by Patricia Hughes
Aromatherapy offers numerous benefits both during pregnancy and during labor. In pregnancy, aromatherapy is effective for reducing some of the common discomforts of pregnancy. When you are in labor, using essential oils can be helpful for relaxation and pain relief. Aromatherapy helps create a comfortable environment for labor.
Essential oils that are beneficial during pregnancy include lavender, chamomile, rose, ylang ylang and jasmine. Some essential oils are beneficial for morning sickness. Our sense of smell will be more acute during pregnancy. Sometimes cooking odors or other household odors can trigger nausea. Aromatherapy can help reverse this effect. Citrus oils such as orange, lemon and grapefruit are safe and effective for nausea.
There are some essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy. Here are some that are known to stimulate uterine contractions, peppermint, juniper, rosemary, oregano, pennyroyal and thyme. These oils should be avoided throughout pregnancy, but particularly in the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage is the highest. To be certain the oils you are thinking of using are safe for the baby, consult with your health care provider before using the oil.
You can enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy in a few different ways. Use essential oils in an aromatherapy diffuser to release the fragrance throughout the room. If you don’t have a diffuser, a ceramic bowl with water can be used. Just put a few drops of essential oil into the water. As the water evaporates, the room will be filled with the scent.
Antiseptic essential oils help keep the air in your home clean. These oils help remove bacteria from the air. You can enjoy these benefits with bowls of water throughout the house. If you make your own natural cleaning products, you can add a few drops of essential oil to the mixture.
Essential oils can be applied to the skin, but you need to use carrier oil. The oils are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin with direct contact. The rule of thumb for pregnancy is five drops of essential oil in one ounce of carrier oil. This can then be applied directly to the skin. Good carrier oils to use include coconut, jojoba or almond oil.
Aromatherapy can be beneficial in labor as well. Midwives often recommend the use of certain oils during labor. You can use essential oils in several ways during labor. If you are in the tub, a few drops of lavender oil can be added to the water. This oil has soothing properties and is often used for relaxation. You can use a diffuser in the room or put a few drops on the pillow or in a ceramic dish of water next to the bed. Use whatever method feels best for you. Try a few during pregnancy to get a feel for what you like best.
Massage with essential oils, such as lavender, are a helpful tool for natural pain relief. If you plan to use this during labor, prepare the oils in advance. Mix five drops of lavender essential oil in one ounce of carrier oil and store in a dark glass container. Pack it in your bag so you will be ready for labor.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.