Aromatherapy in Pregnancy

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aromatherapy: aro·ma·ther·a·py - noun - The use of volatile plant oils, including essential oils, for psychological and physical well-being.

The principle of aromatherapy has been practised for thousands of years starting with the Ancient Chinese and Egyptians whose use of scent and oils is well documented.  Though the use of aromatherapy has continued well into our time, recent interest has refueled the use of essential oils for therapeutic, cosmetic, fragrant and spiritual use.

In the early days of my pregnancy, I asked good friend and qualified Holistic Aromatherapist, Gillian Joseph for some advice on how to aromatherpay could benefit me.  (Thank you Gill).  The following advice is for women with no history of miscarriage and no health problems.

Here are a few ideas that might help relax and invigorate you during your brand-new, exciting and wonderful pregnancy. 

One of my favourite blends during pregnancy is petitgrain and ylang ylang. It's such a "summer"-feeling aroma, really uplifting and great after a long day or when you just need a lift. As another plus-point, neither oil is particularly expensive (petitgrain being known in the trade as "poor man's neroli"), which is a benefit for broke lassies like me!

For a safe and wonderful pregnancy massage, blend 1 drop each of petitgrain and ylang ylang oils with 10ml (sorry, I work in the new-fangled measurement for work stuff!) of a carrier oil such as grapeseed or sweet almond oil. You could even use olive oil, but it's fairly sticky and has an aroma that tries to compete with the aromatics. If you're using food-type oil, sunflower is a better bet, but cold-pressed specific massage oil would be the best idea.

If adding the oils to a bath, make a mixture of one drop of each oil to 5ml (one teaspoon) of the carrier oil (i.e. the grapeseed, etc.), run the bath first, close the doors, add the mixture to the bath and swirl around. Get yourself in, lie back, and try to breathe in the aroma deeply.

For tummy aches and pains, or pains anywhere else as well as deep relaxation, try the same dilution of lavender and Roman chamomile. There are a few types of chamomile oil, but look for the Latin botanical name Anthemis Nobilis and you've got the right stuff.

For morning sickness (or as I had it, morning/afternoon/night/time-I-hadn't-previously-recognised sickness), you can pop one drop of peppermint oil onto a tissue and place it within sniffing distance. Don't take massages or baths with peppermint during pregnancy, however, as it's a bit stimulating when applied directly to the skin.

There's some debate in the professional aromatherapy world on the best combinations of oils for pregnant women. These are my opinions, but they definitely err on the side of caution as regards safety and effects. 

**Use this advice at your own discretion**

For more information on aromatherapy's healing advantage, check out AromaWeb.
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Jana said...

Interesting that you posted on this topic today, Sarah -- just yesterday I was reading up on which essential oils are safe/unsafe during pregnancy. (Because I noticed almost all the EOs I had bought/could find had "avoid if pregnant" on the label). I noticed your aromatherapist's advice didn't include any information about safety... I found these two links to be interesting:

I was interested because I was making some homemade deodorant and hand soap using EOs, and was hoping to be able to continue to use these products during a (hopefully upcoming) future pregnancy. I couldn't find much on the safety of EOs in a pretty well diluted topical form, as most sites discuss aromatherapy uses.

Sarah said...

I don't think you will find anything concrete on the topic of aromatherapy during pregnancy as the the results of research appear to be very unclear.

This advice err's on the side of caution, for a healthy pregnancy with no history of miscarriage. This is ONE aromatherapists opinion and should be taken as such...and I am sure you will find varying opinions within the professional community.

Thanks for pointing the safety issue out to me, as I thought it was clear in the article...but apparently not :)

PS The massage oil worked wonderfully for me during the yucky first trimester.

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