All pregnancies are different for each person and issues may manifest in different ways. Since the sense of smell is heightened and can be triggering during pregnancy, it is important for any blend to have a pleasing aroma, but there will always be the chance even if it smells good that it may trigger nausea or headaches.
There is some stigma about using aromatherapy and essential oils during pregnancy and the internet is rife with conflicting viewpoints on the subject matter. The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) Pregnancy Guidelines state that because a thicker layer of fat develops during pregnancy under the skin, this acts as an extra safety barrier between the baby and where the essential oils are applied topically. Essential Oils are fat soluble, and the fatty layers give them a slow-release into the tissues - they are still metabolized and excreted normally. Essential oils will cross the placental barrier, but the amount used on the skin is minimally absorbed and the amount that would reach the placenta is minuscule if the proper dilutions are being used. The recommended dilution ratio during pregnancy is 1% or less.
Always follow general safety precautions using essential oils during pregnancy:
- Avoid prolonged use
- Avoid undiluted "neat" application, though there are some exceptions
- Avoid internal use of essential oils during pregnancy
- Be cautious of any new or preexisting sensitivities, allergies, or contraindications
- Understand the safety precautions of each oil as it pertains to your health and well being
- Do not get essential oils in your eyes
- Keep essential oils away from other children if present
First Trimester: Weeks 1 - 12
You may not know that you are pregnant until after week 4 but can still start focusing on the changes occurring in your body and what you need during the remaining months of your first trimester. You might start experiencing morning sickness, moodiness, cravings, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with the early stages of pregnancy. Aromatherapy can help ease some of these symptoms and help you along the way through every stage of your pregnancy.
- Focus: Digestion, Hormonal Balance, Stress, and Spirituality.
- Areas of Concern: Fatigue, Nausea, Dizziness, Mood Swings, Dry Skin, Breast Tenderness, Backaches, Cramping, Emotional and Psychological Imbalances
- Application Methods: Inhalers, Aromatic Sprays, Bath Oil, Roll-on Blends, Aromatherapy Patches
Second Trimester: Weeks 13 - 28
Some of the early symptoms of pregnancy may reside a little, but new concerns may develop during the second trimester. It is common to feel anxiety as the pregnancy will seem a lot more real during the second trimester as you become more noticeably pregnant. It is important to stay active and healthy throughout your pregnancy and you can continue to use or change your aromatherapy solutions to manage sensitivities to smell and any new issues that may arise. You may start experiencing back pain and as the baby grows you will start to gain weight and may be concerned about stretch marks.
- Focus: Digestive, Urinary, Circulatory, Musculoskeletal, Spiritual/Emotional, Psychological, Immune Support
- Areas of Concern: Dizziness, Dry Skin, Stretch Marks, Sensitive Skin, Backaches, Leg Cramps, Heartburn, Urinary Tract Infections, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Emotional, Psychological
- Application Methods: Butters, Salves, Gels, Cleansers, Scrubs, Inhalers, Roll-ons, Aromatic Mists, Aromatherapy Patches
Third Trimester: Weeks 29 - 40
You might start feeling excited about the arrival of the baby not being so far away, but you will still need to support any new or recurring pregnancy symptoms that you may be having at this time in order to prepare for the process of giving birth.
- Focus: Digestion, Urinary, Musculoskeletal, Spiritual, Emotional, Psychological, Immune Support
- Areas of Concern: Heartburn, Joint swelling, Puffiness, Mobility Issues, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, Sleep, Frequent Urination, Fatigue, Emotional, Psychological
- Application Methods: Butters, Salves, Gels, Cleansers, Scrubs, Inhalers, Roll-ons, Aromatic Mist, Aromatherapy Patches
Labor & Delivery
Whether you are having a non-surgical or C-section, your needs can rapidly shift throughout the progress from the start of labor to delivery.
Whether you have a non-surgical delivery or C-section, be sure to take care of yourself during these delicate days between giving birth and taking your infant home for the first time, and beyond. Your body has undergone something major and you will need time to heal your body, mind, and spirit in addition to caring for your newborn child.
- Clark, Demetria. Aromatherapy and Herbs for Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding. Book Publishing Company, 2015.
- International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists. “PREGNANCY GUIDELINES Guidelines for Aromatherapists Working with Pregnant Clients.” International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists , IFPA, 2013, www.ifparoma.org.
- Shutes, Jade and New York Institute of Aromatic Studies. "Essential Oils and Pregnancy: For Doulas and New Moms." Workshop Materials, 2018.
- Tiran, Denise. Aromatherapy in Midwifery Practice. Singing Dragon an Imprint of Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2016.
- Tisserand, Robert, et al. Essential Oil Safety: a Guide for Health Care Professionals. 2nd ed., Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2014.