Articles / Birth Matters! Series

Essential Oils For Pregnancy, Labor and Post-Partum

By Jaki Payne

12325916_10106025734112431_1119426754_oSo when Kelly asked me to write about my experience with essential oils, I was both ecstatic and nervous at the same time.

My journey with essential oils began just roughly over three years ago when my son was just three months old. A good friend of ours put some on my son’s socks when he came down with a cold. It helped but I really didn’t think much of it at the time. Like any normal infant and toddler, runny noses, mild fevers, and cold symptoms would come and go. It was not until he was almost a year old that I began really doing more research about remedies to help him get over his occasional maladies. Nothing out of the ordinary, but my husband and I stay away from medications as much as possible, so when we have need of medicine, it has the effect originally intended.

While researching home remedies, I noticed a friend from high school had posted about how essential oils had changed her life as well as her family’s life. It triggered my interest and, naturally, I wanted to know more. She sent me all kinds of information. I looked at it all and asked her a million different questions. “Why is this brand better than the other ones I could buy at a local health food store?” “Does it really make a difference?” It took me about a month before deciding. When I received my starter kit I was SUPER excited. The very first oil I used was Peace and Calming. That night I rubbed it on his feet to give it a try and thought, “If anything, he’s at least going to smell good.”

Guess what?

He slept through the night!!!

At 11 months he was still getting up once a night, and that night he didn’t. I thought maybe it was a fluke, so I tried it again the next night. Well he slept through the night again and we are still using that same oil today. Ever since then I have absorbed as much research as possible and found how I can incorporate these oils into my life even more.

It has been almost three years since I bought that kit and to this day I still use essential oils. I use them aromatically, topically and even ingest them. Yes, you read that correctly, I ingest the therapeutic grade essential oils that are intended to be ingested (in no way am I suggesting you ingest oils from any random health food store). Find someone who has in depth knowledge of essential oils before using them to avoid any issues.

With that snapshot of how I started with essential oils, I will go into one of my passions and the reason for writing this short post for my dear friend Kelly: essential oils and pregnancy.

So how does the use of essential oils change once you become pregnant? Well, when my husband and I got pregnant for the third time, I still continued to use oils. I simply changed up my routine a little.

Why?

Because there is not as much research available on the side effects that essential oils could have on the pregnant mother and the unborn baby. Ethically speaking, testing and research on pregnant ladies from any field is conducted with great care, which limits the amount of research available. With that said, I trusted my instincts and the research I could find. Now, just to be clear, I am just a mom who chooses to try to do everything as naturally as possible. I am neither a doctor nor even an aroma therapist. Everything that I am going to talk about is from own experience and from the research I have found and used myself.

I mentioned I changed up my routine when it came to using oils. This meant for me, I was not going to ingest them as much as I normally do, if at all. I was also very careful about which oils I used topically. Through the research I have found, I knew there was a list of oils I should avoid and be cautious of while I was pregnant.

With that said, I looked at the lists and used my better judgment and COMMON SENSE. I know that may seem funny to say, but people can be…well…not so common in the “sense” department at times. Then you throw “pregnancy brain” on top of it, and then you have a PARTY…that you can’t remember…wait, did I have a party?! Hold on, where did I put my keys? Why did I put them in the fridge next to the chocolate cake? Mmhmm, chocolate cake! Yes, please! Where was I?! OH YEAH!

Sorry! So as I was about to ask: What is the list of EO’s to avoid while pregnant?

This list is a culmination from a multitude of sources:

Essential Oils to AVOID While Pregnant:

  • Anise
  • Basil
  • Birch
  • Calamus
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Clary Sage
  • Fennel
  • Hyssop
  • Idaho Tansy
  • Lavandin
  • Mugwort
  • Nutmeg
  • Parsley seed
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tansy
  • Tarragon
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

There are also a few blends, but that also depends on what brand you use. Basically, if it has any of the essential oils listed in the blend, I tried not to use it topically or internally.

So after looking at the list, there were a few oils, mainly blends, I was little bummed about not using while pregnant. One of the blends I use is called Thieves and contains rosemary and cinnamon bark. I used this one daily to help keep my immune system in check and to help fight off germs. Since it is a blend, it does not contain the equivalent concentration of the single oils to avoid. Still, I wanted to be safe and did not use it.

Instead, I found alternatives. And THAT is but one of the many things I love about essential oils: you can use other oils for the same purposes. Another of my favorite things about essential oils is all the stuff I get to make using them.

While I was pregnant I made my own belly cream, used them to help fight nausea, gave my immune system a boost, kicked gestational diabetes in the butt, and managed my skin care routine and labor.

So now comes a point when I get real with you all. I was hesitant to write this post because my intentions were to tell how amazing these essential oils are and how they could be used to help have a more natural pregnancy. Well life happens and things get changed. So here is my story:

After moving when I was six months pregnant, I really feel like everything seemed to go wrong. I failed both the one hour and three hour glucose test, became anemic, and tested positive for Group B Strep. Luckily for me I was able to control my gestational diabetes with diet. I had already been eating healthy, but just couldn’t have as many carbs as I did with my first pregnancy. My vice was OJ and I did miss it. Instead I drank NingXia with the essential oil ocotea to help satisfy my juice cravings while boosting my immune system. I also used lemon oil in addition to my iron supplement.

About a month out from my due date, my doctor brought up induction. He was concerned about the impact having both Group B Strep and gestational diabetes could have on the baby. He was pretty sure she was going to come fast and there could be an issue. Lucky for my husband and I, we also had a doula, for which my doctor was very supportive.

We discussed the options and went ahead with induction, but with no epidural.

Y’all, I was determined to do this.

I had my oils, the book Gentle Babies recommended for labor and birth and I had an amazing doula and husband who were going to get me through this. I really secretly was hoping my little girl would come before the planned induction, but she didn’t.

And guess what, she didn’t want to come…even on induction day. I was in labor for 30+ hours before finally deciding to get an epidural. I felt defeated and was so disappointed in myself. But guess what?! About fours after getting the epidural I had a beautiful healthy baby girl, and that is what was most important.

Throughout my entire labor I used oils topically and aromatically. It helped so much, but there was a point where I could no longer take the pain. Even after 35 hours of labor I still kept using my oils. I brought an arsenal and was so glad I did. My room was so peaceful and calming. I even had my own healing spray and didn’t have to use what the hospital gave me. It was great!!!

My little girl is now three almost four months old. I am sure some of you are wondering what changes once the baby is born. Like before, there is not a lot of research, and unfortunately there is no list either. From the research I have done, you can pretty much go back to using them as you did before, but if you are nursing be cognizant of how they affect your milk supply and the baby. It’s the same thing you would decide with the food you eat.

The things that I have discovered is that peppermint is generally cautioned against while nursing, because it could possibly cause your milk supply to dry up. For me, I have used peppermint a few times when that seasonal crud likes to hit us and I have had no issues with my supply.

And speaking of supply, I like to boost mine with some fennel and basil. The uses are endless.

I literally use these oils for everything and will continue to do so. One of the biggest things my husband and I have seen from using essential oils is all of the medicine we’ve been able to cut out of our lives. We both get that awful seasonal crud when pollen is at its worst. For me, it would get so bad that I would need some type of allergy medicine to get relief. Not anymore. We have found relief just by placing lavender, peppermint, and lemon in a capsule.

Did I mention all the amazing things you can make with these little gems? I make lotion bars to help target those dry, itchy spots he gets when the weather changes or when it is really cold. I also made my own belly cream for when I was pregnant that felt amazing. I could go on and on about this stuff.

I will leave you all with this: I did A LOT of research when it came to essential oils. This is something I encourage everyone to do, as we all have different priorities when it comes to what we put on ourselves, let alone our babies. Additionally, you should always consult with your physician, especially if you plan on ingesting them on a daily basis.

With that said, I use Young Living Essential Oils. It was their seed to seal process (they control and can verify the entire farming and production process) and the fact that they are 100% therapeutic grade that ultimately sold me. I have been to their farms and personally witnessed the processes that are put in place and I have no doubt in my mind that I made the right decision.


Jaki is a mom of two, a long-time lover of essential oils, and is also a Young Living Independent Distributor! To contact her for more information or to place an order with her, click here.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is intended for education purposes only. The claims, personal testimonies and suggestions in this post are not researched or endorsed by the FDA and are to be used at your own discretion. The information in this post is in reference to Young Living Essential Oils only. The material shared in this post is not intended to treat, diagnosis, heal or replace any current healthcare regimen. All graphics shared here are copyrighted and cannot be altered from their original form.

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