As if I don’t speak enough about essential oils on here, I’ve found yet another reason to tout their magnificent capabilities – this time, for pregnancy and labor! During my last pregnancy, I didn’t use essential oils at all, although I’d read briefly about the benefits of aromatherapy for labor. This time around, however, I’ve already used them quite a bit, and I’m only half way through this pregnancy!
Essential oils can be used during all stages of pregnancy – from that dreaded first trimester with its morning sickness and fatigue, all the way through to labor and delivery, and even post-partum care! For now, we’ll just focus on pregnancy and leave the labor/deliver and post-partum care for a later post.
Disclaimer: Before we go any further, it’s important to note that essential oils are very concentrated substances and should be used with caution. Although essential oils are completely safe when used properly, many should not be used during pregnancy. The essential oils I mention in this post should only be used if you have a low risk pregnancy, with no history of complications like miscarriage, vaginal bleeding, heart problems, or diabetes. That being said, I’ve done my own research and I encourage you to do the same before deciding if essential oils are for you. And as always, please consult your midwife or doctor before using any of these oils for any of the reasons stated in this post.
Essential Oils for Pregnancy
Stretch Marks and Itchy Skin
Even if you’re blessed not to get many stretch marks during pregnancy, most women do get that irritating itchy skin on their growing belly. Regardless, the tender skin on the belly, butt, and thighs is especially sensitive since it’s constantly stretching and expanding. To help soothe and nourish the dry, itchy skin in those areas, dilute 1-2 drops of mandarin or neroli oil into 1-2 teaspoons of a carrier oil (I like coconut oil or sweet almond oil), and massage into the skin as a daily moisturizer.
Morning Sickness & Headache
The nausea and queasiness that comes along with the first trimester is no joke! Along with other natural morning sickness remedies, essential oils of lemon or lavender can also help. You can either open up the bottle and just smell it, or you may choose to dilute 1-2 drops into 1-2 teaspoons of a carrier oil and massage it into your temples or the back of your neck. I’ve done both and I think I prefer just smelling it straight from the bottle.
Rest and Relaxation
If you can find a moment to take a nice, quiet bath, do it! A soothing bath can be so good for your emotional well-being during this time, and adding some essential oils to the bath water can really help boost the relaxing and de-stressing properties of the bath. With a toddler at home, I haven’t gotten a chance to experience this, but I love the sound of this relaxing bath blend – 2 drops of lavender and 1 drop of ylang ylang added to the bath water!
Even if you don’t have the luxury of enjoying a quiet bath, I can’t say enough about the wonders of a good massage. Just 10 minutes is all it takes to really soothe and relax those sore, achy muscles on your back, neck, and legs. Mix 1-2 drops of either lavender, neroli, or bergamot oil into 1-2 teaspoons of a carrier oil and have your partner give you a nice, relaxing massage.
If your prenatal care is under a midwife, chances are you’ve been encouraged to do this towards the end of your pregnancy. Massaging the perineum daily during the last six weeks of pregnancy can help reduce or prevent tearing and an episiotomy. I did this on and off with my first pregnancy, but was only told to use vitamin E oil. But I’ve been reading quite a bit about adding a drop of essential oil to your carrier oil to help with the process, and this university study showed the benefits of using lavender oil for this massage, so I think I’ll give it a try this time around!
Have you ever used essential oils during pregnancy? What are your favorite oils and how did you use them?