Aromatherapy in Pregnancy and Labour – Benefits & Risks
- What Is Aromatherapy?
- Benefits of Aromatherapy in Pregnancy
- How to Use Aromatherapy in Pregnancy?
- Which Aromatherapy Oils Are Safe While Pregnant?
- What are the Risks of Using Aromatherapy While Pregnant?
- Precautions to Be Taken While Using Aromatherapy in Pregnancy?
- How Does Aromatherapy Help in Labour?
- How to Use Aromatherapy in Labour?
- Which Aromatherapy Oils Are More Beneficial for Labour?
Being pregnant is all about being happy. And why not? You are growing a little human inside you who is soon going to be a part of your life. While the feeling of becoming a mother is magical, the physical part of it can often be painful. Swollen feet and an achy back are common problems associated with being pregnant. Many mommies-to-be are resorting to aromatherapy for treating their physical discomfort. However, is aromatherapy safe for pregnant women? What are the essential oils that they can use? Here, we will take a look at the risks and benefits of aromatherapy for pregnant women.
What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy makes use of essential oils derived from flowers and herbs and claims to have a good effect physical and psychological well- being. These oils are usually highly concentrated and have therapeutic chemicals. Essential oils have a pleasant smell and are rejuvenating.
Scientists are not sure how aromatherapy works. It is thought that these essentials oils send some kind of chemical messages to that part of the brain that affects mood and feelings. You either have to breathe in the aroma of the oils or massage them on to your body.
Benefits of Aromatherapy in Pregnancy
There are quite a few benefits of aromatherapy for pregnant women. Some of them include:
1. Relief From Morning Sickness
Aromatherapy can help reduce morning sickness during the first trimester. So, if you are feeling sick during pregnancy, you can take the help of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy for pregnancy nausea is often recommended. Lemon oil and mint oil are the two options you have.
2. Soothes Pregnancy Discomfort
Pregnancy comes with a lot of side-effects, and aromatherapy has helped many women soothe these side-effects. You can use neroli for heartburn or use sweet orange for constipation. Citrus oils like lemon oils are refreshing and known to energise. If you are having trouble sleeping, lavender may help. You can massage these oils on to your skin, add these to your bath water, or use a diffuser or oil burner.
3. Helps You Relax
Spas and massages are very relaxing, and there is no denying that fact. In the same way, an aromatherapy massage during pregnancy can be very relaxing. It can help reduce stress and ease tension. You can use any sweet-smelling oil for this purpose. An aromatherapy massage during pregnancy can help women feel less anxious.
How to Use Aromatherapy in Pregnancy?
It is always better to first test a small quantity on the skin to see if there is any reaction or allergy. Make sure to talk to your gynaecologist as well. Keep your pets out of the room as essential oils can have a fatal reaction on cats and dogs.
1. Mix and Use
Regardless of the essential oil you use, make sure to mix it with a base oil first while using for massaging. Sweet almond and grapeseed oils are two base oils that you can use. Undiluted essential oils in high concentration can be toxic.
2. Using a Vaporiser
A vaporiser with an essential oil should not be used for a long time. Ensure the room is properly ventilated and do not keep the vaporiser on for more than 15 mins in an hour. Otherwise, the scent can become overpowering and cause nausea.
3. Choosing the Right Essential Oil
Do not use any essential oil that you do not know about. This can cause more harm than good for your pregnancy. Do research on which oils are beneficial for you.
Which Aromatherapy Oils Are Safe While Pregnant?
Use Lavender Oil for Relaxation
Lavender is considered to be the queen of essential oils. It has a sweet and soft odour that calms even a racing mind. Lavender oil is known to ease pain during surgery, making it a great option for women who have undergone a C-section. You can use lavender oil with your body wash or soap.
Boost Your Mood Using Citrus Oil
Beat pregnancy and postpartum blues using citrus oils like lemon, lime and mandarin. They are refreshing and energising. These oils are known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Citrus oils do not only boost your mood, but also boost the immune system. Eating a lot of citrus fruits offer a lot of health benefits and are a great way to supply vitamin C to your system.
Some of the other pregnancy aromatherapy oils that you can use are:
- Neroli to reduce anxiety and blood pressure
- Roman and German chamomile to help calm, soothe, and relax
- Ylang-ylang reduce stress and insomnia
What are the Risks of Using Aromatherapy While Pregnant?
There is no risk associated with using aromatherapy while being pregnant. However, it is important that you use the right oils in the right way. Never use essential oils in concentrated form as it can lead to skin allergies and severe skin reactions.
Also, not all oils are safe for use in pregnancy. Some may affect your unborn baby and how your uterus works. Essential oils like rosemary, peppermint, juniper, sage, oregano, and thyme should also be avoided. These trigger uterine contractions, something you would want to avoid while being in labour.
Precautions to Be Taken While Using Aromatherapy in Pregnancy?
One important precaution that you need to take is to research the essential oil you are planning to use. Talk to your doctor as well, as your doctor will know your medical history. Essential oils, when used properly, can help reduce stress and soothe the mind. Also, make sure you are buying good quality essential oils from reputed dealers.
How Does Aromatherapy Help in Labour?
Aromatherapy during labour can be helpful. If your midwife cannot help with aromatherapy, you can simply add a few drops of essential oil to a vaporiser or a damp flannel. You can also ask your partner to give you a back, foot or hand massage.
You can use aromatherapy even if you are in labour and more than 37 weeks into pregnancy. While many women have claimed that aromatherapy helps reduce pain while in labour, a lot of research is still required to know this for sure.
How to Use Aromatherapy in Labour?
If you are planning to use aromatherapy during labour and birth, then it is important that you become familiar with the oil you are planning to use. Its scent should be something you like and not something that is bothersome.
Your senses get heightened during labour, so you should not be doing anything invigorate your senses further. If you have not used essentials oils before, then consider talking to experts. You can also visit a speciality store to find an oil that makes you feel good and soothes your senses.
Here is how you can use aromatherapy in labour:
- Mix four ounces of water to 1-2 drops of essential oil and make a spritzer. Pour the mixture into a small water sprayer and store in a fridge until your labour day. If you are allowed to bathe during labour, then add this mixture to your bathtub for a relaxing experience. You can also spray this in the birthing room and fill the room with a refreshing aroma.
- Take a washcloth or a cotton handkerchief. Fold and sew up three of its sides. Fill halfway with dried lavender leaves and rice. Sew the other side. Set this in an ice chest and freeze by placing it in a plastic bag. Keeping this plastic bag over the eyes will be relaxing.
- Take a square piece of muslin fabric and fill it with dried herbs and rolled oats. Pull the corners and tie with a ribbon or string. Now rub it on your feet, tummy and back for a calming effect.
- Take a small bowl of warm water and add a few drops of aromatherapy oils for labour and birth. Keep it at one corner of your room.
Which Aromatherapy Oils Are More Beneficial for Labour?
- Certain essentials oils are good for labour. They help reduce anxiety and fear, boost contractions and ease the pain.
- Some aromatherapy oils for labour are clary sage, Roman chamomile, ginger, lemongrass, frankincense, mandarin and lavender.
- Do not add essential oils to your birth pool. Using an electric diffuser or oil burner will suffice.
You can use essential oils at home yourself or considering taking the help of an aromatherapist. Do not forget to tell her that you are pregnant. Also, make sure to hire the services of an experienced one. Aromatherapy can provide relief to you from several side-effects of pregnancy such as back pain, swollen feet, and nausea. Choose a fragrance that is appealing to you as that is the only way to get the benefits associated with aromatherapy.
Most important, do not forget to consult your doctor before using any of the essential oils.