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, aches and pains and finding comfort with plant medicine can help ease some of these pregnancy symptoms.
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 you feeling fatigued, nauseated and overwhelmed. Whether you are a frequent essential oil user or you are interested in using them during your pregnancy and birth, it is really important to take in as much information about these powerful and potent plant materials. Safety and education is always extremely important when using essential oils, especially during pregnancy.
During this three part series, I discuss some of the benefits of using essential oils during each stage of pregnancy, which oils are safe to use and some of my own recipes and tips I used during my pregnancy which I found really helped me.
*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 my pregnancy. I knew the experience was going to be hard, but I had no idea it would take me on such an emotional roller coaster! My first trimester was not an easy one. I knew that maintaining a positive mindset and keeping my stress levels in check were really important, now more than ever. I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for these wonderful oils and trusted self care practices to help calm my mind I don’t know how I'd have managed!
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):
* Spanish Sage
* Clove Bud
* 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 was 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 the 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 8-9 weeks gestation. The essential oils I used during the first trimester were Lavender, Mandarin, Neroli and Sandalwood (and a couple of breaths of Peppermint on a few occasions). All of my blends were diluted to 0.5% which is considered safe during Pregnancy.
A few recipes I used and loved during the first trimester:
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 use sea salts, candles, essential oils, crystals, dried fruits and flowers – it’s my sacred self care practice.
A couple of tbsp of pink Himalayan sea salt
Fractionated Coconut Oil
1 drops of Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia)
(Mix sea salt, carrier oil and essential oils together in a cup and pour in)
Crystals to use: either (or all) Amethyst, Hematite, Moonstone, Lapis Lazuli.
Heart Chakra Bath
A couple of tbsp of pink Himalayan seas salt
Fractionated Coconut Oil
1 drops of Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
Crystals to use: either (or all) Rose Quartz, Green Jasper, Green Adventurine.
Muscle Aches and Pain Bath
A couple of tbsp of Epsom salt
Fractionated Coconut Oil
1 drop Sandalwood (Santalum album)
Crystals to use: either (or all) Selenite, Amethyst, Bloodstone, Black Tourmaline.
Baby Bump blend – 1% Dilution
I began using this blend from around 12 weeks gestation. 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
1 drops of Tangerine/Mandarin (Citrus reticulate, C. nobilis)
Stress & Anxiety Blend
Mandarin and Neroli are fantastic oils to help manage stress and anxiety. I preferred to diffuse this blend. Blend a drop of each oil per 100ml water. Diffuse for 30 minutes, then take a 30-45 minute break before diffusing again. Please note: whilst diffusing essential oils always make sure the room is well ventilated.
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.
Morning sickness - Ooofff, its not pretty! I suffered with pretty strong bouts of nausea from around 5 – 13 weeks. I really struggled to find foods that appealed to me during this time and didn't really have an appetite.
In those moments of feeling nauseous the only relief that worked for me was to put one drop of Peppermint oil onto a tissue and inhale the scent. Eating small and often helped too, however that's not the same for everyone!
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.
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 essential oil usage during pregnancy and/or you're interested in having a custom blend made for you to use, I'd love to be of service. Please shoot me a message via the 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.