Aromatherapy in pregnancy and birth


What is aromatherapy? Click here for more detailed information.


Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils designed to treat the whole person rather than just symptoms.


During pregnancy you may suffer from various conditions including muscular aches and pains, decreased circulation, anxiety, and so on. Aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage can help you deal with these conditions better.


In many ancient societies, essential oils have been widely used to help alleviate the conditions associated with pregnancy and to help smooth the transition to motherhood both physically and emotionally.


How can aromatherapy help pregnant women?


Aromatherapy can help alleviate the following conditions:


Fatigue, breast tenderness, pain caused by varicose veins, edema, anxiety, depression, nausea and morning sickness, muscular aches and pains, back strain, muscular cramps,  indigestion, haemorrhoids


Aromatherapy can also help prevent stretch marks, help aid relaxation, treat urinary infections and fungal infections.


Are there any essential oils that shouldn’t be used during pregnancy?


Because it is better to err on the side of caution, the essential oils listed below are not recommended during pregnancy because of their association with hormonal stimulation*. However, many of these oils could be safely used if they are not to be applied to the skin but are inhaled only. In addition, as much as possible, in the first trimester of pregnancy you should try to avoid regular use of essential oils (and any other fragranced products).


*It must be noted that no research has proved that essential oils (those which are normally available for sale) are harmful during pregnancy when used within normal and safe guidelines. Many aromatherapists believe that the inhalation of almost any essential oil during pregnancy is safe.


The following oils should be avoided during pregnancy: aniseed, basil, camphor, clary sage (except after week 38),  clove, cinnamon, cypress (for the first 5 months), fennel, hyssop, jasmine (except during labour), juniper berry, melissa, myrrh,  sweet marjoram,  oregano,  parsley, peppermint (could be used in the second trimester for nausea through inhalation), pennyroyal,  rose (except after week 38), sage, tarragon, thyme


Which oils are completely safe during pregnancy when used as advised? 

Bergamot,  grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lime, mandarin, neroli, orange, petitgrain, ylang ylang


The following essential oils can be used with a local application during pregnancy: eucalyptus, geranium, sandalwood, tea tree


How can I use aromatherapy during pregnancy?

massage/self massage, baths creams/lotions/oils/gels, footbaths, compresses, inhalations, oil burner


Essential oil preparations can also be used with reflex massage to bring on labour once the due date has past and also to reduce anxiety and fear during labour and increase concentration. They can also be used as part of the opening phase helping the body relax and the cervix to open and also to speed up or slow down contractions if needed.


Aromatherapy can also be of use after birth to help heal cuts or tears to the vagina, to cope with fatigue and post-partum depression. You should wait until the 6 week check up to proceed with massages again.


Check the dates on the home page to see when the next aromatherapy in pregnancy and birth workshop will be offered.