The question has been asked time and time again and will no doubt be voiced long into the future – ‘Are essential oils safe during pregnancy?’ These are critical months for any new parents and it is only right and proper they are cautious.

In an effort to do my bit to help, here is a guide on aromatherapy pregnancy, that I hope answers those burning questions for many of you.

Keep in mind, though, that although well researched, like all guidelines these are general, so if you have any additional conditions, it will be worthwhile to check with your medical practitioner!

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Aromatherapy in pregnancy: many essential oils are safe in moderate, external use for expectant and nursing mothers.

Clinical aromatherapy expert Jane Buckle states in her book Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice, that “There are no records of abnormal fetuses or aborted fetuses due to the ‘normal’ use of essential oils, either by inhalation or topical application” (377).

In fact, certain essential oils have proven to be immensely helpful in easing discomfort for expectant and nursing mothers. According to the National Health Service (NHS), use of aromatherapy during pregnancy (through essential oils) has been proven to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation and empowerment and aid in the process of childbirth.

In fact, many expectant mothers choose to use these time-tested natural Ayurvedic formulas carried down through the generations instead of synthetic chemicals with little research regarding their long term effects.

The key considerations when incorporating the use of essential oils into your wellness regiment (pregnant or otherwise!) are the following:

Quality of Essential Oil and its Source: Essential oils should not be adulterated or tainted in any way for use, as it may increase the likelihood of an adverse response. It is imperative that you research the background of your supplier, even asking questions about the farming and extraction processes to ascertain that you’re buying the highest quality essential oils.

Safe Dilution of the Essential Oil: To avoid sensitization of skin or allergic reactions, most essential oils must always be diluted before use in carrier oils (our favorites are jojoba, grapeseed and pomegranate!)

Application: During pregnancy, it may be safer to avoid the internal consumption of essential oils, if you have never consumed them before. Try sticking to inhalation and using them externally on the skin.

With these safeguards in place, essentials oils can be a great aid during pregnancy! They can be used in a massage for relaxation, or as a compress for relieving soreness.

A few drops can also be added to your bath for a deeply relaxing effect. Essential oils can also help to soothe the tiredness, aches and pains, nausea, insomnia and backache that one often feels with pregnancy.

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Here are some of our favorite essential oils for use during pregnancy (in moderate, external doses!):

Lavendar: Calming, soothing and pain-relieving, lavender essential oil is useful for easing the pain of uterine contractions. It can be used for massage, inhalation and in baths when the membrane is still intact.

Chamomile: Relaxing and anti-inflammatory, chamomile essential oil (safely diluted in a carrier oil) can be used for soothing eczema or other skin rashes.

Frankincense: Frankincense essential oil can calm bouts of anxiety and hyperventilation.

Rose: Rose oil is renowned for its mood boosting properties, improving circulation and easing tension or nervousness.

Peppermint: Peppermint essential oil can be used during the transition to a more active stage of labor to combat nausea and headaches.

Geranium: For use post-natally, geranium essential oil can regulate your hormonal balance, stimulate the lymphatic system and relieve fatigue.

Other essential oils that have mood boosting properties and appear to be safe include cardamon, ginger, neroli, patchouli, sandalwood, eucalyptus, lemon and ylang ylang essential oil.

Keep in mind that, as with many other pregnancy discomfort remedies, essential oil usage is a very individualized process and should be tailored to your own comforts and needs.

In researching the essentials oils to avoid while pregnant, we often rely on materials by Robert Tisserand. He points out a few essential oils to potentially avoid in the first trimester of pregnancy. These include: wormwood, rue, oak moss, lavandula stoechas, camphor, parsley seed, sage and hyssop.

It is important, Tisserand notes, to put these concerns in context, as the health risk for essential oils is minimal except in the case of prolonged or extremely high doses.

Cooking with fresh herbs containing these oils is perfectly acceptable, without the danger of the possible risks. In addition, essential oils that are cardiac stimulants should be used minimally, during and right after pregnancy.

These include cinnamon, hyssop, nutmeg and thyme.  As a general rule of thumb, always discuss essential oil use with your obstetrician if you are concerned that you may have an exacerbating condition.

If you would like to know more about this subject and where you can get tried, tested and proved quality essential oils, please do not hesitate to contact me through my WatchFit profile page.

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