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As if taking care of your pregnant body and your unborn baby isn’t confusing enough, add to mix the uncertainty around using essential oils and then top it up with baby brain. So we thought we would try and decode some of the aromatherapy info flying around out there and put it in one place. Here!
Essential oils are powerful and once they are inside your body they can have similar effects to drugs and medicines. The caveat around using essential oils is to be careful and only use them when you are feeling generally well. There is not a lot of research around the effect essential oils have on the development of the foetus so, as always, check with your healthcare professional. In saying that, certain essential oils have been used by midwives and natural health practitioners for nearly three decades for pregnancy symptoms and to manage labour.
Firstly, if you have any history of the following things it is best to avoid using essential oils:
1. history of miscarriage
2. any vaginal bleeding during the pregnancy
4. heart problems
6. blood clotting disorders
7. thryoid, liver or kidney disease
If you’re in the clear after checking through the list above, here are some ways that Denise Tiran, a trained midwife and complementary therapist gives to on which oils to use and how to do it safely:
1. always buy good quality oils, organic if possible and only use one drop at a time
2. don’t use oils intensively for prolonged periods of time, just when you really need them
3. before adding to a bath or using on your skin, always dilute oils with at least 5mls (one teaspoon) of base oil (sweet almond or grapeseed oil both work well as carrier oils)
4. if you’re using a vapouriser, don’t use it for longer than 10-15 mins per hour as the smell can become overpowering and make you nauseous
5. it is best to avoid using essential oils until you are safely past the first trimester. If you are looking to use them earlier than this, please consult a trained aromatherapist who specialises in pregnancy
6. Do not ingest any essential oils whilst pregnant, stick to inhalation or skin absorption methods
So what are oils are safe to use and why?
2. common lavender - great for relaxation and balancing, eases pregnancy aches and
pains and reduces fluid retention
3. ylang ylang - reduces blood pressure along with stress and tension
4. neroli - calms pregnancy related anxiety and boosts cell regeneration
5. eucalyptus - its anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and anti-viral properties make it great for easing congestion
6. tea tree oil - an anti-fungal, anti-viral that can reduce symptoms of thrush. NB not to be used in labour, pregnancy only
7. cypress - safe for use after 20 weeks to relieve varicose veins, swollen ankles and haemorrhoids
8. sandalwood - a natural sedative and anti-depressant which can also relieve cystitis
9. patchouli - struggling with baby brain? This can help with racing thoughts, indecision,
confusion and apathy
10. geranium - relieves aching legs, great for boosting energy levels and circulation
11. german chamomile - for relaxation and aiding in a good night’s sleep
Oils that are not safe to use:
1. nutmeg - may have hallucinogenic effects and interfere with pain medications used during labour
2. rosemary - can increase blood pressure and may cause contractions
3. basil - may be related to abnormal cell development
4. jasmine and clary sage - which may induce contractions (these can be used for labour by a trained professional)
5. sage and rose - may be linked with uterine bleeding
6. juniper berry - thought to affect kidneys
Other oils that may stimulate contractions are laurel, angelica, thyme, cumin, aniseed, citronella and cinnamon leaf.
Image via ECO. modern essentials
These are not exhaustive lists but give you a basic outline of common oils and uses. For a more indepth discussion check out the following links:
We love our essential oils here at Natural Supply Co and have stock some wonderful
brands that produce quality oils.