Can you use essential oils in pregnancy?
Essential Oils can actually be very supportive in pregnancy, many women naturally become more connected to their body and more considerate and caring of themselves at this time – so using essential oils can be a lovely way to nurture and support through out this precious cycle.
There are important cautions to be observed when using essential oils anyway and a few more during pregnancy so I have written this blog to ensure you use them safely and confidently.
Professionals are advised not to treat during the first tri-mester in training, I’m sure this is because miscarriage is so common during this period and because there are cautions with using essential oils, therefore it may be simpler and safer to take them out of the equation. I suspect most people are exposed to millions more harmful products than essential oils through out their day but I would still err on the side of caution and avoid them in the initial stages unless you have support from an experienced professional and feel 100% confident.
Below are the most useful ways I have used essential oils with clients… (use the links at the end for instructions on how to make balms, creams, massage blends & roller ball blends).
- Which Essential Oils?
Some essential oils are contraindicated in pregnancy and should not be used. Those mentioned in this blog are safe to use but you should ensure you use a trustworthy source*. Those that are suitable must be used at a much lower dilution as they are absorbed through the skin and as with most things you do during pregnancy, can have an affect on the baby too
Essential Oils should always be diluted before skin application. In pregnancy I usually go with 0.25-0.5% but 1% is the maximum dilution I would use. The scent may be quite delicate but this is more than enough to be effective. Click to view a chart showing how many drops to use.
- Nausea & Morning Sickness
Essential Oils: I use a blend of cardamom, spearmint & neroli – you could use a mix of these or on their own depending on which scents you like, many women become hypersensitive to smell during pregnancy. All three are soothing & calming to the digestive system & their scent not too intense. You could also try simply lemon essential oil, the fresh, clean scent can also help.
Use: An inhaler stick or roller ball bottle is most practical for this blend as you can carry it around and breath in or apply it whenever you feel to, whether it is to avoid the feeling of sickness or to soothe it when you do feel it.
- Stretch Marks
Essential Oils: Lavender, roman chamomile and mandarin with a base of rosehip and calendula carrier oils. The essential oils are all great for skin care but remember to ensure you get pure Lavender Oil with the Latin name Lavandula angustifolia*.
Use: A massage oil, balm or cream would work best in this case, I would suggest which ever you like the feel of most because consistency is key in nourishing your skin at this time – if you love using it you’re more likely to do so everyday. You can start application when ever you notice that your tummy is beginning to grow, check out the blog How to make a Stretch Mark Balm for more details on making and using this.
- Back Ache
Essential Oils: Back pain and ache is common especially during the later stages of pregnancy along with various other aching body parts so using a massage oil or balm with lavender and chamomile essential oil would help to ease this.
Use: It is not usually appropriate or comfortable to lie on your tummy to receive a back massage, I have done them with a client lying on their side, or seated –which ever is most comfortable for you. ‘Some doctors specifically recommend that pregnant women sleep on the left side. Because your liver is on the right side of your abdomen, lying on your left side helps keep the uterus off that large organ. Sleeping on the left side also improves circulation to the heart and allows for the best blood flow to the fetus, uterus, and kidneys.’ https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/sleep-during-pregnancy.html
- Tired Feet
A foot massage with a cooling aloe gel mixed with spearmint (not peppermint as it is much stronger so avoid this) or lavender to ease and refresh tired weary feet (Lavandula angustifolia).
- Oedema/ Water Retention
Essential Oil: Geranium essential oil can help with water retention.
Use: In a cream, balm or massage oil to apply to the affected area can be supportive.
Essential Oil: Geranium essential oil has a balancing effect on the endocrine system so can be very supportive through out pregnancy.
Use: See blog on How to Use Geranium Essential Oil to Support Women’s Health.
- Inducing Labour
Many people ask me about using essential oils to help induce labour. Although I would advise letting things unfold naturally, myrrh oil is a uterine tonic and so can be used to prepare for the birth but not during the rest of the pregnancy. I would wait for the due date to pass and use in a massage oil around your bump.
Something practical and easy to use is a floral water, you can spritz this on your face and across your body – it’s very gentle – much more so than essential oils and has a refreshing and calming effect – rose water is my favourite but you could use lavender or neroli. It also has the added benefit of calming others in the room and cleansing the atmosphere which is desirable, especially if you are in a hospital setting.
- *Lavender Oil in Pregnancy
When it comes to lavender there is some concern about its use, but ‘Lavandula angustifolia‘ is safe to use –some other types of lavender oil have a higher camphor content. It’s important to use a trustworthy source of essential oil because some can be adulterated and mixed with synthetic products or mixed with cheaper lavender oils which are higher in camphor.
All of the products mentioned can be purchased as bespoke blends made especially for you. Please get in touch if you have any concerns or queries or would like personal support and remember to continue to care and nurture yourself just as much as your baby.