The Use of Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Labour – What’s Safe & What’s Not?
Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy using essential oils that come from plants. These oils not only smell divine, but they have a therapeutic benefit, and are often used in pregnancy, labour and birth.
Plant derivatives or Essential oils can assist you physically, mentally, emotionally & Spiritually. During Pregnancy all of those aspects of our selves are usually in need of care & balance. Essential oils harmonise synergistic-ally with our body & its cellular structure unlike man mad drugs, although as we know they have their place in our world too.
Aromatherapy has become popular for everyday use. Once your basic Lavender is tried from a friend’s recommendation, it’s a daily ritual for our young & old. Essential oils are highly volatile, concentrated extractions. Most of them need to be diluted & blended with suitable carrier oils before being applied to our skin.
Essential oils can be used by applying to our skin via massage or adding to a bath for absorption, or by breathing in the oil and aroma. Oil burners are not recommended for the therapeutic use of oils, as the oils have sensitive compounds which are damaged by heat. Using an oil diffuser that vaporises the oils into the air around you, is much more beneficial and therapeutic. You can take an electric diffuser into your birthing environment.
Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy
Not all Essential oils are safe for growing babies. Some Essential oils act as stimulants, having an emmanouge action- (stimulates the flow of blood in the pelvic area & the uterus) promoting menstruation, and they can be detoxifying & can leave you feeling euphoric & anxious.
Always see a Certified Aromatherapist & never use essential oils without them being prescribed.
Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy are:
- Red Thyme
- Rose ( all types of Rose)
- Clary sage
- Chamomile (all types of Chamomile)
- Black Pepper
Essential Oils Safe for Pregnancy, Labour and Birth
In the plant world there are Essential oils that can make you feel amazing during all stages of pregnancy including the onset of labour & as early as day 1 in the post natal period. Certain oils can gently initiate labour from 39 -40+ weeks.
A growing baby as early as 12 weeks can smell the outside world. Their olfactory epithelium develops around 9 weeks, along with the nostrils.
Because the Essential Oils enter the bloodstream via the pores of the skin within 30 seconds, the natural chemical constituents have the ability to act therapeutically rather instantly.
Essential oils are relaxing, balancing, anti -spasmodic, anti -inflammatory, diuretic, anti- depressant,cephalic (clears the mind of clogged fearful thoughts) uplifting, refreshing, nerving, analgesic, immuno-stimulants, mucolytic, to name a few.
Some common pregnancy ailments
Stretch marks can be treated with Mandarin & apricot Kernel oil, which improves the elasticity of the skin.
Sciatica is very uncomfortable in pregnancy & never missed once you have given birth. Lavender is analgesic (pain relieving) & anti-inflammatory providing relief for this.
Always seek out a Certified Aromatherapist.
Essential oils safe for pregnancy are:
- Ylang Ylang
- Tea Tree
- Rose Geranium
Meaghan’s Essential Oil Recipes
Recipe for Belly oil for Mummas to be
Use this recipe after the 1 st trimester
Add to a 50ml amber glass bottle add:
- 25 ml of Apricot Kernal oil
- 25 ml of Springfields wheatgerm
- 6 drops of Mandarin
- 2 drops of Geranium
- 2 drops of Frankinsence
- 2 drops of Lavender
This Blend is soothing for mum & bub during pregnancy & will support the elasticity of the skin during the last trimester as your bump grows.
The aroma alone with help reduce any symptoms related to anxieties around the birth & will help you prepare for birth.
Recipe for gently Initiating Labour:
Initiating Labour naturally is often something women need to consider before having any medical intervention or augmentation. Jasmine is the oil to use to assist with initiating labour. Blending it with Rose oil & Clary Sage have a synergistic effect enhancing their properties. Jasmine, Rose & Clary Sage oils are only suitable from 39 – 40+ weeks of pregnancy.
Simply inhale this lovely oil often throughout the day & diffuse in your bedroom. It has a grassy yet florally aroma. Its amazing at strengthening your surges & bringing about relief from the pressure when bubs is descending. Pack some ‘clary sage’ in your hospital bag.
You can add 4 drops to a small amount of milk ( I like coconut milk ) then add that to warm bath ( not hot ). Light candles & practice your HypnoBirthing visualisations rituals.
If you like mix 6 drops of Clary Sage
3 drops of Jasmine
3 drops of Rose
to 25 ml of almond oil & apply often to your lower back & abdomen from 39-40 weeks on.
If bub is suffering from symptoms related to Colic, Chamomile can be used infused in Jojoba. These oils are calming and assist with digestions.
For Baby Blues
Post natal depression or the baby blues can be treated with essential oils too. Although nutrition plays a big part here & it should always be treated holistically, Aromatherapy helps with our emotions. If you think you are suffering from post natal depression, see your GP as soon as possible. Postnatal depression is treatable and common, so talk to someone today about how you are feeling.
Written by Meaghan Amor
Meaghan is one of our wonderful HypnoBirthing Practitioners on the Gold Coast of Qld. Meaghan is a pregnancy massage specialist, aromatherapist and Doula for over 20 years. She runs a business called A Place Called Birth on the Southern End of the Gold Coast.
Visit Meaghan’s Website: http://www.aplacecalledbirth.com.au