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Using Essential Oils During Pregnancy - The First Trimester (Three Part Series)


**Updated October 2020.

You have confirmed pregnancy and now embarking on a whirlwind journey for the next nine months. Pregnancy is full of ups and downs, thoughts and emotions and aches and pains. Finding comfort using aromatic remedies can help ease some of those tough pregnancy symptoms and offer relief to the mental stresses an expectant mama can experience during this time.

There are many changes happening in the body during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Cells are multiplying and hormones are raging which can leave Mama-to-be fatigued, nauseated and overwhelmed. Aromatic remedies offer incredible benefits and can be used during Pregnancy and birth, as long as they are used safely and correctly.

It goes without saying that using essential oils safely is always an important part of Aromatherapy, and this is especially true during Pregnancy. During this three part series, I discuss the benefits of using essential oils during each trimester of pregnancy, safe oils to use, and I also share my own recipes I have used during both of my pregnancies.  

*As always, please make sure you have the go-ahead from your medical practitioner before using essential oils or any of the recipes mentioned in this blog. While I am a Certified Aromatherapy Health Practitioner, I am not a Doctor, therefore I highly recommend you have a discussion with a medical professional first* 

Firstly, essential oils are wonderful to use during pregnancy and birth, and offer incredible benefits.

Essential oils can:

* Help to ease aches and pains

* Relieve nausea and sickness

*  Used during massage and baths

* Help with constipation and other digestive issues

* Offer emotional and mental support 

* Relieve fatigue and/or insomnia

I felt quite anxious during the fist trimester of both of my pregnancies. I knew pregnancy was going to have its tough moments, but I had no idea it would take me on such an emotional roller coaster!

The first trimester with both of my pregnancies were not 'easy' by no means. With both pregnancies I was diagnosed with a Subchorionic Hematoma and experienced quite a bit of bleeding from weeks 4 - 9. I was also extremely sick with my second pregnancy which took the experience to a whole other level! I knew that maintaining a positive mindset and keeping my stress levels in check were really important, so for the first three months it was all about rest and self care.

Safe Oils To Use During Pregnancy

While there are many essential oils which are safe to use during pregnancy (at the recommended dilution rate of 0.5 - 1%), there are a few to stay completely clear from due to their chemical make up and effect on the body. 

The big NO-NO oils during pregnancy are (including but not limited):

 * Hyssop

* Spanish Sage

* Rosemary

* Fennel

* Wintergreen

* Pennyroyal

* Cinnamon

* Clove Bud

* Juniper

* Thyme

* Basil

* Jasmine (until on or past due date)

* Clary Sage (until labour)

There have been many reports written on the safety of essential oils during pregnancy over the years. One of the leading reports in the industry written by Ron Guba published in 2010 called ‘Toxicity Myths – The Actual Risks of Essential Oil Use’. Mr Guba states that apart from a few essential oils there isn’t actually an issue with using essential oils during pregnancy, as long as correct application methods and dilution rates are followed. There are many studies which are still undergoing on this topic.

I take the approach of ‘air on the side of caution’, especially during the first trimester when baby is doing most of its fetal development.

I started using essential oils around 13 weeks gestation, so once I hit the second trimester. As a Certified Aromatherapy Health Practitioner my recommendation is to use very very little - no essential oils during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is due to limited studies on the safety and effects to baby when using essential oils during this time.  

The only essential oil I used during the first trimester was Peppermint. Peppermint is a wonderful digestive aid and offers great relief when nauseous. During those dark, dark moments of extreme sickness during weeks 8-10 of my second pregnancy I would put a drop of Peppermint onto a tissue and take 3-4 deep breaths. This most definitely took the edge of the sickness for a little while. The relief was amazing and helped me through some tough moments of peeling myself off the bathroom floor!  

 Self Care Practices For The First Trimester

Bath

I craved rest during the first trimester of both pregnancies. For me baths are the ultimate self care ritual. It’s a way of connecting to my body, easing tension, aches and pains and using the time to meditate and relax. I used sea salts, candles, crystals, dried fruits and flowers – it is my sacred self care practice. I often added a cup of Himalayan Sea Salts to the bath which was a lovely addition. 

Massage

Baby Bump blend – 1% Dilution

I began using this blend from around 13 weeks gestation (after I had the all clear at the 12 week ultrasound). I applied the blend to my abdomen morning and evening in clockwise circular motions. Massaging the abdomen clockwise aids digestion.

50ml Sweet Almond Oil

50ml Jojoba Oil

5 drops of Tangerine/Mandarin (Citrus reticulate, C. nobilis) and 5 drops of Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia). This dilution rate is just under 1% and is considered safe for second and third trimester. 

Mind

Meditation, gentle yoga when I felt I had the energy and crystals helped to ease my anxiety during this time. 

I found great peace with Blue Onyx crystal (helps to ease a worried mind), Rose Quartz (the quartz of love and heart healing), Moonstone and Unakyte (excellent stones to help strengthen the spiritual connection between Mama and baby). I slept with rose quartz and Unakyte under my pillow and kept Blue Onyx in my pocket throughout the day.

 Fatigue

Managing first trimester fatigue is tough and caffeine is recommended to be kept to a minimum during Pregnancy so reaching for the coffee was out! A drop of Peppermint on a tissue for inhalation helped. I also kept a piece of Citrine in my pocket for an extra energy boost. Early nights and lots of self care helped too. 

 

Recommended Reading

Aromatherapy for Woman by Maggie Tisserand – She has a great chapter on Pregnancy and Postpartum. Ignore the recommendations to ingest the oils - this is not advised. 

Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth and Babies by Stephanie Fritz

Safety of Essential Oils in Pregnancy and Childbirth by Denise Tiran -  This is a kindle book.

 Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood

If you'd like to discuss using essential oils during pregnancy and birth, or you are interested in having a custom blend made I'd love to be of service. Please reach out via contact us form to book a health & consultation appointment.  

Disclaimer: While I’m a Certified Aromatherapy Health Practitioner, I am not a Doctor and would recommend that you talk to your medical practitioner before using essential oils during your pregnancy, especially if you have any medical issues, concerns or underlying illnesses. I use Dr. Robert Tisserand as my main point of reference for essential oil safety. Check out his website www.tisserandinstitute.org/ for a wealth of information on essential oil safety. He has also written some incredible books too. As always I recommend you do as much research as possible before using essential oils, especially during pregnancy. Also be mindful of what you read - i.e, Dr Google isn't an advised source of research.

 

You can read part two of this three blog series - Essential Oils and the Second Trimester here.