There are many ways to incorporate aromatherapy into your daily routine during pregnancy. Essential oils have many benefits during pregnancy; however, it is important to know which oils to use and how to use them safely.
Benefits of Aromatherapy During Pregnancy
Aromatherapy has many potential therapeutic benefits in pregnancy. Often the most sought after use of essential oils is to help relieve morning sickness. Aromatherapy can also help reduce aches and pains from joints and ligament stretching during pregnancy.
Certain essential oils can also help fatigue and reduce pregnancy stress. Other oils work well as room fresheners and for massages. Some aromatherapy oils are known to help mothers who have urinary tract infections. Many essential oils are great moisturizers for the skin. Some women may benefit from using aromatherapy for pain relief during labor or even for breastfeeding soreness.
How Aromatherapy is Used in Pregnancy
Many essential oils can be used in the following ways:
- in the bath – add 2-4 drops to a warm bath
- during a shower – add 1-2 drops into a washcloth, loofah or sponge for an aromatic shower
- in massage oils – a drop is added to a carrier oil before massage
- in a compress – 2-4 drops of essential oil is added to 300 ml (1/2 pint) of water; mix, lay a washcloth on the top and place on the affected part.
- inhaled – 2-4 drops in a pot of hot water, cover with a towel and inhale; or place 1 drop on a tissue and sniff when needed.
- to purity the air or scent a room – place 2-6 drops in a bowl of hot water or use with an atomizer or burner, light bulb ring or cotton ball placed near a radiator.
For specific recipes and blends to make your own massage creams, compresses and the like, refer to a qualified aromatherapist or books on aromatherapy during pregnancy.
Best Pregnancy Essential Oils
- Lavender – This is a favorite pregnancy oil to use for aches in the legs and to help with headaches. It is commonly used as a room freshener during labor.
- Neroli – This essential oil is very expensive (about $20 for a 2ml bottle), but works wonderfully for the skin and as a room freshener.
- Ylang-ylang – This oils has relaxing and restoring properties and can be used therapeutically since it help lower blood pressure.
- Lemon – Used best in limited quantities in a burner to treat morning sickness.
- Tea Tree – This oil can be used in limited amounts directly on the skin to treat cuts, surface wounds, pimples and inhaled for colds.
- Sandalwood – Recommended also in small quantities, sandalwood is used to treat urinary tract infections.
- Peppermint – This essential oil is popular to inhale to help reduce morning sickness.
Best Carrier Essential Oils for Pregnancy
Carrier oils are used to dilute the essential oil in order to use it safely. According to Allison England in her book, Aromatherapy for Mother and Baby, here is a list of some of the best carrier oils and their uses:
- Avocado Oil – This oil is a good carrier oil to use as a moisturizer to blend with other oils as a treatment for stretch marks.
- Sweet Almond Oil – This works well for the skin and is gentle enough for baby massage.
- Jojoba – This oils is great even for people with sensitive skin and works well for facial oils.
- Aloe Vera – Often used in many skin and hair products, aloe vera can be blended with other oils or used on its own.
How to Use Aromatherapy in Pregnancy Safely
There are several basic guidelines for how to use aromatherapy safely. Do not put undiluted essential oils directly on the skin or in the mouth. Be sure to read ingredient labels on the bottles of essential oils or carrier oils if you have allergies to fragrances or oils of any type.
If you plan to use aromatherapy during labor and want to give birth in the tub (waterbirth), do not put any essential oil in the tub since it can get in the baby’s eyes. Be sure to always follow specific recipe guidelines for aromatherapy or consult with a qualified aromatherapist with any questions.