Aromatherapy During Pregnancy: Benefits and Risks

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Being pregnant is all about being happy and feeling of the mother is magical but the physical part of it can often be painful. Swollen feet and an achy back are common problems associated during pregnancy. Many mothers are resorting to aromatherapy for treating physical discomfort.

All You Need to Know About Aromatherapy During Pregnancy

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy makes use of essential oils derived from flowers and herbs and claims to have a good effect on 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 it works. It is thought that these essential oils send some kind of chemical messages to the part of the brain that affects mood and feelings. Either has to breathe in the aroma of the oils or massage them on the body.

aromatherapy during pregnancy

Benefits of Aromatherapy During Pregnancy

Relief from morning sickness

Aromatherapy can help reduce morning sickness during the first trimester. So, if feeling sick during pregnancy, take the help of aromatherapy. It is often recommended for pregnancy nausea. Lemon oil and mint oil are the options.

Soothes pregnancy discomfort

Pregnancy comes with a lot of side-effects and aromatherapy has helped many women soothe these side-effects. Use Neroli for heartburn or use sweet orange for constipation. Citrus oils like lemon oils are refreshing and known to energize. If having trouble sleeping, lavender may help. Massage these oils on the skin, add these to the bathwater or use a diffuser or oil burner.

Helps to relax

Spas and massages are very relaxing and there is no denying this fact. In the same way, aromatherapy massage during pregnancy can be very relaxing. It can help reduce stress and ease tension. Use any sweet-smelling oil for this purpose. Also, aromatherapy massage during pregnancy can help women feel less anxious.

How to Use

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 the doctor as well. Keep the pets out of the room as essential oils can have a fatal reaction on cats and dogs.

  • Mix and use – regardless of the essential oil, make sure to mix it with a base oil first while using for massaging. Sweet almond and grapeseed oils are two base oils that can be used. Undiluted essential oils in high concentrations can be toxic.
  • Using a vaporizer – a vaporizer with an essential oil should be used for a long time. Ensure the room is properly ventilated and do not keep the vaporizer on for more than 15 mins in an hour. Otherwise, the scent can become overpowering and cause nausea.
  • Choosing the right essential oil – do not use any essential oil that you don’t know about. This can cause more harm than good for the pregnancy. Do research on which oils are beneficial.

Risks

There is no risk associated with using aromatherapy during pregnancy. However, it is important that 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 the unborn baby and how the uterus works. Essential oils like rosemary, peppermint, juniper, sage, oregano, and thyme should also be avoided. These trigger uterine contractions which are avoided while being in labor.

Check with the doctor if aromatherapy is safe if having diabetes, high BP, epilepsy, or allergies.

Which Oils to Use During Pregnancy

  • Use lavender oil for relaxation – lavender is considered to be the queen of essential oils. It has a sweet and soft odor that calms even a racing mind. It is known to ease pain during surgery making it a great option for women who had undergone a c-section. It can also be used with body wash or soap.
  • Boost mood using citrus oil – beat pregnancy and postpartum blues using citrus oils like lemon, lime and mandarin. They are refreshing and energizing. These oils are known to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Citrus oils do not only boost the mood but also boost the immune system. Eating a lot of citrus fruit offer a lot of health benefits and are a great way to supply vitamin C to the system.

Some of the other pregnancy aromatherapy oils that can be used are –

  • Neroli to reduce anxiety and blood pressure
  • Roman and German chamomile to help calm, soothe and relax
  • Ylang-ylang reduce stress and insomnia
  • Jasmine
  • Rose
  • Tangerine
  • Lemongrass

Precautions

One important precaution that needed to take is to research the essential oil planning to use. Talk to the doctor as well, as the doctor will know the medical history. Essential oils when used properly can help reduce stress and soothe the mind. Also, make sure to buy good quality essential oils.

Aromatherapy for Labour

Aromatherapy during labor can be helpful. If the midwife cannot help with aromatherapy, simply add a few drops of essential oil to a vaporizer or a damp flannel. Ask the partner to give a back, foot or hand massage.

Aromatherapy can be used even if in labor and more than 37 weeks into pregnancy. While many women have claimed that aromatherapy helps reduce pain while in labor, a lot of research is still required to know this for sure.

How to Use Aromatherapy for Labor?

  • 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 it in a fridge until the labor If allowed to bathe during labor, then add this mixture to the bathtub for a relaxing experience. Also, use a spray this is 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 side. 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 the feet, tummy, and back for a calming effect.
  • Take a small bowl of warm water and add a few drops of aromatherapy oils for labor and birth. Keep it in one corner of the room.

Which Essential Oils Cause Contractions?

  • Lavender oil
  • Clary sage oil
  • Jasmine oil
  • Rose oil
  • Frankincense oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Geranium oil

Conclusion

Essential oils can be used at home easily. Aromatherapy can provide relief from several side-effects of pregnancy. Also, consult the doctor.

References

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804257/
  • https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/aromatherapy-in-pregnancy-and-labour-benefits-risks/

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