Pregnancy can be fun, enjoyable, and stressful at the same time. If you feel tired, fatigued, and strained, you may want to consider using aromatherapy. But, is aromatherapy during pregnancy safe?
What is aromatherapy?
Briefly, aromatherapy uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds for improving psychological or physical well-being. Greeks, Egyptians, Indians, and Chinese ancient civilizations have used aromatherapy for a number of different ailments, including mental issues. Essential oils are known to be very aromatic and, hence, its name. Most scented oils are used with a carrier oil for massage, mixed with water, or dispersed with a vaporizer to diffuse the highly concentrated smell.
Using essential oils during pregnancy
The use of aromatherapy during pregnancy is controversial. Some experts recommend pregnant mothers to avoid aromatherapy altogether because of the potential effects of concentrated oils on the fetus. On the other hand, many women reported amazing benefits after using these oils, especially for stress-relief and anxiety, and their babies are perfectly healthy. If you have insomnia during pregnancy, you may want to discuss using aromatherapy with your doctor.
Please, note that there is not enough scientific data nor conclusive evidence on the subject of safety of aromatherapy use during pregnancy. Most of the plant oils are known to contain chemicals which can be absorbed through the skin. This means that these chemicals may also have the capability to cross the placenta and reach your fetus. So far, the little available data do not suggest that aromatherapy can cause miscarriages or birth defects. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to consult with your doctor before trying it.
Things to know
- First and foremost, avoid using essential oils in the first three months of your pregnancy. This is the ‘high-risk’ time frame and you should not take any chances. Of course, you will find many anecdotes online of mothers stating how safe aromatherapy was for them during the entire pregnancy. However, their experience does not mean it is going to be your experience.
- Talk to your doctor. Every woman has a unique body and it is important to understand if you have specific health concerns or issues that need attention. Have an open discussion with your physician before making a decision.
- NEVER use an essential oil directly on your skin. Diffusion is the best way to use aromatherapy oils safely. If you are looking for a massage, always mix the oil with carrier oils. Keep in mind that you need to reduce the concentration of the essential oil to the best possible extent.
- DO NOT use any oil for a very long time. Also, keep all oils away from your belly and eyes.
- If you are keen on using aroma oils with a diffuser, do not use the vaporizer for more than 15 minutes per hour. Don’t let the scent overpower your mind at any point. And remember that you are more prone to nausea during pregnancy.
- You can try some of the most frequently used oils, such as Roman chamomile, Ylang-ylang, lavender, frankincense, and ginger. Again, do talk to your doctor, before using any oil on your body.
- Some of the oils you should avoid include basil, rosemary and peppermint.
If you are using beauty products that have essential oils, there is probably nothing to worry about, since the concentration of oils in them is very low. Nevertheless, talk to your doctor if you have any concern.