Aromatherapy For Pregnancy And Labor – How To Do It And Why You’d Want To!
What is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to improve psychological and physical wellbeing. Aromatherapy is a holistic, complimentary therapy that can be administered through inhalation, topical application and massage.
The essential oils used in aromatherapy have been distilled from aromatic vegetation such as herbs and flowers. Essential oils have been shown to have antimicrobial activity and are also believed to have antiviral, anti fungal, insecticidal and antioxidant properties. They are also thought to act on the brain resulting in a multitude of psychological benefits.
Aromatherapy During Pregnancy
A word of caution
Essential oils have some wonderful benefits during pregnancy. However, there are some oils that you should avoid as they either have a stimulating effect on the uterus, or effect certain organs too strongly for pregnancy. These include angelica, basil, birch, calamintha, cedarwood, celery seed, citronella, clary sage, cypress, jasmine, labdanum, lovage, marjoram, melissa, myrrh, nutmeg, parsley, rosemary, and yarrow.
Some oils that should not be used during the first trimester, especially if there is a risk or history of miscarriage are roman chamomile, geranium, lavender, and rose.
You should also be sure to dilute the oils when using as a topical application. During pregnancy, be sure to use a child’s rather than an adult’s dose to lessen the strength. You will have a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy and a full dose may be overbearing.
Lastly, make sure you are using high quality, true essential oils rather than synthetic or fragrance oils.
Aromatherapy for common pregnancy ailments
Aromatherapy for morning sickness
Ginger and spearmint are safe and effective remedies for nausea. You can either put them in a diffuser, or put 2-3 drops in a tissue and inhale.
Aromatherapy for Oedema (swelling of hands and feet)
If you are suffering from Oedema, soak your hands and feet in a bath with 4-6 drops of either sweet orange, geranium, or grapefruit.
Aromatherapy for Indigestion
Dilute 1 drop of spearmint essential oil in 1 teaspoon of sweet almond oil and massage into the abdomen in clockwise direction.
Aromatherapy for Stress and Insomnia
Pregnancy can be stressful, and it can also be difficult to relax enough to get some sleep. After the first trimester, you can use lavender oil to reduce stress and help you sleep. It’s also a natural analgesic and can help to reduce pain.
Aromatherapy for Congestion
A lot of decongestants are not recommended during pregnancy. Try Eucalyptus oil to relieve the symptoms of respiratory congestion. Eucalyptus oil is also antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory!
Aromatherapy for Heartburn
For immediate relief of heartburn, put one drop of peppermint oil into a glass of almond milk and drink. Always consult a professional before ingesting essential oils.
Aromatherapy for Swelling and Water Retention
Add a drop of grapefruit and lemon/lime to a glass of water. Drink 1-2L of this throughout the day.
Aromatherapy for Stretch Marks
Mis 4 drops each of helichrysum, frankincense, lavender, and the liquid of 6 vitamin E capsules with an ounce of organic coconut oil. After the first trimester, massage onto body morning and night to prevent stretch marks.
Aromatherapy for Hemorrhoids
Mix one drop each of lavender, cypress, and marjoram with 5 drops of geranium and 1 tbsp of organic coconut oil. Apply to the hemorrhoids for quick relief.
Aromatherapy for Yeast Infection
Put a few drops of lavender and tea tree along with 2 tbsp of bath salts into a warm sitz bath and soak for 10 mins.
Aromatherapy During Labor and Birth
Aromatherapy can provide excellent benefits during labor and birth. I personally used lavender inhalation for pain relief and relaxation during labor, and found it helped a lot. Some essential oils you may find beneficial are:
- Lavender – You may already be familiar with lavender as a means of promoting a good night’s sleep. The scent is well-known to aid relaxation and promote calm. The oil is also a painkiller that stimulates circulation and healing and may strengthen contractions
- Clary sage – One of the oils that you should avoid during pregnancy itself, clary sage can strengthen contractions during labour. It’s also a great oil for lifting your spirits and reducing anxiety, but it’s not recommended for use if you are using gas and air
- Neroli – Calms and reassures as well as helping relax. Is also a powerful anti-depressant
- Bergamot – A generally uplifting and refreshing oil
- Chamomile – Soothing and calming, helps to reduce tensions and anxiety
- Jasmine – Acts as a uterine tonic, painkiller and anti-spasmodic. Also known to strengthen contractions and can be used in a compress to aid delivery of the placenta
- Rose – Is a uterine tonic and anti-depressant
- Geranium – Helps breathing and boost the circulation
- Marjoram – A uterine tonic that also aids breathing and can help to lower blood pressure. It is also an effective pain reliever and antispasmodic.
Did you try aromatherapy during pregnancy and birth? Let me know your experience in the comments!
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