Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Pregnancy is the most incredible time in a woman's life. You're growing a baby! You're changing your body and your life in ways you never imagined possible! And now, you can add one more thing to your list: aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to help improve mood, sleep quality, and overall well-being. It's been around for thousands of years—since ancient Egypt, actually—but it's only recently become popular in Western culture.
When it comes to pregnancy, aromatherapy can have some amazing benefits. Keep reading to find out more:
Safe Use of Essential Oils During Pregnancy
Women should exercise caution with essential oils during pregnancy. Avoid using essential oils during the first trimester and avoid the essential oils listed in the 'contraindications' section below.
Certain essential oils are generally considered by Institute of Professional Aromatherapy (IFPA) to be safe for use in pregnancy, during the second trimester. The following list is not exhaustive but does provide a good level of oils to choose from.
Benzoin, Bergamot, Black pepper, Chamomile German, Chamomile Roman, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon, Mandarin, Marjoram Sweet, Neroli, Petitgrain, Rose Otto, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Tea Tree and Ylang Ylang.
Women should avoid ingesting and applying undiluted essential oils to the skin (topically) throughout pregnancy. The safest way of benefitting from essential oils is through inhalation, using an oil burner or diffuser, or even a tissue.
One good way of Aromatherapy during pregnancy is by sourcing pre-blended body oils, lotions or creams in shops (or online) that have been assessed for safe use during pregnancy.
Ten Health Benefits of Using Aromatherapy During Pregnancy.
Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Stress is an inevitable part of life, but when it becomes excessive, it can have a negative impact on your health. This is especially true when you are pregnant. During this period, you may be worried about the health and safety of your baby as well as your well-being. You may also find that the stress of being pregnant brings up old issues from your past or makes current situations more difficult to deal with.
Aromatherapy can help reduce stress by providing a safe and controlled environment where you can release pent-up emotions while getting away from things like work or home life that cause anxiety. Aromatherapy can also help relax tense muscles in the upper back, neck and shoulders, which are often used during stress. Additionally, some essential oils such as lavender have been shown to improve sleep quality by reducing insomnia symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep or waking up multiple times throughout the night.
Helps Reduce Depression in Expectant Mothers
Another benefit of aromatherapy during pregnancy is that it can reduce depression. Depression is a common symptom of pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. In fact, one in nine women experiences some form of depression while pregnant or after giving birth.
Depression can be treated with medication and therapy, but you do not necessarily need to go down this route if you prefer not to take drugs or see a therapist. Instead, try using essential oils as an alternative method for managing this condition.
Aromatherapy effectively reduces symptoms of depression like anxiety and fatigue through its relaxing effects on the mind and body. Aromatherapy also helps increase positive moods by increasing blood flow (which boosts energy levels) and reducing stress levels (which improves emotional well-being).
Helps with Morning Sickness or Nausea.
Essential oils, such as ginger and cardamon can be used to cure morning sickness or nausea associated with pregnancy. Aromatherapy can help reduce nausea, vomiting, bloating, heartburn and constipation caused by the hormone progesterone during pregnancy. This will address your body's need for balance again, and you will start feeling better daily.
Helps Decrease Constipation and Other Digestive Problems
Aromatherapy can also help digestion, which is often a problem during pregnancy. It can reduce constipation and other digestive issues, such as heartburn, which may frequently occur during pregnancy due to hormonal imbalance.
Aromatherapy helps with nausea, which is another common problem during pregnancy. The following essential oils are useful for reducing nausea: basil, marjoram, peppermint and thyme oil.
Helps Reduce Swelling Caused By Increased Blood Flow
You may notice that your feet become swollen during pregnancy, and aromatherapy can help reduce this. Aromatherapy helps by increasing blood flow to the area of your body that is being treated by aromatherapy. This increased blood flow can cause swelling in the feet, so applying a soothing essential oil to them after each bath or shower can help reduce swelling caused by increased blood flow during pregnancy.
Due to its calming effect on the mind and body, aromatherapy has proved extremely beneficial for pregnant women who have insomnia due to hormonal changes in their bodies that can cause restlessness at night-time.
Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment which works through inhalation, absorption and assimilation into the body. The oils are absorbed by the olfactory bulb in our nose and transferred to other parts of our brain. This helps cure numerous ailments, including insomnia due to hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Aromatherapy can be used to treat constipation by massaging the abdomen with oils such as ginger and fennel. Massaging the lower abdomen in a clockwise direction is also beneficial for easing constipation, as it stimulates the intestines and helps them work more effectively.
Heartburn is another common problem that affects pregnant women during their pregnancy period. Aromatherapy can help relieve heartburn by stimulating digestion, relieving stress and relaxing tense muscles in the digestive tract wall, which can reduce the pain associated with heartburn.
Helps Boost your Mood
Aromatherapy has been shown to improve moods and reduce depression in some people with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. This makes it an excellent tool for pregnant women who are struggling with these conditions or feeling depressed because they are pregnant.
Here are some essential oils that may help:
Lavender - Lavender is a calming oil that can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. It also has antibacterial properties, which are helpful for preventing infection during pregnancy.
Chamomile - Chamomile has been used as a sleep aid for centuries because it helps promote relaxation and relieve stress-related symptoms like headaches, muscle pain, and irritability. You can mix chamomile with lavender or another relaxing essential oil to create your own blend that can help you fall asleep faster at bedtime.
Whilst essential oils can provide a range of benefits during pregnancy, there are some oils to be avoided, such as Aniseed, Basil, Birch, Camphor, Hyssop, Mogwort, Oak Moss, Parley Seed or Leaf, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Tansy, Tarragon,
Thuja, Thyme, Wintergreen and Wormwood. Another oil to avoid is Clary Sage as it can bring on contractions and should therefore only be used during labour.
If you’re looking to learn more about essential oils and pregnancy or have other questions, we would suggest you speak to a qualified Aromatherapist and/or medical practitioner first to assess their suitability for you.
Aromatherapy is a great way to bring the power of nature into your life, and it can help you achieve a better quality of life during your pregnancy. If you're pregnant, try incorporating aromatherapy into your daily routine. You'll be amazed at how much it improves your mood, increases relaxation, and reduces stress—and that's just for starters!