The joy of bringing a baby into the world is overwhelming a most exciting period in many lives. It is also a time of changing emotions, body shape and the unknown for first time mothers. Aromatherapy can be very important during this time.
When considering the use of aromatherapy during pregnancy there a several oils that should be avoided as they could harm both the mother and the baby.
Ensure that the oils you are using are pure essential oils, as adulterated blends or synthetic oils can have a less predictable effect.
OILS TO AVOID:
Any oil that has toxic in the description, along with the list below.
Arnica, Aniseed, Basil, Bay, Birch, Camphor, Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Comfrey, Cypress,
Fennel, Hyssop, Jasmine, Juniper, Marjoram, Melissa, Mugwort, Myrrh, Origanum, Pennyroyal,
Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage, Savoury, St John's Wort, Tansy, Thyme< Wintergreen, Wormwood.
These oils aside, aromatherapy can be used very safely and be extremely beneficial to maintain the general health of the expectant mother, to aid in minimising the discomforts associated with pregnancy as follows.
Choose chemical and preservatives free fresh food. Eat small portions often during the day. Avoid heavy meals late at night and junk food. Ginger tea herbal infusion is a safe and effective remedy.
Peppermint tea is better avoided.
Lower back pain is common as the pregnancy advances due to the increase in weight of the baby and changing body shape. A massage with essential oils will bring great relief and help to tone the muscles. The lower back should be massaged lightly during the first four months, during this time though back ache is not always a problem, it is usually after the six month period and then a firm massage is perfectly safe.
Neroli or Mandarin oil at 2% to a base oil say Almond, Apricot or Olive Oil or Stretch Mark Oil can be used which contain these essential oils along with a rich cocktail of base oils that penetrates deep into the skin.
As the breasts expand during pregnancy they need extra care and attention. Use a gentle massage again with Stretch Mark Oil or a base oil with 2% essential oil, Neroli or Mandarin. If breasts are swollen, make a cool compress out of rosewater and place over the breast while resting.
Essential oils can be very helpful in easing some of the discomforts of breastfeeding. Insufficiency of milk and cracked nipples are two of the main reasons that many mothers abandon breastfeeding. Engorgement can sometimes be the cause as well. To promote th flow of milk Fennel, Caraway, Dill and Aniseed is widely used mostly in the form of herbal tea infusions, fennel being the most popular choice.
To reduce the milk flow Peppermint oil can be used on cold compresses - Use a basin of water with 4-5 drops of essential oil use clean fabric or a washer and immerse in the water, wring out then place on the painful area.
It is IMPORTANT to wash off all traces of essential oils before feeding the baby. It is dangerous to give the oils to the baby internally even relatively safe oils.
Can be extremely painful and slow to heal. Calendula is the most healing plant known for this condition. Some Nipple Butters contains Calendula and is safe to use whilst nursing. Apply the butter immediately after feeding so that the nipples have the maximum time to absorb the beneficial properties prior to the next feed.
Products containing lanolin are often used for cracked nipples but some tests have discovered traces of toxins in the lanolin from sheep dipping, so wise to avoid these products.
Avoid rich, spicy foods and heavy meals. A Peppermint, Fennel or Chamomile tea infusion can speed up relief. A gentle massage of the stomach with a soothing oil such as Lavender, Chamomile or Marjoram will assisst.A hot compress using one of these oils can be placed over the stomach as often as needed. Just 2-3 drops in a basin of water for compress and the same with 50ml base oil.
The baby kicking and other discomforts in the last few months of pregnancy makes it difficult to get a good night's sleep. A relaxing bath with stretch mark oil 10mls or a total of 6 drops of either Neroli or Rose pure essential oil in a bath before bedtime. The water should not be too hot as this is stimulating rather than relaxing.
An aromatherapy massage with stretch mark oil, the combination of gentle therapeutic touch and relaxing essential oils will work both on the mind and body to reduce the level of stress, and sleep will follow quite naturally.
Eating of high fibre foods, including plenty of fresh garlic and drinking ample filtered or bottled water is important during pregnancy to avoid constipation.
Aromatherapy treatments are complicated by the fact that many of the oils used in the treatment of circulatory problems are those to avoid during pregnancy. However, lemon essential oil at 2% dilution can be used to gently massage. Tension can also be a contributory factor, so try a relaxing bath using stretch mark oil or 6 drops total of neroli or rose.
Massaging daily is an excellent way to reduce the risk or intensity of stretch marks during
pregnancy, Massage provides stimulation of the tissues underlying the superficial layers of the skin, using gentle strokes it is both effective and safe in pregnancy. Gently make small repetitive circles all over the tummy, thighs and breasts using a stretch mark oil regularly.
Continue massaging these areas after the birth for at least four months until your weight has returned to normal. Avoid stretch mark oil on the nipples if breastfeeding.
Swelling (Oedema) of the ankles and legs is often a problem in the latter months of pregnancy. If severe you should consult your Doctor in case there is a kidney problem, but mild puffiness of the ankles usually after standing or at the end of the day, can be effectively relieved by massaging the legs with one tablespoon of base oil to 2 drops of Geranium. Ideally this would be more beneficial carried out by a professional but you or your partner can apply the oil with firm strokes always moving from the ankles towards the thighs.
A cool to warm foot bath with 2 drops each of Benzoin, Orange and Rose can help reduce the swelling.
Rest the feet higher than the head on raised cushions or pillows.
Avoiding salt, strong tea, coffee will also help to reduce swelling, drinking plenty of bottled or filtered water is also advisable.
During pregnancy the bulk and weight of the growing baby can cause pressure on the veins and arteries of the lower abdomen, causing circulatory problems and the veins to dilate. One of the best oils for circulation is Geranium, but this should be very dilute for pregnancy. No more than 4 drops to one tablespoon of carrier oil, massaging the legs with a gentle upward movement. Do not work directly on the veins or apply too much pressure. You can also add 4 drops to your bath.
To create a relaxing atmosphere in the labour room, use several drops of Lavender in an atomizer or Rose, Yang-Ylang or Neroli to fortify you as the labour progresses. Any of these oils can be used in a massage blend for the lower back to aid contractions.
Some women can suffer from post-natal depression for up to a year after childbirth, some more severe than others. A bath with jasmine and ylang-ylang can help them feel better 3 drops of each. Or a massage with 5 drops each of Geranium, Orange, Chamomile..
To ease perineal pain Organic Bath Herbs, a collection of wound healing and anti-bacterial natural ingredients and essential oils with powerful antiseptic and healing benefits for internal wounds and stitches.
The simple touch of massage movements can help to relieve many of the stresses and discomfort of pregnancy, back massage in particular is very welcome during labour.
Aromatherapy techniques can be used very safely and beneficially to maintain the general health of the expectant mother. It aids with various discomforts during this time.
The positions to work in need to be adapted to suit her comfort, she needs to be well supported.
- Check the oils to be avoided
- Use lower concentrations of essential oil to base oil 1/2 to 1% is desired.
- Stokes should be lighter than usual for a massage.
- The back - massage can be done on a chair after the fourth month of pregnancy as it becomes uncomfortable to lie on her stomach, a chair or a pillow wrapped in a towel for her to hold in front for support.
- The abdomen - as the weight of the uterus can constrict the important blood vessels is the pregnant women is laying flat on her back, so she must be supported with plenty of pillows, bolsters or rolled towels to make her comfortable. Under the knees should be supported with cushions. After four months a gentle massage all over the abdomen can be very soothing, very often the developing baby responds to the massage given to the mother. Very often if the baby is lively and kicking causing discomfort to the mother will calm down and be quite for some time after. Babies whose mothers have received regular massages during pregnancy are usually very peaceful when they are born.
- The legs - Gently stroking the legs from the ankles to the knee to begin, then continue with firmer pressure is very soothing. It can relieve swelling, varicose veins or cramp. (See varicose veins for further information). Gentle stroking around the ankles is also appreciated. Avoid any reflex movements on the feet.
- Head - With both hands at the back of the neck at the base of the cranium, apply slow, light, circular pressures with your fingertips in an upward direction to release tension and to finish the massage.
Allow a 15 minute rest and then gently help her get up.