I remember getting pregnant for the very first time. Every single inch of me was in uncharted territory. More than just my waistline and bra size began to change. It was nothing noticeable from the outside, but things were happening within that would mold me into who I was as a mother, forever. I began worrying more about what I put in my mouth, on my skin, what I allowed into my home, and into my mind. I began meticulously thinking about that precious little innocent child that I was chosen to protect and nourish. I wanted to be an amazing mom, not for the world, but for those ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.
At the time, I was in my last semester of nursing school, earning my bachelor’s degree, and was well aware that I couldn’t just toss any pill or syrup into my mouth anymore when discomfort would strike. I knew the side effects and potential harm they could cause my unborn child, my growing body, and eventually, even my milk supply. I knew it was time to make a change that would affect life as I knew it, but I was ready, and more than willing.
That’s where my story begins, much like most of you! You’re on a road to wellness for more than just yourself! You have a family to think of, and a home that you want to fill with goodness and intentional love. The world of holistic wellness is growing all around you, but knowing where to begin can be daunting. One of the most popular forms of alternative therapies currently making its way into most of our homes is the use of essential oils. These gifts of the earth were my gateway to health and happiness as a mother, and it’s my goal to help other curious parents feel confident enough to implement them into their own lives. Let’s begin, shall we!
You may be brand new to the thought of using essential oils, or seasoned! No matter your skill level, pregnancy is a brand new world of safety considerations and application guidelines, so it’s always a good idea to have a solid grasp before you dive in! Essential oils can be the most amazing support during those blessed days of discomfort and emotional roller coaster rides, and when used safely, are perfectly safe for both mom and baby! As an RN, and science buff, I’ve spent the last few years soaking up every ounce of knowledge possible from educated studies, and professional aromatherapists, so the compilation of data I have under my belt is one that I get really excited to share!
I always like to start my educational pieces by disclaiming that because essential oils are naturally derived compounds, they cannot be patented, and therefore are not regulated by the FDA. This is why claims about treating, healing, or curing a particular medical condition cannot be made. You will instead see me reference the oils as being supportive, encouraging, or soothing. They are not magic fairy dust, rather, they give your body the extra help that it needs to do what it was made to do!
Essential oils can be used in 3 different ways. Aromatically, topically, and internally. With pregnant mamas, we mainly stick with the first two, since internal usage can be contradicted due to the sensitive nature of pregnancy itself and potential toxicity. Supplements containing oils that are intended for ingestion, however, are often beneficial and perfectly acceptable. The few times that I do choose to use the oils internally or orally, I make sure that I am heavily diluting the essential oil in a lipid that it will emulsify throughout, such as salt, milk, or honey.
When using oils aromatically, we inhale them from a bottle, disperse them into the air using a diffuser, such as this one, or apply to a cloth or cotton for inhalation. This method is extremely supportive to the respiratory system, mood, emotions, immunity, as well as occasional digestive discomfort.
Topical use is another wonderful way to find relief in a more natural and enjoyable way. You always want to dilute your essential oils into a carrier oil of some sort before applying them to your skin. During pregnancy, absorption of the oils will be increased, exacerbated by the increase of blood flowing through mom’s body, and sensitivities are heightened as well. My favorite carrier oils are fractionated coconut oil (liquid at room temperature due to removal of a fatty acid chain), cold pressed coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, argan oil, avocado oil, castor oil, or tamanu oil. Diluting your essential oils helps to reduce “flash off” of the volatile compounds, while help the oil to make its way into systemic circulation. Diluting the essential oils will not reduce their effectiveness or change their properties, plus it helps you reduce waste!
Oils to avoid applying topically, are those that are considered “hot” or “caustic”. Examples of these are: cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, thyme, oregano, and blends that contain these. If necessary, dilute these oils to a 1% dilution and try to apply to an area that is less sensitive, such as your feet.
When applying certain citrus oils topically, such as grapefruit, lemon, lime, and bergamot, avoid direct UV rays for 24 hours due to the photosensitive nature of these oils.
Another wonderful benefit of using carrier oils, is that you provide yourself a base to make blends! Diluting your oils can be daunting for beginners because of the subjectivity, but I’ve made a chart for you gals to reference! It’s recommended for pregnant women to try to maintain a 2% dilution when using oils more frequently. I find that when approaching something acute ( or short term), a 5% dilution can be fast acting, and still very safe for sensitive moms.
Here is an example to help you decipher the chart. One of my favorite ways to make quick blends is using a 10 ML roller bottle, like the one found here. So, to make a 2% dilution, I would add 6 drops TOTAL of whatever oil(s) I am using, and fill the bottle the rest of the way with a carrier oil!
When using spray bottles for things like soothing perineal support, I usually use a small 2 oz bottle, which is 60 ML in size, therefore, to make a 5% dilution, you would use 90 drops TOTAL, filling the rest with your liquid of choice.
There are certain oils that pregnant moms want to avoid, due to their ability to promote uterine contractions. A good time to utilize these oils benefits is during labor, but be prepared! They can work very effectively! The main two oils are clary sage and myrrh, and any blends in which they may be contained.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can dive into some fun oil suggestions that you may find very helpful at supporting your beautiful pregnant body, from head to toe!
The Morning Tummy Blend:
Lemon + Peppermint + Ginger
inhale deeply, and apply to stomach, and chest
The Burning Belly Oils:
Peppermint + Cardamom + Fennel
apply topically to upper chest area
Energizing and Uplifting
Lemon + Grapefruit + Peppermint
diffuse or inhale from bottle when necessary
Support for Tension
Peppermint + Lavender + Wintergreen* + Frankincense
apply to area needing support, such as temples, shoulders, or forehead.
Muscle and Joint Support
Wintergreen* + Cypress + Marjoram
apply to area needing support, such as back, hips, ankles, or knees
Occasional blemish support:
Melaleuca + Lavender + Frankincense
add to favorite face moisturizer or toner.
Moisturizing and Nourishing:
Geranium + Cedarwood + Sandalwood + Lavender + Frankincense
add to favorite, unscented body cream.
I recommend using a base of equal parts coconut oil,and shea butter, melted using a double boiler, cooled in refrigerator for one hour, then whipped in stand mixer to make your own body butter to which you can add your favorite oils.
Cypress + Frankincense
apply to legs and elevate
apply to areas of concern and drink plenty of water!
Sweet Sleep Support
Lavender + Cedarwood OR Lavender + Vetiver
apply to wrists, temples, chest, and diffuse near bed
White Fir + Lemon + Arborvitae + Frankincense
diffuse and apply to chest and spine
Peppermint + Clove + Cardamom + Frankincense + Lavender
Add 1 drop each to steaming mug and inhale vapors
**Note: Wintergreen should be kept at a very high dilution (1%) and should only be used twice a day.
Now, go get some oils, and bless yourself and your growing belly with the gift of empowered self care and daily support! As a mother of two, a nurse, and an essential oil educator, I thrive on education based usage, and mentoring my own team of oil users. I’d love to have you join that team, and receive all of the support you need to thrive on your own oil journey! You can contact me at [email protected]. Check out my blog www.joleighblonde.com, Instagram @joleighblonde, and Periscope feed @Joleigh Blonde for usage, safety, and blend ideas!