Using essential oils during pregnancy and to help with childbirth can be very beneficial in a variety of ways, because they operate on both a physiological and a psychological level. Lavender is the most useful oil during pregnancy, not only because it is very safe but also because of its predominantly calming/healing/balancing character.
Relaxation and rest are the two very important factors during pregnancy in order that the mother and child enjoy their togetherness. Lavender oil is very useful for this purpose. It is a lovely all-rounder.
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Because of the sensitivity of the growing child, however, all essential oils (including lavender) should only be used at half the usual amount during pregnancy.
An excellent oil to help prevent stretch marks can be made by blending 3 drops of lavender with 1 tbs wheatgerm oil – for light massage daily to the belly and breasts. This oil can also help to get rid of existing stretch marks. Wheatgerm oil can also be rubbed into the perineum to help prepare for the birth.
Aromatic bathing is a great pleasure and relief, especially towards the end of pregnancy. Add 3-5 drops of lavender to the bath, and relax in the aromatic vapours.
Gentle massage using lavender (in dilution) can be very enjoyable during pregnancy and can help with a wide variety of problems such as back pain, anxiety or fatigue.
Haemorrhoids are common during pregnancy. To relieve itching, massage the affected area with an oily cream or a soapy solution to which a few drops each of lavender, bergamot and geranium have been added.
Pain relief during labour can be aided by firm massage to the lower back using the following blend: 3 drops each of lavender and clary sage in 1 tbs carrier oil.
During the birth, and in preparing to bring the baby into the home, the use of vaporized oils to scent the environment can be very conducive to creating an uplifting, relaxed mood. They also prevent the spread of airborne bacteria. Lavender has been used since Roman times to help facilitate childbirth and is the most traditional oil to vaporize in the room during labour.
To help heal the perineum after the birth, add 5 drops of lavender to a shallow bath, and soak. Repeat each day.
Postnatal depression can be helped by the use of lavender in burners, baths and for massage.
Some essential oils should be avoided altogether during pregnancy, including basil, clove, cinnamon leaf, hyssop, juniper, marjoram, myrrh, sage and thyme. The following oils are also best avoided during the first four months of pregnancy: fennel, peppermint and rosemary.