Aromatherapy and Pregnancy
A Guest Post by Claire Barns
Claire is a Clinical Aromatherapist and Reflexologist. She owns the Reflexology Barn. She completed her aromatherapy training with Winchester School of Aromatherapy and is a member of the international Federation of Aromatherapists. She offers both aromatherapy treatments and a bespoke blending service.
Congratulations if you are reading this blog and have just found out that you are pregnant. It is an incredibly exciting yet for some a slightly nervous time. During this time, you may be looking for more natural ways to look after yourself and may find yourself drawn to using aromatherapy oils and blends.
Aromatherapy has been around for many thousands of years and is fantastic for helping to support our wellbeing. But it is very important to remember that just because something is natural it does not mean it is always safe. Here are some golden rules to remember if you wish to use essential oils whilst you are pregnant:
Do not apply neat essential oils to the skin,
Do not ingest any essential oils,
Keep your essential oil dilutions low when blending
Check with your Midwife/GP before you start using essential oils
If you are unsure about which essential oils are safe for you to use then consult with a qualified clinical aromatherapist who will be able to advise you.
During your first trimester it is a good idea not to start covering your skin in essential oil blends, however you can try diffusing 2-3 drops in either a diffuser or a candle burner. Mandarin is an incredibly gentle yet effective oil to use during these first few weeks as it can help to reduce stress, ease insomnia and is a brilliant tonic for your tummy if you are suffering with morning sickness.
During the second and third trimester you will be able to use a larger selection of essential oils, however again if you have any medical conditions please do check with your medical team and a qualified clinical aromatherapist. Here are some suggestions of oils you may like to try. A top tip is that if you are not enjoying the smell, then your body may not need that oil:
For feelings of anxiety and stress you may wish to try using some Frankincense, Bergamot, Mandarin or Sandalwood.
Insomnia then you may wish to try Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang and Lavender oil.
Back, neck and shoulder ache then you may wish to try Lavender, Lemon and Sweet Marjoram.
Heartburn then you may wish to try Roman Chamomile and Sandal wood oils
(Please note some of these oils do have contra-indications, so please do check you are safe to use them.)
Certain oils such as Clary Sage and Jasmine should be avoided until you reach 40 weeks gestation. My aromatherapy teacher had great success with a blend of Clary Sage, Jasmine and Bergamot mixed into a carrier oil and then massaged in around your bump and lower back every 3-4 hours once her clients had reached their due date. Sandalwood and Cedarwood oil can help support your mental strength during labour. Lavender oil can be used to help reduce mental anxiety and is also known for its analgesic properties. Neroli, Bergamot, Mandarin and Rose oil can help with relaxation in between the contractions.
During your pregnancy you should keep your aromatherapy blends incredibly low in dilution. This means only placing 2-3 drops in a diffuser or candle burner. If you are making a massage blend you only need 2 drops of essential oil per 10ml of carrier oil. If using essential oils in the bath, then these need to be mixed with a carrier oil before being added to the water again using 2 drops of oil per 10ml of carrier oil.
Aromatherapy oils can be beautiful to use during your pregnancy, although all the conflicting information can seem incredibly confusing. Once you know which oils are safe for you to use this does help, but just remember if you have any medical conditions at all, even things like high or low blood pressure, then please do seek advice.
Claire Barns MAR, MIFPA