How to Use Aromatherapy During Pregnancy

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Since as early as 3500 B.C., people have used aromatherapy for medicine, cosmetics, healing and religious ceremonies. Flash forward to today, there are hundreds of uses for aromatherapy, with some natural mamas even opting to use it for its traditionally medicinal roots during pregnancy. From swollen feet to stretch marks, abdominal discomfort to sleep loss, there’s no end to the amount of ways aromatherapy can alleviate some of the less comfortable parts of carrying a child for nine months.

If you’re expecting, planning ahead or just want more information on how to use aromatherapy during your pregnancy, check out our tips and infographic below! Don’t forget to download our essential oils tracker printable to keep up with which oils work for you and which don’t.

Best Uses for Essential Oil During Pregnancy

There are many great ways to integrate aromatherapy into your pregnancy that will help soothe the realities of carrying a child, as well as make your life easier as an expecting mother. From swollen ankles to sleep loss, check out how aromatherapy can help!

How to Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Be sure you’re mixing your favorite essential oils with a carrier oil (like coconut or almond oil) when applying to your skin, so you don’t put the oils directly on your skin. Experts recommend being cautious and mainly sticking to either inhalation through a diffuser or topical use when mixed with a carrier oil.

Best Oils For Pregnancy

While there are some oils to stay away from during your pregnancy, there are others that are perfectly safe (and are even recommended). According to experts at the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), the following essential oils have no history of causing issues during pregnancy when used properly. If you’re unsure, err on the side of caution and double-check with your doctor before purchasing a bundle of these oils.

  1. Benzoin
  2. Bergamot
  3. Black pepper
  4. German chamomile
  5. Clary sage
  6. Cypress
  7. Eucalyptus
  8. Frankincense
  9. Geranium
  10. Ginger
  11. Grapefruit
  12. Juniper
  13. Lavender
  14. Lemon
  15. Mandarin
  16. Neroli
  17. Petitgrain
  18. Roman chamomile
  19. Rose otto
  20. Sandalwood
  21. Sweet marjoram
  22. Sweet orange
  23. Tea tree
  24. Ylang-ylang

Pregnancy-Safe Aromatherapy Remedies

Now that you know which oils are pregnancy-safe, it’s time to start planning which aromatherapy techniques you’ll use to your advantage for the next nine months!

NAHA recommends applying these through compress, massage or bath, with a 1% dilution or no more than 4 drops of oil.

As with anything, consult with your doctor if you’re unsure or cautious about any of these remedies.

For Stretch Marks

  • Mix 1–4 drops lavender, frankincense, rose or chamomile oil with a carrier oil.
  • Apply to area 1–2 times daily.

For Morning Sickness + Nausea

  • Blend 1–4 drops sweet orange oil, petitgrain or mandarin oil with carrier oil.
  • Can be diffused, massaged onto skin or smelled directly from the bottle.

For Swollen Ankles

  • Combine 1–4 drops lavender or geranium oil with carrier oil.
  • Massage onto area with roller ball or by hand when needed.

For Sleep Loss

  • Use 1–4 drops lavender, vanilla or rose oils.
  • Can be used in bathwater or inhaled through diffuser.

For Abdominal or Baby Bump Discomfort

  • Mix 1–4 drops juniper, benzoin or lavender oil with carrier oil.
  • Massage onto skin when needed.

Track Your Favorites

If you want to dive headfirst into the world of pregnancy aromatherapy, be sure you’re keeping track of your favorite combinations, what helps your symptoms and the oils that might not be so great for you.

Use our printable tracker to take the guesswork out of which oil combinations worked for you and which you didn’t care for. Print it out and hang it on your fridge, in your bathroom or wherever you keep your stash of oils for an easy reference of what works and what doesn’t.

What Essential Oils To Stay Away From During Pregnancy

As helpful as some essential oils and forms of aromatherapy can be to alleviate the discomforts of pregnancy, there are certain ones to avoid to ensure the health of you and your baby. To ensure you’re being cautious and careful, take note of the essential oils you should avoid and the ways you shouldn’t be using aromatherapy.

When to Avoid Essential Oils

According to NAHA, there are certain essential oils and forms of aromatherapy that could harm you, your unborn baby or, in extreme cases, cause a miscarriage.

To ensure the health and safety of both mother and child, be sure to only use essential oils during your second and third trimesters, avoiding them altogether during the first. Avoiding usage during the early stages of your pregnancy ensures the oils won’t affect your baby negatively and you’re protected from uterine contractions.

This includes other forms of aromatherapy besides diffusing oils, such as massages and baths, as essential oils are common. Additionally, experts advise steering clear of ingesting essential oils, as this can irritate the sensitive mucus membranes of your stomach lining, and cause more illness than just your typical morning sickness.

Oils to Stay Away From When You’re Expecting

Many experts, including the NAHA, recommend staying away from these oils throughout the duration of the pregnancy and after you give birth. This will help both you and your baby stay safe and healthy!

  1. Aniseed
  2. Basil
  3. Birch
  4. Camphor
  5. Cinnamon
  6. Clove
  7. Cumin
  8. Fennel
  9. Hyssop
  10. Mugwort
  11. Oregano
  12. Parsley seed or leaf
  13. Pennyroyal
  14. Sage
  15. Sweet birch
  16. Tansy
  17. Tarragon
  18. Thuja
  19. Thyme
  20. Wintergreen
  21. Wormwood

No matter how you choose to integrate aromatherapy into your pregnancy, be sure you’re being safe and using what scents and oil combinations are best for you and your baby. Consult a doctor if you’re unsure about how essential oils could help your pregnancy, and remember to track your favorite combinations and any possible reactions with our printable tracker!

Sources: FGB | NAHA | Safe Birth Project | Parents | The Sleep Doctor | What to Expect | Good Housekeeping

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