Pregnancy can be a very special, sacred time in life, and it can also be very scary with a lot of uncertainty about what is safe to take to help alleviate discomforts that come up. There are many over the counter medicines that are unsafe to take during pregnancy, so often mothers are left feeling miserable and unable to alleviate their ailments without potentially harming their baby.
I am currently pregnant (due in April!) with my second child and I take great comfort in knowing that I can actually do something to help with the many pregnancy ailments I encounter every day through the use of natural, plant based, certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils.
In this article, I will go over many common pregnancy situations and how to help your body (and baby!) thrive by using top quality essential oils. Stay tuned for future articles on how to use oils for postpartum care as well caring for babies and kiddos.
The information I share is based on my personal experience as a mom, several published studies (I am a researcher at heart), and I highly recommend the book Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth, and Babies by Stephanie Fritz. It is a great go-to resource.
First let me address a question that I know you are dying to ask: Are essential oils safe to use during pregnancy? In a word, YES. You may have heard that you need to take extreme caution when considering the use of essential oils during pregnancy and I can say from my own experience that I have used essential oils to enhance my pregnancy and take care of every day things that come up. doTERRA is the only brand I trust and their official statement regarding essential oils and pregnancy is as follows:
There are no specific reasons or contraindications that we know of that pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use doTerra essential oils and have not found any issues in this regard. We always recommend that pregnant women or people under physicians care, consult their doctor before trying any new products.
Why are doTERRA oils safe to use when other essential oils might not be safe? doTERRA oils are 100% pure and every batch is certified by a 3rd party – often it is the filler, pesticide or chemical solvent used in the extraction method that people are allergic to, and doTERRA does oils do not contain any of these things.
Ok, with that, lets dig in and talk about how to use essential oils!
Adjusting to Pregnancy: Oh that lovely first trimester… if you are one of the unlucky mamas who spends the first several weeks of pregnancy feeling unwell, read on sister! Ginger oil can be a lifesaver. Some people like to diffuse it in the morning or at least have a bottle near their bed so they can take a whiff while still in bed. Other people like to do the same with grapefruit or peppermint oil. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, so I suggest you try all three and see which one works for you. You can also apply 1-3 drops diluted on the ears and down the jawbone or place 1-3 drops in an empty capsule and swallow.
Supporting Digestive Health: Digestion slows during the first trimester largely resulting from pregnancy hormones slowing the rate at which the digestive tract functions, which helps you extract all possible nutrients from your food. Sounds great right? Well, the down side of that is the often painful, sluggish, bloated feelings we are left with.
To help move things along, you can try doTERRA’s Digestive blend, Lemon, Peppermint, or Fennel. Take 1-3 drops in water or in a veggie capsule and/or massage on abdomen with a carrier oil. I personally used a little lemon in my water all day long and loved the results!
Energy: What pregnant woman doesn’t experience a lag in energy? If you are like many women who don’t have the luxury of taking a nap when the wave of fatigue hits like a ton of bricks, you may find yourself fantasizing about a giant cup of coffee… but, think twice before gulping down that cuppajoe. A highly publicized 2008 study found that women who consumed 200 mg or more of caffeine a day had double the risk of miscarriage over those who took in no caffeine. A study in Denmark found that the risk of stillbirth more than doubled in women who drank eight cups of coffee or more each day compared with women who didn’t drink coffee.
Other research has shown that newborns whose mother consumed more than 500 mg of caffeine a day had faster heart rates, breathing rates, and spent more time awake in the first few days after birth.
(A cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine give or take depending on how strong you made it! )
One thing’s for sure: You’ll feel better if you don’t consume a lot of caffeine. It’s a stimulant, so it raises your heart rate. Plus, it can make you feel jittery and cause insomnia. Caffeine can also contribute to heartburn by stimulating the secretion of stomach acid. Both are common during pregnancy anyway, so we really don’t want to be exacerbating the problem!
These effects may be more pronounced as your pregnancy progresses. That’s because your body’s ability to break down caffeine slows, so you end up with a higher level of it in your bloodstream. Did you know that during the second trimester, it takes almost twice as long to clear caffeine from your body as when you’re not pregnant? It’s true. And, during the third trimester, it takes nearly three times as long.
This can affect the amount of caffeine that crosses the placenta and reaches your baby, who can’t process it efficiently. (This is true for newborn babies as well, which is why it’s also a good idea to limit caffeine if you’re breastfeeding, especially for the first few months.)
Finally, there’s one more reason to cut back on coffee and tea, whether it’s caffeinated or not. These beverages contain compounds called phenols that make it harder for your body to absorb iron. This is particularly important because many pregnant women are already low on iron. If you have coffee or tea, drink it between meals, so it’ll have less of an effect on your iron absorption.
When you are feeling fatigued and need an energy boost, place 1-2 drops of lemon, Grapefruit, wild orange, Peppermint, Invigorating Blend, or Joyful Blend on the palms of your hands then rub them together and inhale deeply. You can also diffuse any of these oils or apply them to your shoulders, neck or the bottoms of the feet. My personal favorite trick to increase my energy is to rub peppermint oil on the bottoms of my feet. In fact, I have it on right now as I type this!
Sleep Challenges: You know what I’m talking about… tossing and turning all night long – and feeling EXHAUSTED in the morning. Not fun at all (especially when you have a 2-year-old!). A sleeping pill sounds pretty tempting at this point, but – they can be habit-forming, and if you get habituated, the baby might get addicted in utero and could have withdrawal problems after birth. There’s also Danish data suggesting that when pregnant women use barbiturates (like sleeping pills) regularly they may lower their baby’s IQ and cause problems with the child’s bilirubin metabolism after birth (which can lead to jaundice or even brain damage).
To assist with sleep I like to use a relaxing blend of oils like Vetiver, Balance, the Calming Blend, Cederwood or Lavender. I usually apply a few drops of one or two of the above mentioned oils to my feet. A great recipe of oils that can contribute to a quality night of sleep is what we lovingly call the “liquid relax-roller” it is as follows: 20 drops lavender, 7 drops vetiver, 5 drops myrrh then fill rest of roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil. Rub along the back of your neck, brainstem, heart center, and bottoms of feet before bed and then prepare to dream on baby!
Stretch marks: One of my worst fears during my first pregnancy – luckily there is oil for that too! The Anti Aging Blend is a pre-made roll-on blend, so it is a perfect and already diluted. You can add additional coconut oil to help massage it over a large area more easily.
Feeling Swollen? I understand. Lemon oil is great for helping to rid the body of excess water retention. Drink 3-4 quarts of water every day and add 3-5 drop of lemon oil to your glass pitcher to consume throughout the day. You can also massage 3-5 drops of Cypress, Lavender, or ginger diluted with coconut oil onto your legs, ankles, and feet. I’ve found this to be a lifesaver, especially when my husband massages it on me!
I have found that essential oils have given me relief from the typical woes of pregnancy and even help me feel (mostly!) great. It’s such a special time in your life and you deserve to be feeling great too! Feel free to comment below with any questions or personal experiences you have had.
Article Written by Jill Muhm
Jill has a BA., M.A., AADP Certified Nutritionist, and is an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor. This amazing mama knows her stuff! Connect with her on her website: healthymuhm.com