Essential oils are a hot topic today, but it's hard to find information on oils for pregnancy and birth – so that's what we're going to discuss in today's video, podcast, and article.
Topics I Cover in This Episode
The biggest question most of us have is about safety – are essential oils safe to use in pregnancy?
It's always a good idea to ask this question – don't just assume that because something is “natural” it's safe to use. That's not always the case. You should consider anything you put into your body at any time, even if it's herbal, natural, or whatever. Evaluate it and its safety first.
There are differing opinions on essential oils and their safety. This article is going to focus on pregnancy and birth and not on babies – the guidelines may be different for babies.
Here are safe uses:
Other uses are debated:
One of the issues with determining safety is all the conflicting advice. You'll see different advice even within the same resource – one resource will advise diffusing an oil for a particular purpose, but at a different point will state that ou shouldn't diffuse oils in pregnancy. Honestly I believe this is because we don't really know for sure, so it becomes a “cover all the bases thing.” Think of it like vitamin and supplement bottles that say on them “not for use when pregnant or nursing” even if you know it's OK to use (like Vitamin C). They just want to cover their bases.
We want to look at how beneficial oils can really be – for example, diffusing oils can have powerful emotional benefits that really help during pregnancy.
It comes down to what you research and what you feel is safe. I think it's a good idea to look at yourself and look at your reactions to different substances. Some women have much stronger reactions and they know they should avoid something that another woman may really benefit from. Certainly if an oil doesn't feel right to you, you should avoid using it. Or use it in a more subtle manner, such as in cleaning products or a drop or two for flavoring in a large batch recipe (like muffins, for example).
Having said that, let's move onto the specific oils:
Lavender essential oil is considered very safe and gentle, even for children and babies. It's so gentle it can be applied directly to the skin without a carrier oil and is useful for applying to bruises, etc. Lavender has antimicrobial properties and antidepressant properties. That's where it can be really nice during pregnancy! It also tends to be pretty relaxing (I personally am not a huge fan of lavender but but even I find the scent to be a little bit relaxing!).
There have actually been studies done that show that lavender and rose oil help women with postpartum depression. It was combined with rose oil in a carrier oil and used for massaging postpartum women. The women who had the massage with that oil showed greater improvement over women who had a massage without the oil!
We can see clinical evidence that the oils have benefit from an emotional standpoint. I feel like that can be true in pregnancy and in the immediate postpartum too. Lavender is definitely an oil for every mama and mama-to-be to have in her toolkit!