Spring is here and as we think of the rebirth of nature, of course, naturally, we think of all mothers.
With Mother's day just around the corner, I've been thinking about my first Mother's Day.
Our first son had not yet been born I was 8 months pregnant in May 1976. I wish I had known about essential oils back then. I suffered with morning sickness almost the entire pregnancy, developed stretch marks at the end, and had swollen feet!
What wonderful memories!! Really, they are. I had no other problems during any of my pregnancies (three of them and we have three fine sons!)
We are often asked about essential oils safe to use during pregnancy, labor and delivery, postpartum and while nursing (breastfeeding).
First, I want to say is that most essential oils can be safely used during the entire pregnancy, just as they have been used in perfumes, cosmetics and other bath and body products for centuries with no ill effects to mother or baby.
Pure essential oils in concentration though should be avoided until after the first trimester of your pregnancy, as should any types of medications and chemicals
Your physician will let you know, that prior to becoming pregnant, and in the first 3 months of your pregnancy, you should avoid taking any medications (unless prescribed of course) and avoid exposing yourself to strong chemicals.
Many expectant mothers cannot endure strong smells or scents. The sense of smell seems to become extremely keen during pregnancy. Certain smells will trigger varied emotions and several will become very offensive.
By the way, expectant mothers should not be filling their automobiles with fuel. Smelling gasoline or diesel fumes is not recommended. Likewise, strong cleaning solutions should also be avoided.
Just another note of caution, don't use any of those commercial air deodorizers or air fresheners either, as many of them are made from petroleum products or synthetic fragrances. All of them can be detrimental to your baby. Of all things in nature, Essential oils are much safer to be exposed to then those petro-chemicals!!
Each and every day, pregnant or not, people eat, drink and use essential oils as they brush teeth, wash hair, shower and more. Although many essential oils are labeled as GRAS (Generally recognized as safe), there are a few that you should avoid while pregnant. Fortunately, the ones to avoid are not commonly used essential oils.
Any essential oil whose plant or flower (herb) is used in flavoring foods such as citrus, oregano, thyme, rosemary, generally can be used any time as long as you do not use neatly (undiluted) on the skin.
Always mix with a carrier such as massage oil or a lotion. Just remember you are going to smell them or use them in massage. You certainly won’t be ingesting essential oils that are not well diluted as for use in foods and flavorings.
Below is a list of Essential oils you can use, inhale or properly diluted in skin products during pregnancy. As always, make sure your physician is aware you are using essential oils. Most of them will not object, but let them know.
If at any time you have an adverse reaction to oils, whether pregnant or not, discontinue use.
Especially, during the first trimester use essential oils with caution, common sense and in limited amounts. Essential oils can be safely used after the first trimester, in moderation.
Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Orange, Patchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, Tangerine, Tea Tree, Ylang Ylang
The following oils can be used occasionally but please do not over use. Cedarwood, Cypress, Ginger, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Nutmeg, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint.
These lists of oils were compiled from research from several of the reference books from well-known aromatherapy authors and aroma therapists.
If an essential oil is not on the above list it probably should be avoided until you are no longer pregnant or breast feeding. There may be many other oils safe to use during pregnancy but the above oils should cause no problems during a normal pregnancy.
One more thing about using essential oils when pregnant, some women will have more sensitive skin so avoiding the use of essential oils in lotions or even some massage oils may have to be practiced. After you have delivered and given your body time to heal, you should be able to use essential oils as you did pre-pregnancy.
- Please consult with your physician. Morning Sickness normally occurs in the first three months and so make sure you ask your doctor if he or she feels it is okay for you to use a little of the following two essential oils during your first trimester.
Smelling a little Peppermint may take off the edge of a queasy stomach.
Ginger is also a well-known herbal remedy for upset stomach (think about Ginger ale) and so the essential oil has helped other pregnant mothers too. Both of these oils can be safely used in small amounts (inhaled only) even in the first trimester.
Every pregnant woman at some time during her pregnancy will have a backache. The ever-expanding abdomen creates a lot of stress on not only the abdomen but also the back. Enlarging breasts can cause upper back pain too.
The muscles are growing and stretching too and if the expectant mother is standing for long periods on her feet, too much the weight of the baby will cause her balance to shift and the back muscles will try to compensate. They may tire easily and cramps and aching muscles will result.
Now is the time to have some Massage lotion or oil available so the expectant father can help relieve the discomfort.
Also learning how to rub the back while the pregnant mother is on her side is important. As during labor, if the labor is more in the back, massaging the back will be most welcome by the mother to be.
Lavender - 5 drops
Ginger - 2 drops
Roman Chamomile - 2 drops
1 ounce carrier oil mixed in a bottle and massage on the back as needed.
Lavender - 5 drops
Roman Chamomile - 2 drops
Frankincense 2 drops
Eucalyptus - 1 drop
carrier oil 1 ounce
As your pregnancy progresses many women will begin to retain unwanted fluids. Notably it will show in her hands and feet. You won't need to be on your feet very long. Your legs and feet will swell. Many women experience swelling in the hands too.
To help with swelling, elevate the affected limbs as much as possible. Also a light massage oil or lotion with the following essential oils.
Use no more than 10 drops total per 1 ounce of lotion or oil. Choose up to three of the following oils to mix with your lotion or oil; Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Patchouli, Petitgrain
When applying these to the swollen limbs always massage lightly and towards the heart.
to ease discomfort, and promote relaxation
The big day finally arrives. You are nervous, anxious and the contractions are getting stronger and more uncomfortable. Several essential oils will help you to relax and to relax those around you. Everyone is excited.
We have a couple of birthing centers and women's health centers that have used the following massage blend to help their mother's during labor. They have reported to us that the expectant parents and others in attendance enjoyed this blend. Not only did it help the mother, but all those in the room were also put more at ease.
The added light scent was very welcome and added to the wonderful moment.
Sunflower oil or carrier oil of your choice - 1 ounce
Lavender - 8 drops
Neroli - 3 drops
Rose 5% - 3 drops
Ylang Ylang - 1 drop
Blend all together and use as a massage oil during labor. Do not massage any area that would be exposed to the baby once it arrives – i.e. the breasts or nipple area. Essential oils do not taste good and you certainly do not want your baby to taste essential oils if you should choose to breastfeed right after delivery.
Although this is a very nice blend to use while in labor, anyone can use it anytime. This is a nice relaxing, calming blend and would make a great body massage for most anyone.
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