Challenges for pregnant moms-to-be
During this hormonal and emotionally sensitive time in their lives, pregnant moms-to-be suffer from a range of niggles like nausea, headaches, water retention, stuffy nose, insomnia, and fatigue, yet are faced with the challenge of trying to figure out which essential oils are safe versus those that are unsafe.
The myth is that pregnant ladies should not use essential oils at all during their pregnancy, as used incorrectly they may cause miscarriage. Yet what many moms-to-be are not aware of is that there are many oils that are indeed safe to use. The main questions should be how these oils are used with careful consideration when it comes to quantities.
For topical use of essential oils during pregnancy always stick to the safe oils list – citrus oils are included here and are some of the best. These include neroli (calming), orange, mandarin (both balancing), grapefruit, and petitgran (revitalising). Together they help maintain balance for tired and run down mums. After the first trimester it is safe to use lavender, geranium, rose, and jasmine.
With regards to inhaling, pregnant mum’s can use most oils in smaller doses but should take care to avoid over-inhalation, which could lead to a small amount of the essential oils being absorbed. However one’s body is the best gauge, with most pregnant ladies unable to handle many strong smells anyway.
Lemon and peppermint inhaled may help for nausea in early pregnancy, whilst Eucalyptus and tea tree can be inhaled for blocked noses, congested chests and other cold or flu symptoms. Peppermint and lavender are great for relief from mild headaches. Moderation is imperative.
Camomile and neroli are wonderfully calming and helpful for sleep during pregnancy, whilst massage using safe oils in a carrier oil base is very soothing, especially around the hips, belly and lower back. Nourishing oil such as rosehip can help in the reduction and prevention of stretch marks, and also for facial pigmentation caused by hormonal fluctuations and can be applied sparingly to specific areas.
The rule of thumb for using essential oils during pregnancy is to halve the quantity that you would normally use.
Oils to avoid during pregnancy
Because there is not much evidence around essential oils being harmful during pregnancy, most of the avoidance of essential oils during pregnancy is due to caution rather than proven adverse effects. As more research is carried out, the use of oils in minute quantities is shown to be beneficial as a first line of treatment in common ailments
Other stimulating oils such as rosemary, juniper, and ginger may promote detoxification so for that reason they are not suggested during pregnancy.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION WHEN USING ESSENTIAL OILS DURING PREGNANCY
Doryce Sher, founder of the Aromatic Apothecary brand, points out the following:
Because essential oils are highly concentrated, they are quite powerful, so it is important to use them sparingly. Here are a few tips when using essential oil during pregnancy:
- If using neat oils, only use one drop of essential oil at a time.
- You can add drops of the oil to a burner but do not leave it on for longer than 10 minutes or 15 minutes in each hour. If you leave it on for too long, the smell can be overpowering and could make you feel nauseous.
- It’s best to start using essential oils once you are past the first trimester. If you use them in the first trimester, always consult an aromatherapist who is trained in treating pregnant women or contact Aromatic Apothecary for advice
Do not use essential oils if you have the following:
- A history of miscarriage
- Vaginal bleeding
- Heart problems
- Blood clotting problems
- Thyroid, liver or kidney disease