Essential Oils and Pregnancy

There is a lot written about the use of essential oils when pregnant and it can be very confusing.

Most other products have warnings and will use low dilutions of essential oils however if you are mixing up blends at home its important to know what you are doing.

What you apply to your skin and also what you breathe enters your body so it is very important to avoid breathing in toxic substances like air fresheners, paint fumes and perfume etc. and also to be conscious of how skincare products affect your body.

I find it interesting that a search on the internet goes wild about what essential oils to use and not use during pregnancy however mineral oil and many other toxic chemicals don’t get as much airtime. A certain brand of stretch mark/scar oil is basically mineral oil with BHT, fragrance (chemical/phalates) and even some added colour. All toxic but it holds itself out as a great stretch mark cure and they don’t say avoid these toxins if pregnant!

Essential oils are very concentrated plant extracts. Did you know that it take approximately 3000 lemons to make 1L of essential oil? That’s about 3 lemons per ml and there are 35 drops in a ml of lemon oil roughly 11 drops of oil per lemon! So they are concentrated and powerful in their therapeutic benefits as well. As long as you do your research and take certain precautions many essential oils can be very supportive.

There are several things you should understand first:

Take extra caution during the first trimester

The first three months, especially the first three weeks, are a time of rapid development for your baby. It is important to take extra care at this stage regarding what you put on your body. Some people avoid essential oil use altogether.

Using aromatherapy can be very healing and supportive during pregnancy

Such things as nausea and digestive issues, calming anxiety, sleep disturbances and easing aches and pains.

  1. A safe way to use essential oils is by diffusing them into the iar so they are absorbed by the olfactory system (i.e. thru the nose). Essential oils like lavender and frankincense are great for developing a peaceful mood and to help reduce stress. If you have a cold Eucalyptus works well as a decongestant. This is a great way to use oils.
  2. When applying oils to your body the general recommendation when pregnant is not greater than a 1% dilution, or 1 drop of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil.

Do some reading

Aromatherapy can be a great benefit during pregnancy and assists in minimising some of the discomfort and aches. There are some wonderful books available that detail different oils and blends that can assist with different issues that may arise like back pain, morning sickness, stretch marks, constipation, nausea to name a few. one of my all time favourite books is by valarie ann worwood – The Fragrant Pharmacy. She outlines many blends and tips for not only pregnancy but for babies and children as well.

Your skin

Pregnancy is a time of great hormone changes and added strains on the body. Changes occur in the sebum (oil) production of the skin, so your skin may appear greasier or some flaky patches may occur and certain diluted oil blends can assist with this.
During pregnancy you may develop stretch marks, changes in skin colour (pigmentation), acne, broken veins, chafing, sensitive or itchy skin.

Some products, soaps, creams and essential oils may suddenly cause irritation where they didn’t before you were pregnant. Always listen to your body and discontinue use if this occurs.

In some circumstances, it’s best to avoid using essential oils altogether. Don’t use any oils if:

  1. You have a history of miscarriage
  2. You have had any vaginal bleeding in this pregnancy
  3. You have epilepsy
  4. You have heart problems
  5. You have diabetes, blood clotting problems, or have thyroid, liver or kidney disease

Oils to avoid during pregnancy

The following list is from robert tisserands book “essential oil safety – a guide for health care professionals’. He says to avoid the following oils:

Pennyroyal, Balsamite, Camphor (white), Ho Leaf, Hyssop, Indian Dill, Parsley leaf, Parsleyseed, sage (Spanish) and Savin.

He also cautions the use of the following oils:

Annual wormwood, Buchu, Cangerana, Lavendula Stoechas, Lavender cotton, oakmoss, Perilla, Rue and Treemoss,

Luckily many of these are not commonly used or available!

As your skin may become more sensitive some oils may irritate so always listen closely to your body. If at any time you notice that using an causes any discomfort at all then discontinue use. Our Love Your Body Oil contains Nutmeg oil and even though it’s at a very low dilution it may cause skin irritation in some people. It’s important to patch test.

If you have any question about using essential oils, seek out the guidance of a holistic healthcare practitioner.

Oh and congratulations!! x

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