When used correctly, the volatile liquid components of aromatic plants known as essential oils may help to alleviate some of the minor discomforts associated with pregnancy.
Pregnancy and labour place heavy demands on the female body. Enormous hormonal changes occur as soon as an egg is fertilised – and it is these hormonal changes that give rise to pregnancy symptoms such as:
Oedema (swollen legs and ankles)
Essential oils may assist in the relief of these symptoms via inhalation and massage – hence providing both physical and emotional benefits. Towards the end of their first trimester, many women may experience a heightened sense of smell. Inhalation is one of the safest ways to enjoy essential oils during pregnancy, and when used under proper dilution – most oils should not cause any problems during a healthy pregnancy. The first three months of pregnancy are when the most care must be taken with essential oils and massage. However, it is important to note that the pure essential oils extracted from plants are highly concentrated substances, and certain oils that have the potential to stimulate the uterine muscles may best be avoided during pregnancy – for example:
How can essential oils be used to alleviate pregnancy symptoms?
Nausea is due to a particular chemoreceptor being stimulated. This chemoreceptor trigger zone (CTZ) and associated vomiting centre are located in the medulla – the lower part of the brain stem which connects the spinal cord to the cerebellum.
Stimulation of this CTZ triggers nerve impulses along several cranial nerves, which lead to the stomach and diaphragm and abdomen muscles. This is what results in the vomiting action. Nausea is the awareness of the vomiting centre being stimulated.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is active in the autonomic nervous system – the system that is concerned with controlling automatic bodily functions. Acetylcholine can stimulate the receptor sites involved in the vomiting action – so by inhibiting the uptake of Acetylcholine, the vomiting action can be prevented.
Some essential oils which are known to act as Acetylcholine inhibitors are:
2. Back ache & oedema
Massage with essential oils diluted in a carrier oil during the pregnancy helps to promote circulation, and may assist with reducing the incidence of varicose veins, muscle cramps and the fluid retention associated with oedema.
Mood Alchemy’s Pregnancy blend has been specifically developed to support women during the times they experience pregnancy related symptoms. Our Pregnancy blend utilises the active properties of Monoterpene ester compounds (found in Mandarin and Lavender) which combine synergistically to balance the emotions and soothe the spirits.
Pregnancy has a fresh, sweet aroma which can also be deeply relaxing.
For any medical condition – always consult a qualified medical practitioner.
Aromatherapy is a complementary healing practice and should be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment.
Individuals should exercise their independent judgment in determining the appropriateness for a particular purpose or use.