oils can be used for many things, and they’re starting to be
used more by pregnant women around the world. Essential oils
are natural oils that are obtained by distillation and have a
characteristic fragrance derived from a plant or other source.
can be used for a variety of ailments," says Emily Sisco,
certified nurse midwife at Mayo Clinic Health System.
"They are becoming more common to use during pregnancy,
labor and postpartum to treat anxiety, aches and lack of
says there are many essential oils from which to choose, but
she offers two that may help pregnant women:
Some women have had success managing headaches in pregnancy
with peppermint oil. Peppermint oil also can be helpful for
nausea, nasal congestion and muscle aches. Peppermint oil
inhalation has even been found to be helpful for postpartum
women who have difficulty emptying their bladder.
and rose. Studies have found lavender and rose essential oils
can decrease anxiety in labor. A woman’s perception of pain
also can decrease when she is relaxed. Because the sense of
smell is strongly linked with memory, if you’ve experienced
relaxation with the smell of lavender or rose in the past,
inhaling it during labor likely will help you recall those
personally have used many essential oils, but my favorite is
lavender," says Sisco. "I use lavender oil mixed
with water in a spray bottle on my pillow to promote restful
sleep. This technique might be especially helpful for
are pregnant and would like to try essential oils, Sisco asks
you to consider the following:
many things, more is not necessarily better. Pregnant women
should start with one drop of their chosen essential oil and
increase up to three to five drops based on their tolerance.
Pregnancy can increase sensitivity to smell, and some women
can find aromatherapy overwhelming. It may even trigger
symptoms, such as nausea. Try placing the oil on a tissue or
cotton ball for inhalation, which can easily be removed if not
Avoid placing it on your skin. Oils often require a carrier
oil, such as coconut or almond oil, to dilute the oil and
avoid skin irritation. A qualified aromatherapist can give
more details regarding preparation of specific oils.
not ingest essential oils during pregnancy. There isn’t
enough research to support this is safe for your baby.
though I use essential oils, the research is still limited,
and it is best to speak with your medical provider
first," adds Sisco.