Or massage the sole of the feet with a blend of these oils in the proportions suggested.
👉Reduce frequent urination: sweet Marjoram, Cypress and Neroli.
👉Swollen legs & ankles: is often a problem in the later months of pregnancy. Puffiness of the ankles after standing and at the end of a day can be effectively relieved by massage of the legs with Geranium essential oil, with smooth firm strokes, moving always from the ankles towards the thighs. For water retention: Petitgrain, Orange, Juniper Berry, Cypress.
👉Varicose veins: the weight of the growing baby may cause pressure on the veins and arteries of the lower abdomen and give rise to circulatory problems, such as varicose veins and haemorrhoids: Lemon, Cypress, Sandalwood, Sweet orange, “Peppermint Hydrolates”, Yarrow, Tea tree, Lavender are good choices for a massage.
👉Tiredness & fatigue: growing babies take a lot of energy from their mothers, so many pregnant women feel tired throughout the 40 weeks. You can boost energy from the second trimester with invigorating essential oils and provide deep relaxation in the third. You can also use uplifting essential oils if you had a sleepless night: Sweet Orange, Lemon or Geranium. Geranium is considered the mother of all essential oils, it brings a sense of balance and you feel “someone is taking care of you”.
When you need that “hug moment” during pregnancy don’t forget about Geranium.
Aromatic baths are the greatest luxuries and forms of relaxation for the expectant mothers. Massage oils afterwards, will nourish the skin and provide further relaxation.
Once again avoid the risky oils and over-hot water.
👉For Labor & the delivery room: Bath or a massage with arnica carrier oil, Arnica homeopathy to cope with the contractions.
Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils during childbirth and it was found to reduce maternal anxiety, to relieve pain and to lighten the mood.
Jasmine is one of the most useful oils to use during childbirth. If it is used as a massage oil on the abdomen and lower back in the early stages of labour, it will relieve the pain and strengthen the contractions. It helps with the expulsion of the placenta after delivery and aids in postnatal recovery.
The lower back muscles will remain tight even after delivery for another few weeks. Relieve the pain with bath oils: 1 % dilution if you are breastfeeding. Otherwise back to normal levels.
We have nourishing carriers oil for crack nipples: Almond, Calendula, Avocado. Apply after every feed and wash it before the next feed.
Jasmine and grapefruit can also help with Milk production.
Mastitis or blockage of milk ducts: apply a cold compress with German chamomile, Yarrow, Frankincense hydrolats fresh from being in the fridge, to draw heat out.
Rosehip or Calendula carrier oil for scaring, stiches and healing.
Because we are working with the safest essential oils they are also good for the little ones we may have at home, whatever relaxes and helps the mother relaxes and helps the whole family, making our journey more than just manageable 😊