We know that essential oils can provide us with a myriad of health benefits, from stress relief to healthy skin. However, the use of essential oils during pregnancy is somewhat controversial.
Because of the extreme concentration of these oils, they must be used carefully. There are some oils that are safe to use during pregnancy, as long as they are used correctly. If you’re unsure, always make sure to ask your doctor.
Stretch marks are a common complaint of new mothers. Some essential oils promote healthy, elastic skin to reduce the occurrence of stretch marks. Chamomile and sweet orange mixed with a carrier oil or unscented body butter will help promote skin’s elasticity over time.
It’s no secret that pregnancy comes with its fair share of stress. Using gentle essential oils like lavender and chamomile can ease stress and even help with insomnia. Dilute a few drops of each into a spray and spray the room, or diffuse them for about 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
Morning sickness can be eased with the use of certain essential oils, including ginger and spearmint. Do not ingest essential oils when pregnant. Instead, use them in a personal inhaler or a diffuser. Be sure to avoid peppermint and instead opt for spearmint which is milder.
The right oils can reduce swelling, ease nerve and muscle pain and even fight fatigue. Black pepper and chamomile work well to soothe back pain when applied topically in a carrier oil, while cypress works to combat ankle swelling. If you’re feeling fatigued, try diffusing citrus oils like lime, grapefruit and sweet orange for a boost of energy.
Many experts recommend avoiding the use of essential oils during the first trimester. When your baby is in its earliest stages of development, it is most susceptible to adverse effects caused by foreign ingredients. Essential oils may be used beginning with the second trimester.
Some essential oils should be avoided entirely throughout the length of your pregnancy. They may cause contractions or have neurotoxic effects on a fetus. There is a long list of oils to avoid during pregnancy, a few of which include:
Ginger has long been renowned for its anti-nausea capabilities. When you’re feeling queasy, a few drops of ginger in a diffusor can settle your stomach.
Keep in mind that the oil should not be ingested, even when diluted. Instead, opt for a caffeine-free ginger tea, which provides the same benefits in a much less concentrated form.
Similarly to ginger, spearmint can be used to alleviate mild nausea. The two oils can be combined in a diffusor to soothe your stomach, or it can be used on its own. If you prefer, it can also be diluted and used in a personal aromatherapy inhaler made especially for essential oils.
The quintessential anti-stress oil can be used to soothe your nerves or combat insomnia. It’s highly effective, but mild enough that it’s safe to use during pregnancy. Add a few drops to a warm bath or apply it topically diluted in a carrier oil and let the scent soothe your stress.
Back pain is a common complaint during pregnancy. To ease sore muscles, black pepper essential oil can be applied topically. As always, dilute it in a carrier oil or an unscented lotion, then apply directly to the skin. Massage it into the skin to alleviate soreness and pain.
Sweet orange oil can provide a multitude of benefits for pregnant women. Its aroma is uplifting and can increase energy levels when used in a diffuser or diluted into a room spray. Additionally, it combats dry skin and promotes elasticity to help prevent stretch marks when applied topically. Mix a few drops into a carrier oil of your choice and apply directly to the skin.
Grapefruit oil is safe to use during pregnancy, and many women enjoy it for its ability to fight fatigue. Unlike many other citrus oils, grapefruit has a low risk of phototoxicity, so it can be applied topically before sun exposure. A few drops in a bath or diffuser can help brighten your mood and chase away fatigue
Pregnancy comes with its fair share of challenges, but it doesn’t have to be too uncomfortable. With the right essential oils, you can ease stress, alleviate nausea and soothe sore muscles.
When used correctly, these oils are safe for topical application or inhalation. Never consume essential oils when pregnant and always consult your doctor if you’re unsure about a safe application.