More and more pregnant women and new parents are looking for natural alternatives to prescription drugs. Although conventional medicine and medicines can be helpful in more extreme cases, for the more common ailments associated with child birth and parenting, natural alternatives like Essential Oil Therapy can prove to be just as, if not more, effective. Below are just a few ways that Essential Oil Therapy can help with a more natural pregnancy and childbirth.
Massaging yourself with nourishing carrier oils and the essential oils of neroli (citrus aurantium) and mandarin (citrus reticulata) during your pregnancy may help to reduce the chance of getting stretch marks, and alleviate dry, itchy skin. Be sure not to forget to massage your breasts and thighs, along with your growing belly. In an attempt to prevent striae gravidarum (stretch marks), a treated group who used a massage ointment was two thirds less likely to develop stretch marks, vs. a controlled group who was one third less likely to development stretch marks.1
If you are suffering from headaches and migraines, using essential oils can be a good alternative to conventional pain relievers. Essential oils such as peppermint (mentha piperita), chamomile (anthemis nobilis) and lavender (lavandula angustifolia), among others, in a carrier oil, can be used in a roll-on applicator, and applied to the temples and nape of the neck.2
The essential oils of peppermint, chamomile or ginger (zingiber officinalis) can be effective in relieving the nausea associated with morning sickness. Ginger has been found to be more effective than vitamin B6 for relieving the severity of nausea and just as effective for decreasing the number of episodes.3 Ginger was also found to be as effective as dimenhydrinate in treating nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.4 Pieces of dried ginger can be chewed or the capsules taken internally. Peppermint and/or chamomile tea can be drunk to ease nausea. Simply inhaling peppermint and ginger essential oils can ease the nausea for many women.
A warm bath with essential oils added, can soothe your sore muscles, help you to relax, and be emotionally uplifting as well. Research has confirmed that the mother’s emotional state affects the child, both pre and post natal. Massage yourself, or even better, have a partner massage you, to help with sore muscles, relaxation, strengthening the emotional bonds and help prevent fluid retention in your legs and feet.
For years, many midwives have recommended massaging your perineum daily during the last six weeks of pregnancy, to help reduce the chances of tearing or having an episiotomy. Three trials, involving more than 2,000 women, concluded that prenatal perineal massage reduces the chances of perineal trauma, mainly episiotomies, and ongoing perineal pain.5
A resource on how to perform the massage can be found at: http://parenting.ivillage.com/pregnancy/plabor/0,,midwife_46dl,00.html
For inflammation, acne and other skin issues, toners with lavender and chamomile hydrosols are soothing and calming to the skin. Many women see changes in their skin and some develop acne, similar to when they were in their teens.
Please visit http://www.aromatichealthshop.ca/Mother/cat255520_181677.aspx for details about products for pre and postpartum health.
Please look for Part 2, in using essential oils for Labour and Postpartum.
1. Attempt of preventive treatment of striae gravidarum using preventive massage ointment administration. Wierrani F, Kozak W, Schramm W, Grünberger W. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1992;104(2):42-4. PMID: 1609525
2. Effect of peppermint and eucalyptus oil preparations on neurophysiological and experimental algesimetric headache parameters. Göbel H, Schmidt G, Soyka D. Cephalalgia. 1994 Jun;14(3):228-34; discussion 182. PMID: 7954745
3. Comparing ginger and vitamin B6 for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy: a randomised controlled trial. Ensiyeh J, Sakineh MA. Midwifery. 2008 Feb 11. PMID: 18272271
4. A randomized comparison of ginger and dimenhydrinate in the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Pongrojpaw D, Somprasit C, Chanthasenanont A. J Med Assoc Thai. 2007 Sep;90(9):1703-9. PMID: 17957907
5. Antenatal perineal massage for reducing perineal trauma. Antenatal perineal massage for reducing perineal trauma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Jan 25;(1):CD005123. PMID: 16437520