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Aromatherapy and Pregnancy

The healing power of aromatherapy is extremely helpful during pregnancy. Aromatherapy benefits can help to lessen the niggly, uncomfortable problems, such as nausea (morning sickness), swollen hands and feet, general aches and pains and fatigue. They can also help in relaxing and looking after the body as it slowly goes through changes. But do remember to consult your doctor if you are evenly slightly unsure of your health.

In The Beginning (First to Third Months)

first to third monthThe first three months of pregnancy are the most taxing for your body. Taking proper rest and relaxing is very important during this period. Burning one of the relaxing base oils in the bedroom can help in sleeping. A sudden increase in the hormone levels dur--ing pregnancy, activates the sebaceous glands, which increases the oiliness of the skin and hair. This, however, gets back to normal after a few months.

During pregnancy one should always relax before going to bed. An aromatherapy bath can be very relaxing. Burning one of the following blends of oil in the room can also do wonders.
  • Camomile and lavender
  • Sandalwood
  • Neroli and ylang ylang

  • The Middle Months (Fourth to Sixth Months)
    These months are accompanied by nausea, tiredness and irritability. This is the best time to start making the body more flexible and learn various techniques of relaxing and breathing. Aromatherapy oils can prove to be very advantageous and help relax better.
    At this time, one should religiously look after the skin. Taking care of the skin at this period of life will pay dividends later. The increased weight of the body also puts extra strain on the pelvis, back and legs. Varicose veins and spider pains also begin to appear during pregnancy, so one should take as many preventive measures as possible. Support tights, regular moderate exercise and aromatherapy treatment can prove to be of great help.
    Constipation can also be a problem in the early stages of pregnancy, so use of laxatives should be avoided. One should emphasize on eating a high-fiber diet including raw foods and plenty of water. Aromatherapy can also help get rid of constipation.
    Morning Sickness or Nausea during Pregnancy
    To overcome the feeling of nausea, mix up a blend of two drops each of fennel, lavender and sandalwood oils with 4 fl oz (100 ml) of a carrier oil. Massage it on the abdomen of the pregnant woman at regular intervals during the day. One can also dab it under the nose so that it can be inhaled. Inhaling peppermint oil can also relieve morning sickness, but massaging with peppermint oil during pregnancy is not advisable.
    During pregnancy, almost every woman tend to vomit. If a woman is regularly vomiting then mix a blend of two drops each of lemon, fennel and rose oil with 4fl oz (100 ml) of carrier oil and gently massage it into the upper and lower abdomen. One can also inhale this blend.

    Always try to relieve constipation by watching the diet. Eating more of raw and unrefined food and increasing the liquid intake can help deal with constipation. A helpful aromatherapy mixture is three drops of black pepper and three drops of fennel oil in 4fl oz (100 ml of a carrier oil. Massage his mixture gently long the lower abdomen (starting from inside the right hipbone, across past the navel and back down toward the left hip bone. This should be repeated several times daily.

    Tired legs/varicose veins
    Add three drops of lemon and three drops of lavender oil to 4 fl oz (100 ml) of a light carrier oil, such as grape seed oil. Massage daily (twice a day, if possible from the ankle firmly upto the knee, then firmly upto the top of the thigh. Repeat these movements until the oil is absorbed. After the treatment try to spend at least half an hour with both feet raised above hip level.

    Note: Try to avoid very hot baths as they can weaken the capillaries and cause little broken veins under the skin, particularly on the thighs. Pregnant women are extra vulnerable to these.

    The Final Months (Seven to Nine Months)

    Final monthBy this time, the woman carries an extra 6.75 Kilograms (15 pounds) or more of weight. The stamina also tends to decrease. One gets tired easily and often feels dizzy. Sleep may also become a problem as it is difficult to find a comfortable position in bed.

    Lying on one side with a cushion under the uppermost leg, with slightly bent knees can be helpful. The cushion will act as a support and will lesson strain on the lower back. Towards the end of pregnancy a lot of woman find their hands and feet swell up especially during hot weather. This can be controlled by drinking a lot of water that will aid kidney function. Trying an appropriate aromatherapy treatment can also be of great help.

    Difficulty in Sleeping
    At this point in life, the woman needs and expects a lot of care and attention especially from her husband. So all husbands need to pull up their socks and give the best treatment and more attention to the pregnant wife. If the woman is facing difficulty in sleeping, the husband should gently massage her lower back, shoulders and neck with an aromatherapy blend made from three drops of lavender oil in 4 fl oz (100 ml) of a carrier oil. This acts as a sedative and gives a calming and relaxing effect.

    Drinking camomile tea before going to bed can also help in sleeping.

    Fluid Retention
    Mix two drops of eucalyptus oil, two drops of geranium oil and two drops of lavender oil with 4 fl oz (100 ml) of a light carrier oil. Rub this gently on the lower legs and hands. Massage with firm upper strokes on the legs from ankle to knee, on the arms from hand to elbow. One can also try this blend in a cool bath.
    Sore Nipples
    The breasts grow larger in pregnancy and the nipples become dark and soft. From the middle months onwards drops of colostrum (the baby`s first food if one feeds) are secreted from the nipples and sometimes they can become sore and cracked.
    The following aromatherapy treatment is healing and soothing and can be continued while one breast feed. Add six drops of marigold oil (often known as calendula) to 4fl oz (100 ml) of a carrier oil (wheat germ oil is a good option). Apply two or three times a day. Marigold oil can also be added to a fragrance free cream.
    Gentle Ways To Massage
    Massage is an excellent way to know your partner and the changes taking place in her body during pregnancy. Extra care must be taken while when massaging on more vulnerable areas such as tummy and lower back.
    During pregnancy, the amount of aromatherapy oil added in carrier oil should be reduced to half because the body is much more sensitive to oils. Even a small amount of aromatherapy oil will be enough for an effective treatment.
    A good massage during pregnancy helps ease tension which is often present during pregnancy.
    If the pregnant woman is more than four months pregnant she will find it uncomfortable to lie on her front. Her partner should help her lie on her side supported by a cushion, or massage her back while she is in a sitting position, with a cushion to lean on for support.
  • Stroke gently down the spine from the base of the neck to the lower back. Do this slowly and evenly and repeat, using alternate hands, twenty times.
  • With both hands, gently stroke down the sides of the neck, over the shoulders and down the arms, coming off at the hands. Repeat ten times.
  • With both hands, stroke gently up the spine, round the shoulder blades in a figure-of-eight, then gently down the sides of the body. Repeat ten times.
  • Stroke across the back, starting from the lower back on the right hand side. Stroke in from the outside of the body towards the spine with alternate hands, moving gently up the neck towards the shoulders. Repeat several times on the right side, then work on the left side in the same way.
  • Place one hand on your partner`s lower back, place the other hand on top, and allow the heat from your hands to build up. This is very soothing to a sore back.
  • Repeat step 1.

  • Now work on your partner`s neck to ease tension.
  • Knead along from the outer shoulders towards the base of the neck. Repeat four or five times.
  • With your fingertips, work in little circular movements from the base of the neck upto the base of the skull. Repeat four or five times.
  • Stroke down the sides of the neck and out to the shoulders, very slowly. Repeat five or six times.
  • Now, turn your partner on to her back. (She may like the support of a rolled-up towel under her knees.)

  • Massaging the Tummy
    Gently stroke the chosen oil to your partner`s tummy.
  • Gently stroke down the tummy from between the breasts to the pubic bone. Repeat twenty times with alternate hands.
  • Gently circle around the tummy with the flat of your hand in a clockwise direction. Do not apply any pressure. Think of this as a way to sooth and calm your partner. Repeat five or six times.
  • Stroke in from the hip bone, using alternate hands, gradually moving up the body to the side of the chest. Repeat several times on each side.
  • This movement is helpful for an aching, tired back. Reach under your partner`s waist with both hands. Now slide them out from under her back, lifting gently as you do so. Bring your hands gently over her tummy. Repeat five or six times.
  • Repeat step 1.
  • This massage is mainly for relaxation. The following aromatherapy blends are recommended.
    Use six drops of aromatherapy oil to 4 fl oz (100 ml) of carrier oil.
  • Camomile and lavender
  • Frankincense and neroli
  • Ylang Ylang and sandalwood
  • Geranium and rose

  • Alternatively, use any of the above oils singly in a carrier oil.

    Help for Stretch Marks
    Stretch marks are little tears in the tissue beneath the skin surface. They first show up as red or purplish marks which fade to a silvery white scar. They are caused by the skin stretching as the weight increases. The body is more prone to stretch marks during pregnancy when the weight gain is rapid.
    Aromatherapy stretch mark oil Recipe
    Add three drops of frankincense oil and three drops of tangerine oil to a carrier blend of 2 fl oz (50 ml) of avocado oil and 2 fl oz (50 ml) of wheat germ oil. Frankincense has a rejuvenating effect on the skin and tangerine oil is rich in vitamin C and helps to keep the skin elastic.
    Note: If this blend is used since the beginning of the pregnancy, paying special attention to the sensitive areas like tummy, thighs etc. its can show exceptional results. A good time to do this is at night, after bath, when the skin is soft.
    Breast Massage
    During pregnancy the size of the breasts increases and therefore they are pone to stretch marks and tissue damage. The following breast massage will prove beneficial.
  • Apply the stretch mark oil to the breasts.
  • Gently work around each breast in a circular movement with the whole hand. Repeat five or six times.
  • Now place the heel of each hand on either side of each breast and gently stroke in towards the nipple. Repeat five or six times.
  • Next, move the hands to the top and underside of the breast and again stroke in to the nipple. Repeat five or six times.
  • Gently stretch each nipple with the fingertips.
  • Repeat step 2.
  • Aromatherapy During Labour
    Aromatherapy and PregnancyThe experience of labour is different for every woman. However the touch of their partner and his mere presence gives them reassurance and the courage to bear the pains.

    Aromatherapy massage during labour helps to relax and cope with the contractions. It can also reduce the tension and fear the woman will naturally feel because of its calming effect on the nervous system
    Tummy Massage
    This is helpful in the earlier stages of labour and the movements are soothing when the contractions feel like period pains. Use three drops of camomile or lavender oil in 4 fl oz (100 ml) of a light carrier oil.
  • Using relaxed hands, make a figure-of-eight movement across the tummy and under the bump. This movement should be fairly light, especially if the tummy is tender.
  • Gently stroke around the bump, using the fingertips in a circular movement.
  • Repeat these movements as necessary.

  • Back Soother
    Use three drops of camomile or lavender oil in 4 fl oz (100 ml) of carrier oil.
  • With the heel of the hand apply pressure to the back. Gently move the hand in an anti-clockwise circular movement while keeping firm contact with the skin.
  • Place one hand on top of the other on the back and allow heat to build up under the hands.

  • These movements are helpful for contractions felt in the lower back.
    Note: If you are feeling too sensitive to be massaged or even touched on the body, try the following aromatherapy relaxes.
    Aromatherapy Relaxers
    Face soother
    Add a few drops of lavender or rose oil to some chilled rosewater. Dip a small face sponge into the mixture, then smooth it over the forehead, down the face and neck, gently and rhythmically. The flowery aroma is very comforting and helps to take your mind away from the labour pains.
    Scented water soother
    Kneeling in a deep, warm bath can be soothing in the earlier stages of labour, and the addition of the relaxing aromatherapy oils can intensify this experience. One can choose from the following oils:
  • Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Lavender
  • Geranium

  • Your partner can help take your mind off the pains by rhythmically pouring warm, scented water down your back.
    Hand soother
    When the contractions become difficult, this simple touch is very reassuring and helps to create a feeling of safety.
  • Ask your partner to rub a little lavender oil (in a carrier oil) into the solar plexus area on your hand.
  • Now ask your partner to gently stroke and soothe your hand, keeping a reassuring contact with you. Concentrate on relaxing and focusing into the touch.

  • For Your Partner
    If your partner is becoming weary, inhaling the following can help. Inhale neat:
  • Rosemary
  • Petigrain
  • Neroli
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint