Why use Essential Oils for Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a special period of time in which there are a great many physical and emotional changes taking place. Knowing the best essential oils for pregnancy and labour will help you not only reduce discomfort like lower pack pain, but also contraction pain, morning sickness, postpartum depression and also help you relax and stay grounded and calm during both pregnancy and labour itself without necessarily having to use over the counter pain relief.
Choices for medical drugs are limited whilst pregnant and essential oils can decrease the severity of many discomforts associate with childbirth and pregnancy.
I myself gave birth to my daughter at home with no pain medicine what so ever. From start to finish labour was a little over 23 hours. It was tough. Very tough, but I was strong, clam and focused and I have doTERRA essential oils to thank for that.
Several studies have shown that the combination of aromatherapy and massage during active labor can help ease anxious feelings and soothe the discomfort and pain associated with contractions.
Active labour is exhausting and can often last hours. Clinical trials have demonstrated that performance and alertness during active labour can be improved through the use of peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint essential oil has the ability to stimulate the central nervous system and offers profound effects on mood. Another powerful essential oils for mood balancing is Wild Orange which has been shown to lower stress levels.
The perineum (this is the area between the vagina and the anus) is put under quite a lot of pressure during the labour process. Some essential oils such as lavender essential oils has been shown to provide not only soothing benefits but also to ease soreness, decrease redness and aid in the recovery process. It can alleviate discomfort by being applied topically to when added to a warm bath.
Safety – Essential Oils during pregnancy
Many people ask the question are essential oils are safe during pregnancy? and of course what essential oils are not safe during pregnancy? Well many essential oils are safe especially when used with a carrier oil. A good rule of thumb is to mix 2-5 drops of essential oils with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil. Here you can find our recommended essential oils dilution chart.
Essential oils and pregnancy is a somewhat controversial topic, mainly due to the fact that people are concerned about the risk of essential oil constituents passing through to the placenta. According to Robert Tisserand crossing the placenta does not necessarily mean there is a risk of toxicity to the fetus.
The following essential oils are not recommend for use during pregnancy. This list has been complied from safety data published by respected and experienced aromatherapy authors Robert Tisserand and Balacs (1)
Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy: Wormwood, rue, oak moss, Lavandula stoechas, camphor, parsley seed, sage, and hyssop.
According to Chrissie Wildwood, “A common myth in aromatherapy is that massage oils containing essential oils such as Clary sage, rose or even rosemary can cause a miscarriage and hence should be avoided throughout pregnancy (2)
Authors such as Ron Guba, Kurt Schnaubelt, and Chrissie Wildwood have all pointed out that there have been ‘no recorded cases of miscarriage or birth defect resulting from aromatherapy massage using therapeutic applications of any essential oil.
The Best Essential Oils for Pregnancy and Labour
Here are a list of common pregnancy, labour and post labour symptoms or situations unique to pregnancy and labour and the best essential oils to use for each.
Early Labour – Gently apply 1- 3 drops of lavender on the stomach or heart to help slow or stop labour.
High Blood Pressure: Oils to use: Ylang Ylang, eucalyptus, lavender, clary sage, clove, lemon.
Avoid: Rosemary, thyme and peppermint
Combine: 5 drops of Geranium, 8 drops of lemongrass and 3 drops of lavender in 1oz of coconut oil. Rub over the heart and reflex points on the left foot and hand.
Post Miscarriage – Oils to use: Frankincense, grapefruit, geranium, lavender, Roman chamomile. Dilute 5-6 drops with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and massage on back, legs and arms. Add 3-4 drops to warm bath water and bathe.
Morning Sickness – Oils to use: Giner, peppermint, lemon, Digest Zen
Apply 1-3 drops on ears, jaw bone and on relfex points on the feet.
Place 1-3 drops of ginger in an empty veggie capsule and swallow.
Diffuse in the air, breathe directly from hands.
Stretch Marks – Oils to use: Lavender, Myrrh
Add 5-10 drops to 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or hazelnut oil and apply on location.
Post Labour – Apply 1-3 drops of lavender or geranium on the abdomen, ankles or bottoms of the feet.
Breast Feeding – Soothe the breasts: Lavender or geranium
Sore nipples: Roman camomille
For toning: Fennel, add 3-5 drops to coconut oil and massage on location
Labour and Delivery – Lavender to stimulate the circulation, calming, antiseptic. Clary sage to bring on contractions. Balance and wild orange to stay calm and grounded.
Episiotomy – Add 5-10 drops of geranium to half a teaspoon of olive oil and massage the perineum. Diffuse Serenity restful blend or Elevation.
Toning the uterus – Apply 1-3 drops of Clary Sage around the ankles to help tone the uterus.
Your new born – Frankincense 1 drop on the crown and myrrh 1 drop on the umbilical cord and navel. Balance Grounding blend 1 drop on the feet and spine.
Lacation – Topical use, apply 1-2 drops of the following oils on the breasts: Start production: Clary Sage or to increase production: Fennel or basil. Decrease production: Peppermint or Clary Calm Woman’s Blend. Apply peppermint with a cold compress to help reduce production.
Caution: Fennel should not be used for more than 10 days as it will excessively increase flow through the urinary tract.
Postpartum Depression – Oils to use: Elevation Joyful blend, lemon, lavender, frankincense, clary sage, geranium, grapefruit (aromatically only) bergamot, balance grounding blend, myrrh, wild orange.
Diffuse into the air or breathe directly from the hands.
Apply 1- 2 drops to temple or forehand
Apply 5-10 drops to coconut oil and use as massage oil
Add 1-3 drops to bathwater and bathe.
Masitis – Oils to use: Lavender, Invigorating blend Citrus Bliss combined with lavender, patchouli. Apply 1-2 drops on the breasts.
Lower back pain – Use Deep Blue, marjoram, black pepper, lemongrass, ginger and lavender with massage.
Placenta – Oils to use: Basil ( to help retain) Apply 1-2 drops on lower abdomen and reflex points on the feet.
Pre Eclampsia – Oils to use: Cypress. Dilute 1:1 in coconut oil and apply 1-2 drops to the bottom of the feet and abdomen. Diffuse into the air or breathe directly.
Self Love – Elevation Joyful Blend. Diffuse into the air or breath directing from hands.
Transition – Dilute basil with coconut oil and apply 1-2 drops to the templates or abdomen.
Haemorrhaging – Apply 1-3 drops of helichrysum to the lower back to help prevent haemorrhaging.
*The information on this page is for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
* Modern Essentials Usage Guide 8th Edition.
* Essential Oils Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
* doTerra Science articles and studies
(1) Tisserand, R., and Balacs, T. (1995). Essential Oil Safety.
(2) Wildwood, C. (2000). Of Cabbages & Kings Aromatherapy Myths, part II. Aromatherapy Today, 14, p. 12–14.