Today, I want to introduce you to my dear friend, Grace Lewis. Grace is a Certified Aromatherapist and one of the most loving, kind, and creative people I know. She has two little ones of her own and used aromatherapy in both of her pregnancies and births. She is passionate about the benefits of aromatherapy in all seasons of life, but also heavily encourages using essential oils wisely and safely. Today, she is going to share with us everything we need to know to practice aromatherapy safely during pregnancy. Without further ado, here is Grace!
Aromatherapy and Pregnancy
Let’s take a moment to help a pregnant mamma out with some tips and advice on using aromatherapy/essential oils during pregnancy. There is so much out there on Pinterest, the market, and crunchy mamma blogs, it’s hard to sort through what is actually true and false. As a certified aromatherapist and a mom of two little ones, let me help you navigate my top three considerations when wanting to incorporate aromatherapy during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a delicate time in a woman’s life, so full of change and wonder. While there are many benefits of aromatherapy use during pregnancy a delicate approach to essential oil use should also be applied during this time. Essential oils come from the fat soluble essense of the plant that is usually extracted at high heat and pressure. A plant produces a small amount of essence, and therefore it takes a large amount of plant material to make one small bottle of essential oil. The highly concentrated nature of essential oil leads to the “less is more” approach when working with them. Due to their chemical makeup, essential oils readily absorb into the skin when applied topically and are small enough to cross into the bloodstream. There are many changes both physically and hormonally happening during pregnancy, and it is unclear at this time exactly how essential oils can interact with each. Science is beginning to answer these exact questions with in-depth research and studies being conducted at this time, but until then we have no definitive answers. While we wait for a clearer understanding on the science side, it is best to take a cautionary approach to essential oil use at this delicate time of life.
So why even bother with aromatherapy in pregnancy? There are amazing benefits of just inhaling certain aromas alone that can help you navigate your pregnancy with confidence and calm. When an essential oil is inhaled, its chemical properties trigger the olfactory bulb located in the sinus cavity. When the olfactory bulb is triggered it elicits a chemical and emotional response in the body as it directly communicates with the frontal cortex of the brain. This part of the brain is where emotions, memories, and some behavior is processed. By inhaling just a few drops of an oil on a cotton ball (or any way you like) you can support your body by guiding it to a particular response or training it to produce a certain response. It is quite amazing how it all works on an physiological level, but let me now give you some practical and safe ways to use essential oils and aromatherapy during your pregnancy!
This is the fun and exciting part of aromatherapy - putting it to use and seeing results! Here is my go-to list of pregnancy-approved essential oils and what they can be best used for to support your pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum experience.
Ginger and Peppermint: both oils are stimulating and help calm a nauseated stomach or headache. These aromas can also help to refocus or give motivation during those long, exhausting days. The best way to benefit safely from these oils are by inhalation or diffusion.
Simply place a few drops of either essential oil on a cotton ball and inhale.
Lavender and Roman Chamomile: both oils are calming and nurturing. When you experience difficulty winding down for the night or anxieties creep up out of nowhere mid-day, inhaling these aromas will help to settle and clear the mind and body. These are my favorite pregnancy and postpartum go-to oils and are considered very safe when used appropriately due to their mild and gentle nature. Blending the two aromas together creates an uplifting, motherly, calm blend.
Here are two of my all time favorite pregnancy blends:
*Mamma Massage Oil:
Blend 2 drops of Lavender and 2 drops of Roman Chamomile together in 1 oz (roughly 2 T.) of carrier oil (coconut, avocado, jojoba. etc.) on the neck, back, and shoulders to ease the body during the later months of pregnancy and postpartum.
*Please note however, it is not recommended for any topical use of essential oils during the first trimester.
Give Me A Moment Mamma Inhaler Blend:
Another great recipe that I personally used daily during my own third trimester of pregnancy was 6 drops Lavender and 6 drops Roman Chamomile in an aromatherapy inhaler (a cotton ball would also work) to train my breath and mind as I practiced my labor breathing and relaxation. I used this same inhaler during my actual labor after each contraction and was successful in calming my body and mind to have a natural and even joyful delivery experience.
Belly Butter Blend:
This was my secret weapon belly blend that prevented stretch marks, itching, and irritated stretching abdominal skin. My OB doctor even loved how soft my growing stomach was! Use this belly butter over the entire abdomen twice a day during pregnancy.
*4oz Shea Butter 1oz Avocado Oil 1 oz Coconut Oil 1 oz Vanilla Infused Jojoba Oil *1oz = 30g. = 2T. (roughly)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and melt slightly in a microwave for 30 seconds. Whip using an electric mixer until smooth and well combined. Wah-La! Place in airtight container.
Last note on safety:
There are a number of essential oils that have a chemical profile with known constituents that are harmful during pregnancy. Please use caution and talk with a certified aromatherapist or check out this informative post from the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) for greater details.
Grace has been a professional certified aromatherapist since 2018 and an active member of NAHA. Please feel free to reach out to her with any additional question or follow her work on the following platforms:
Facebook: Aromatherapy With Grace