Aromatherapy and Essential Oils during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding.

“The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.” –Paracelsus

True Aromatherapy is an ancient form of plant medicine and natural healing. Essential oils were used by the most ancient civilizations and is reputed to be at least 6000 years old. Translations of ancient manuscripts indicate that priests and physicians used essential oils for healing and rituals for thousands of years before the birth of Christ. Essential oils can really be considered mankind’s first medicine and have been used worldwide for centuries. Essential oils, along with other aromatics, have been used in religious rituals, to treat various illnesses, and for other physical and spiritual needs.

Ancient Egyptians were the first to discover the potential of fragrance. In fact, three oils that are still commonly used today - Cedarwood, Myrrh, and Frankincense - were used in the embalming process. There are hundreds of references to oils in the Bible. Some precious oils like Frankincense, Myrrh, Rosemary, Cassia, and Cinnamon were used for the anointing and healing of the sick. The reintroduction of essential oils into modern times first began during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Essential oils have been used traditionally to kill harmful germs, as well as spiritually to balance mood, lift spirits, and dispel negative emotions.

What is Aromatherapy?

What comes to mind when you hear the word aromatherapy? It is so much more than a nice smell.

Aromatherapy has been defined differently over the years. Jan Kusmirek, a clinical aromatherapist, defines aromatherapy as “the use of pure essential oils to seek to influence to change or modify mind body or spirit physiology or mood."

My favourite explanation is by Valerie Cooksley, who says “Aromatherapy is blending ancient knowledge and art with scientific knowledge to support natural healing for a lifetime.”

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are concentrated volatile aromatic compounds produced by plants. Volatile comes from the Latin root volare which means to fly. They are natural substances which are extracted or distilled from tiny molecular sacs of each botanical. They are part of the plant's immune system and yet a separate substance created from the plant. Pure essential oils are highly concentrated extracts; 75 to 100 times more concentrated than dried herbs. For a comparison, it takes between 40 and 60 roses to make one drop of rose oil and one drop of chamomile is equivalent to the concentration of 30 tea bags of chamomile tea. Essential oils are very potent and powerful and should be used with caution and knowledge of their potency and efficacy.

Essential oils are distilled/extracted from various parts of the plant or tree, wood or trunk, leaves, grass, needles, cones, flowers, flower buds, twigs, seeds, seed pod, roots, rhizomes or resin/gum.

Essential oils are a wonderful way to bring healing on every level into our everyday life. More and more people are gaining an understanding that aromatherapy goes beyond just a pretty smell.

Is it safe to use essential oils while I'm pregnant?

It's probably safe to use some essential oils while you're pregnant, as long as you're healthy and you're careful with them. Essential oils are highly concentrated substances extracted from plants. They are powerful, so it's important to use them sparingly. Be sure to buy high-quality oils from a reputable seller. However, for ease of mind, you may also want to wait until your second trimester before using it. Oils that are safe to use during pregnancy include:

· citrus oils, such as tangerine and neroli

· lavender

· frankincense

· black pepper

· peppermint

· ylang ylang

· bergamot

· cypress

· tea tree oil (not in labour)

· geranium

· spearmint

Oils that are not safe for you to use Do not use the following essential oils while you are pregnant:

· Nutmeg, which may have hallucinogenic effects and react with pain-relieving drugs in labour.

· Rosemary, which is thought to increase blood pressure, and may cause contractions.

· Basil, which is thought to contribute to abnormal cell development.

· Jasmine and clary sage, which may trigger contractions.

· Sage and rose, which may cause bleeding in your uterus (womb).

· Juniper berry, which may affect your kidneys.

Laurel, angelica, thyme, cumin, aniseed, citronella and cinnamon leaf should also be avoided as they could stimulate contractions.

In some circumstances, it's best to steer clear of essential oils altogether.

Don't use any oils if:

· you have a history of miscarriage

· you have had any vaginal bleeding in this pregnancy

· you have epilepsy

· you have heart problems

· you have diabetes, blood clotting problems, or have thyroid, liver or kidney disease

With good essential oils and expert guidance, you may find that aromatherapy can make you feel a lot better. The following recommendations are made for pregnant moms, but again, check with your health provider before trying them on yourself:-

· To relieve nausea:

Lavender, peppermint, ginger. Sniff them directly from the bottle, or sniff a cotton ball or tissue treated with a drop or two.

· To soothe muscle aches:

Lavender, ylang-ylang, ginger, frankincense.

· To treat hemorrhoid's:

Tea tree, cypress, geranium, lavender.

· To improve sleep:

Lavender, ylang-ylang, mandarin, frankincense.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers?

Good quality essential oils provide a natural way for mothers to soothe their aching muscles and reduce stress. They do not have any ill effects on the little ones as long as you use the oils that are considered safe for children.

How Can You Make Sure that Essential Oils are Safe for Your Newborn?

Avoid ingesting the oils as your newborn will be absorbed via your milk. Only use the oils topically and after diluting them with carrier oils such as sweet almond, hemp seed or coconut oil.

Essential oils and their benefits during breastfeeding:

1. Basil

Basil essential oil and breastfeeding go hand in hand as it can aid with your milk supply.

2. Lavender

Lavender is a well-known essential oil for its ability to calm and relax the user. It is very often used to help with inducing sleep and do away with restlessness.

3. Frankincense

This oil is also known for its ability to reduce stress and is often used to treat stress disorders.

4. Chamomile

This wonderful essential oil is used as an antidepressant and to help with anxiety.

5. Tea Tree Oil

This anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiseptic oil is used to treat mastitis.

6. Cypress

This essential oil can help fight infections and relieve muscle pain.

7. Peppermint

While most mothers want oils to help with their milk production, there are others who actually suffer from the overproduction of milk. Peppermint essential oil during breastfeeding can help with that as it helps to reduce milk supply.

How to Apply the Essential Oils to Boost Milk Supply?

Here are some ways you can use essential oils to boost your milk supply:

1. Apply on the Breast

Using a fraction of coconut oil as a carrier, add one drop of basil oil into one teaspoon of the coconut oil and mix them well before applying on your breasts. Do not apply it to your nipples.

2. Apply on Pulse Points

Apply the same formula on your ankles as they are the pulse points that correspond to your breasts. You can also use lavender essential oil on the outside of your ears to help you relax, which will help you to produce more milk.

3. Diffuse the Oils

Use about four drops of either lavender, basil or fennel essential oils in your diffuser before you go to bed. Do not overdo it; one hour per day is enough to reap the benefits of this method and the oils.

Which Essential Oils Should be Avoided while Breastfeeding

There are many essential oils that should be avoided by women due to their potency and properties that will be dangerous to your child. Eucalyptus, myrrh, rosemary, sage, and nutmeg are a few oils to stay clear off, and peppermint is highly likely to reduce your milk supply.

Precautionary Tips

Here are some tips you may find useful when using essential oils during pregnancy:

· Do not ingest the oils

· Be careful to wipe off any oils from your breasts before you begin to breastfeed your baby

· Use only 1% of the essential oil in a carrier oil

· Always use pure and 100% organic essential and carrier oils


This pack is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Content provided is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. Information should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. The claims made about specific products throughout not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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