Essential oils for pregnancy and childbirth
-May 3, Caroline Blight, Living -
Meghan Markle is understood to be taking a natural, organic approach to the birth of her first baby with Prince Harry any time now. She has been spotted frequenting holistic shops and has spoken extensively in the past about her faith in nature and traditional treatments.
Certainly aromatherapy and the use of plant oils has long be used by pregnant women around the world. As many medicines are off-limits while pregnant they can offer some relief from common complaints which lead to discomfort. “Ailments, aches and pains can be common in pregnancy but at a time in your life when you’re more conscious than ever about what you’re putting into your body, it’s the perfect time to learn more about the use of essential oils – often known as ‘nature’s medicine cabinet’,” explains Miriam Greaves, hypnobirthing teacher (thelunahive.com).
Essential oils for common pregnancy complaints
There are so many essential plant oils which can help a myriad of ills in pregnancy says Miriam. “If you have heartburn just apply one drop lemon and one drop peppermint in two tablespoons of carrier oil. Apply to the breastbone in a clockwise motion using the palm of your hand when needed. You could also apply to reflex points in foot.”
If backache is troubling you then geranium, lavender and Roman Chamomile are the go-to oils. For insomnia try lavender, wild orange, Roman Chamomile, ylang ylang and/or lemon. “Nausea can be treated with ginger, peppermint or lavender simply diffused into the air or sniffed directly from bottle,” explains hypnobirthing teacher Megan Rossiter. “Or apply the oil to the hands or a tissue and inhale. Just always ensure that you’re using a good quality essential oil.”
Essential oils for labour and birth
There is speculation that Meghan will opt for a home birth at the couple’s new family home Frogmore Cottage, possibly in a birthing pool. If she is looking for an accessible and natural option to pain relief then plant oils would fit in brilliantly. “Research has shown that using essential oils during labour reduces a woman’s perception of both pain and anxiety; and in some cases even reduce the overall length of labour and bring down a raised blood pressure too!” says Megan. “So, well worth a go if you ask me!”
Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways either by putting a couple of drops onto a muslin or cloth and inhale as required or added to a carrier oil, like coconut oil and used for massage or on the skin. It can also be beneficial to fill the air with the aroma of the oils through a steam diffuser to inhale in the air. It’s also possible to add some oils to the birthing pool or a bath if you use one during labour. “Bear in mind that once an oil is on your skin, either after a bath or applied directly, it can be quite difficult to get rid of it,” says Megan. “During labour you may reach a point where you no longer like the scent, so it’s often a better idea to use a muslin or diffuser.”
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This is down to the fact that the part of our brain that processes smells, is very closely connected to the emotional and memory regions of our brains. And this is something that we can use to our advantage when it comes to giving birth.” Using essential oils, or actually any smell like a scented candle or perfume, every time you have a relaxing bath or in conjunction with the practice of hypnobirthing techniques during pregnancy, enables us to create a direct relationship between the smell, and the feeling of relaxation. “When the time comes, these smells can be used as a trigger for relaxation during labour- further aiding pain relief and reducing anxiety,” adds Megan. Oils which have been linked with reducing anxiety include rose, citrus and lavender.