3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Aromatherapy in Pregnancy

Aromatherapy in Pregnancy

In aromatherapy, essential oils, which are extracted from plants, are applied to the skin or inhaled. These oils can have a beneficial effect on the mind and body: some are relaxing, while others are energizing. This is due not just to the scent of the oil but also to the chemicals that the oils contain. Usually, the oils are mixed with a 'carrier'oil, such as grapeseed oil, or added to water.

It is best not to use any essential oils during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Before using any oil you should do a patch test on your arm to check for any adverse skin reactions. Certain oils should not be used at all during pregnancy (see box below) and, if you have any doubts about the suitability of an oil, consult a qualified aromatherapist.

How to use essential oils

Always dilute oils in water or use them in a carrier oil and do not use them more than three times a week.

Footbath: Add 2-3 drops to a bowl of warm water.

Inhalation: Add 3 drops of essential oil to warm water and inhale the vapour. Alternatively, put a drop or two on a handkerchief and inhale.

Fragrance burner: Heat 1-2 drops of oil, diluted in water.

Bath: Stir 4-6 drops of oil into the warm water. Do not use soap and do not stay in the bath for more than 20 minutes.

Massage: Mix 5 drops of essential oil with 25 ml of grapeseed oil.

Compress: Add 3-4 drops of oil to a bowlful of warm water. Soak a flannel in the water then wring it out.

Essential oils to use

  • From 12 weeks of pregnancy citrus oils in a fragrance burner for 'uplifting' your mood and revitalizing you, although you should avoid going out in the sunlight if they are applied directly to the skin
  • From 24 weeks of pregnancy camomile oil for relaxation and insomnia.
  • From 28 weeks of pregnancy lavender oil for relaxation and insomnia.
  • In the final weeks neroli oil for stress and insomnia.
Aromatherapy In Pregnancy
Essential oils to avoid

  • During pregnancy cajuput, celery seed, cinnamon leaf, citronella, clary sage, fennel, jasmine absolute, lavandin, lavender (before 28 weeks), marjoram (sweet), may chang, myrrh, niaouli, rosemary, spike lavender, tagetes, yarrow.
  • If you have high blood pressure rosemary, thyme (red).
  • If you have a family history of allergy, asthma or eczema nut or wheatgerm oils.