Know-how: essential oils in pregnancy

Although some oils are dangerous during pregnancy, many have great benefits and it would be a shame for you to miss out

Although some essential oils are not advisable during pregnancy, there are some valuable natural sources of remedies to help with sleep and to ease aches and pains, even if herbal medicine is not deemed safe.
So what is safe and how should you use it?

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Oils to avoid during pregnancy

  • Clary sage
  • Rosemary
  • Majoram
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Juniper
  • Melissa
  • Myrrh
  • Comfrey
  • Jasmine
  • Basil

Safe oils in pregnancy
There are some wonderful, aromatic oils that are safe to use when you are expecting a baby, however you should still make sure you are only using a couple of drops at a time:
Neroli, petitgrain, ylang ylang and the sumptuous mandarin, tangerine and lavender. (Indeed, lavender is great for you and for your baby before, during and after birth.

There are some other oils which are fine to use later into your pregnancy these include rose and geranium.
For many reasons, including heightened senstivity to smells and nausea, it is not wise to use any rich oils in the first thee months of pregnancy.

How to use oils

A couple of drops of safe oils in your bath can be very soothing. Massage your legs in the water, but do not use the oils undiluted directly on your skin.

You could use the oils to scent your room for some valuable downtime relaxing or doing gentle antenatal exercises.
If you find your muscles are tense or you have a headache, try putting some oil, heavily diluted, onto a cooling flannel and using it as a compress.

If you are getting a massage, which can be a real teat during pregnancy, make sure your aromatherapist or masseur knows you are pregnant. Preferably visit one who is specially trained to massage pregnant women, and discuss with her what oils she uses.

Mixing oils
Ask at the chemist or health shop where you bought the oils, how to safely mix them for pregnancy. Or buy them already diluted.

If diluting yourself, use a simple ‘carrier’ oil like almond, at a ratio of one drop of essential oil to at least five or sex drops of carrier oil.

Note that the named oils in the box above, that are unsafe to use in pregnancy, are unsafe in essential oil form. Basil, for example, is fine to use in food.

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