Pregnancies are one of the most rewarding and cherished moments of a person’s life, but for many the joys of pregnancy are often overshadowed by the string of unsavory symptoms that come along with it. From headaches, to acne and back pain, this most magical time of their lives could also be their most painful and stress inducing. And with all the caution that comes with carrying a child, it’s good to have some safe alternatives for relieving uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy.
Essential oils have been safely used for centuries to alleviate the different symptoms that come with pregnancy. Today we will look at some of these essential oils and the different ways they can be utilized to ease stress, anxiety and other symptoms5 during and after pregnancy.
How safe is it to use essential oils during pregnancy
As broadscale studies are yet to be conducted, data is limited on the uses and effects of essential oils. Therefore it is best to avoid them altogether during the first three months of the pregnancy when the fetus is barely developed and quite vulnerable.
The use of aromatherapy during pregnancy requires caution, like any other form of treatment. Always consult your ObGyn/healthcare provider before administering any alternative treatments for your symptoms, even after the first trimester.
The Holy Grail of essential oils, Levander has been used throughout the centuries for many different purposes and can be used to mitigate quite a few symptoms that come with pregnancy.
Pregnancy undoubtedly has its joys, but not everything is rainbows and sunshine. For most mums, sleep deprivation starts during pregnancy when anxiety and stress levels are high and the discomfort that comes with carrying a child sets in. Levander essential oil has calming properties is therefore very effective in promoting good sleep.
A study conducted in 2018 also found that using Levander oil during the active labor stage reduced labor pain.
Levander essential oil is also very effective in combating morning sickness. You can simply add a few drops to a cotton ball and smell it to alleviate nausea. As mentioned before, it is extremely important to get the green from your Healthcare provider before trying out aromatherapy or any other alternative treatment.
Try adding a few drops of Levander essential oil and water into a mist spray bottle. Shake well and spritz on to your pillows for a relaxing slumber or you can add a few drops to your oil diffuser and let the ambient smell disperse across your room.
2. Tea Tree
Tea tree oil is very versatile and is used for a plethora of purposes due to its anti-bacterial, antifungal, and Antiviral properties. Tea tree oil is highly sought after for its ability to cure various skin conditions. Many people use it to make their own DIY facewashes, mouthwash and even hand sanitizers.
Tea tree oil, like many other essential oils can cause skin irritations and so on if not used properly. And pregnancy demands extra care with regards to what you are putting on your skin so be sure to use the correct concentrations and always use a good carrier oil with the permission of your ObGyn (We will list down some good carrier oils at the end of this article).
As you may know, pregnancy comes with a bunch of well and lesser known symptoms. Acne breakouts are a well reported symptom. But having to put off products with amazing active ingredients such as salicylic acid, retinoid and retinoic acid due to concerns about them potentially being harmful to your baby, you are not left with much choice. However, you can opt for pregnancy safe options like tea tree oil, that can combat skin conditions such as acne after your first trimester is over.
Remember to only use this topically and not ingest it as it maybe harmful to your baby. A recommendation posted in Healthline says to “Dilute tea tree oil in a gentle skin care ingredient like pure aloe vera gel. Follow the dilution rules above — one drop of tea tree oil for every teaspoon of aloe vera gel. This blend makes an antibacterial, cooling, and moisturizing gel to help soothe pregnancy acne.”
Make sure to patch test and avoid broken skin or open acne lesions as it may cause a bad reaction.
3. Rose Oil
A study conducted in the Iran Red Crescent Medical Journal studied the effects of Aromatherapy (Referrence 2) with rose oil and a warm footbath on women in the first stage of labor. It found that the rose oil footbath was highly effective in lowering anxiety levels in these expectant mothers. Labor is surely one of the most anxiety and stress inducing parts of pregnancy so it helps to know that there are safe mediums to help with that.
Lower back pain is another common complaint by pregnant women. Surely, the added weight of another growing human and all your internal organs rearranging must take a toll. A study published in the Journal of Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine in 2017 studied the effects of rose oil on 120 pregnant women with pregnancy related lower-back pain. It concluded that rose oil used with a carrier oil (Almond oil) considerably reduced lower-back pain in the subjects. You can also pair it with carrier oils such as coconut or jojoba if you like.
You can also use rose oil with a carrier oil postpartum to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and to boost healing.
Do note that it is highly important to dilute any essential oil being used topically with a carrier oil. The recommended ratio is 1%, which means using 1 drop of oil per teaspoon of carrier oil or up to 4 drops in a diffuser.
It is advised to avoid essential oils during the first trimester altogether, but for some, morning sickness stretches way beyond the first 12 weeks.
Peppermint oil is derived from the leaves and flowers of the peppermint plant. It is widely used in oral hygiene products such as toothpaste and mouthwash as well as gum.
A study conducted in the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing in 2014 evaluated the effects of peppermint aromatherapy for Postoperative Nausea/ or Vomiting (PONV). This small study concluded that peppermint oil when inhaled, was conducive in PONV relief.
Peppermint oil is highly debated amongst experts and a lot are adamant peppermint oil should be avoided altogether by pregnant women regardless of the trimester, so be sure to confirm with your healthcare provider before you opt for peppermint aromatherapy and keep in mind to never ingest it.
Chamomile essential oil has many amazing benefits. There are two main types of chamomile extract and each has its own benefits to give. The first type is the Roman Chamomile extract. It comes as no surprise that Roman chamomile was used to aid soldiers in ancient Rome, to give them courage during times of war. Roman Chamomile oil is extremely relaxing and inhaling a few drops on a cotton ball is sure to calm those perinatal nerves. You can also add a few drops to your diffuser for a calm-inducing aromatherapy session.
Headaches are another extremely uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy. Many people are advised against or are hesitant to take pain medication for severe headaches during pregnancy. According to a 2014 study ,topical application of German chamomile extract in sesame oil was very effective in relieving migraine headaches in the subjects. Always remember to dilute the essential oil appropriately as they are very strong on their own. You can pair chamomile oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and use it to massage your scalp for some relaxation, who doesn’t love a good head massage?
Good sleep is a luxury most parents cannot afford and for most, it starts out during pregnancy. Your baby kicking your ribcage every five minutes doesn’t help either. Add to that all the pregnancy induced stress and anxiety that come to haunt you the minute you lay down to rest your achy back, how will you ever get a minute of down time?
Ylang-Ylang flower is a sweet smelling aromatic flower native to Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia and can even be found abundantly in the Maldives. A singular flower can encompass a whole room with its beautiful fragrance and you can observe many people adorn their hair and living spaces with Ylang-Ylang flowers in these regions.
Ylang-Ylang oil is very effective in uplifting the mood and is often used to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It has the ability to boost relaxation and help with a good night’s sleep.
Carriers for oil topical application
Pregnancy is an extremely vulnerable time so it is very important to stick to the rules when taking alternative treatments.
Discuss with your healthcare provider and make sure they give the okay before using any type of essential oil for aromatherapy.
Only use essential oils after the first trimester is over as most major organ development takes place within the first 12 weeks.
Always follow proper dilution guidelines and use a good carrier oil
Patch test for topical application and do not apply over broken skin
Always check for correct dosage.
Do not ingest.