Aromatherapy and Pregnancy
Aromatherapy is a natural healing science employing essential oils extracted from aromatic plant sources to treat and balance the body, mind and spirit. During pregnancy, aromatherapy can prove to be extremely beneficial and helpful alternative, while also being very easy to employ and use. In order to use essential oils safely during pregnancy a few extra safety guidelines will need be followed. Though, there are reports of side effects, the user must be cautious enough to report any adverse effects to the physician immediately.
Essential oils are extremely concentrated and volatile. They must be diluted before use. A common dilution for aromatherapy blends during pregnancy is 2 %, which would equal approximately 10 drops essential oil to 1 ounce or 2T carrier oil (this is the most preferred oil). For an aromatherapy pregnancy bath, add 6-10 drops of essential oil to the tub and mix well before getting in to the tub. 3-6 drops essential oil in a bowl of warm water wrung out in a washcloth works well for a compress. Use the same dilution in a bowl of steaming hot water for a steam inhalation. An aromatic bath is supposed to provide relaxation to the taut pelvic muscles and aid in avoiding stretch marks.
How ever, there are many essential oils that need to be avoided during pregnancy. The following list contains oils that should be avoided during pregnancy and oils that are recommended for use during pregnancy.
Use of essential oils should be extremely limited or avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy, but has many wonderful uses in the last two trimesters and especially during labor.
OILS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY
Basil, Cedar Wood, Cinnamon, Clary sage (during labor), Clove, Cypress (after 5 months), Fennel, Hyssop, Jasmine (during labor), Juniper, Lemongrass, Myrrh, Parsley and Pennyroyal
OILS RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY
The following oils will be comfortable for using during pregnancy. As always, use caution if you have allergies or a family history of allergies. If you feel you may be allergic to oil, do a patch test first. Good oils for pregnancy include:
Bergamot, Chamomile, Cypress (after 5 mos.), Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium (avoid in early pregnancy), Grapefruit, Lavender. Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Patchouli, Petitgrain, Rosewood, Sandalwood and Tangerine If you are currently pregnant and have been using any of the essential oils that need to be avoided, but are not experiencing any bleeding or cramping, then there most likely is nothing wrong. However, it is strongly encouraged you to consult your doctor or midwife and discontinue use of the "to be avoided" essential oils.
Aromatherapy Benefits for Pregnancy
Listed below are some of the benefits and therapeutic effects of the essential oils recommended for use during pregnancy:
Bergamot: Analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, uplifting, and refreshing. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.
Chamomile: Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Soothes pain from muscular aches, headaches, toothaches and Indigestion.
Cypress (ok after 5 mos.) Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic. Helpful for Varicose veins, hemorrhoids and swollen ankles.
Eucalyptus: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Helpful with respiratory congestion.
Frankincense: Antiseptic, astringent, sedative, warming
Geranium (ok after 3 mos.) Antiseptic, antidepressant, astringent, refreshing, uplifting. Eases aching legs and is good for poor circulation.
Grapefruit: Astringent, digestive aid, lymphatic stimulant. Helps with Water retention.
Lavender: Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antidepressant, healing, Relaxing. Helps soothe aches and pains of pregnancy, encourages cell renewal and helps with fluid retention.
Lemon: Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, stimulant, Tonic. Useful as an inhalant for morning sickness and in Massage for varicose veins.
Mandarin: Antiseptic, refreshing, tonic, mild relaxant. Can ease fluid retention in leg and ankle massages.
Neroli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, Relaxing. Useful in pregnancy to promote healthy skin cell Regeneration and for easing nervous tension.
Patchouli: Antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, nerve sedative. Eases confusion, indecision and apathy.
Petitgrain: Antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, refreshing, tonic. Helpful in dealing with pre or postpartum depression.
Rosewood: Antiseptic, sedative
Sandalwood: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.
Tangerine: Antispasmodic, lymphatic stimulant, calming, sedative. Helps to prevent stretch marks.
Tea Tree: Antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, disinfectant. Can be used to treat thrush during pregnancy.
Ylang Ylang: Antiseptic, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, sedative, lowers blood Pressure. Restorative when overworked or tense.