If you are trying to conceive, pregnant or are breastfeeding, alternative therapies such as aromatherapy may be something you have avoided because you have an unbased fear. However, did you know that vapourising your favourite essential oil in a burner is perfectly safe?
Getting Started With Aromatherapy – The Precautions
Under the supervision of a qualified professional, aromatherapy is perfectly safe and of wonderful therapeutic benefit when trying to conceive, pregnant or breastfeeding. It can also be used on your baby. Professional advice should always be sought so your medical history can be assessed. This ensures you avoid any essential oils that may be contra-indicated (not suitable).
While some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy, all essential oils are perfectly safe to vapourise in an essential oil vapouriser – so you can still enjoy the gorgeous, uplifting aromas of an essential oil even when pregnant! It is only when these oils are applied topically (on the skin or a compress) that these warnings apply. Essential oils are absorbed into the body when placed on the skin. You should never apply any essential oils undiluted onto your skin unless advised by a qualified professional and you should never take essential oils internally.
The following information is not a substitute for any medical advice or treatment and is for use as a guide only. If you have any medical conditions, for example, epilepsy, high blood pressure or kidney disease, you must always consult a naturopath or aromatherapist before using essential oils.
What Do I Need To Look For In Essential Oil?
A certain television commercial advertised a particular brand of motor oil using the slogan, ‘Oils ain't oils…' Well this is certainly the case with essential oils. When purchasing essential oils, there are important factors that need to be considered to ensure that you are getting what you think you are paying for.
It must be 100% pure and natural essential oil
This means that the oil contains no additives such as mineral oils, synthetic components, or emulsive agents, and they are not diluted or blended in any way. If you are not sure if the oil is 100% essential oil, ask.
Do not confuse essential oils with fragrant oils.
These are a synthetic cocktail of chemicals that just smell ‘nice'. The danger of using these is that you are applying synthetic chemicals to your skin or vapourising chemicals into the air. This will probably give you a headache and is the most common reason why people think that vapourising essential oils gives them a headache.
Price can be a good guide to establishing the quality of an essential oil
If the bottle of rose oil is a similar price to the lemon oil, drop it. Rose oil can cost around $300 for 10ml while lemon oil would probably cost around $10.
Choose oils from wild-grown or organically grown plants
If possible, choose oils that are distilled from wild-grown plants or alternately oils that have been farmed organically, as these have had little exposure to pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Miessence essential oils are a great example and recommended by BellyBelly.
Is it licensed?
Companies who manufacture and/or bottle essential oil must be licensed. Legislation has been put into place to ensure that extensive labelling is available to the consumer. This includes an Australian license and registration number, and a unique number for each oil. The labelling must be detailed and accurate. It should contain the common plant name, botanical name, batch number, expiry date and name and address of manufacturer.
Very few essential oils are distilled in Australia, most are imported, bottled and labelled under many different brand names (and prices), even though they come from the same place.
Are Essential Oils Safe?
The answer is yes, provided you follow care and caution as to what you use and how much, as pure essential oils are very concentrated.
Always dilute essential oils. There are many ways you can do this, the most being in a carrier oil (also known as a base oil), which should preferably be a vegetable oil and cold pressed. The cold-pressing process prevents the nutrients being destroyed. An example of vegetable carrier oil is avocado, sweet almond, or jojoba. This dilution is excellent for massage. More examples of how you can use your essential oils are in the next section below.
- Always use the recommended dose of oils.
- Avoid oils near the eyes or other sensitive areas.
- If you intend on blending your oils, do not use plastic containers – use glass, stainless steel or ceramic containers.
- Wait until baby is at least 2 weeks old before using essential oils. Even then, only use 1 drop of lavender in baby's bath or for massage 1 drop per 40mls of carrier oil. Until children reach 12 years of age, divide the specified dose for adults by 4.
- Some oils can irritate skin, particularly if you have sensitive skin. This is most commonly the citrus group of oils, so doing a skin patch test is advisable.
- Keep oils out of children's reach.
- In order to prolong the life of your essential oils, keep them in a cool, dry place and out of the sun.
- Avoid oils coming into contact with plastic, painted or varnished surfaces.
If you are unsure or uncomfortable using a particular essential oil, don't use it. Consult a professional before using the oil so that when you do decide to proceed with your essential oil, it is a positive and enjoyable experience.
How Can I Use My Essential Oils?
There are various ways you can enjoy your essential oils:
In the bath – Add 6 to 8 drops of your favourite essential oils to your bathwater. Ensure you agitate the water well to disperse them through the water. Alternatively, add the essential oils to half a cup of full cream milk and then add to your bath. If you have dry skin, add your essential oils to 5mls of carrier oil and then add to your bath water. You can also place a towel in the bath, wring it out and placing it under your neck. This will allow better inhalation of the oils.
In the shower – Add a drop of essential oil to each corner of your shower
On a tissue or hanky – Place 2 to 4 drops and inhale. Use only one drop for children.
On a pillow – Place on drop on each side. Be sure that it doesn't stain the bed linen.
Steam inhalation – Place 2 to 3 drops in a bowl of hot water and inhale. Use 1 drop for children. This is excellent for colds and sinus problems.
Footbath – Use 2 to 3 drops.
Vaporising – In a ceramic or electric vapouriser (burner), use 6-8 drops. Do not leave burners unattended or in reach of children. If you plan to vapourise essential oils during your labour, you will need to check with your hospital first, as many do not allow a naked flame — in that case you will need to use an electric burner.
On a wheat / heat bag – Add 2 drops of essential oil.
Blend for massage – Use 50mls of your chosen carrier oil and add 25 drops of your favourite essential oils. For children, use 15mls of carrier oil and add only 2 drops of essential oils. Massaging a small amount of a lavender blend into your temples is fantastic for headaches.
To make a compress – Fill a non-plastic basin with water, add 6-8 drops of essential oil. Place the compress in the basin and wring out excess water before applying.
What essential oils can I use?
As mentioned earlier, consult a professional before using oils topically as some are not safe to use during pregnancy or if you have a particular medical condition.
Here is a general guide to choosing your essential oils. When trying to conceive, it is important to eliminate stress as much as possible to increase your chances of conceiving. Essential oils can aid relaxation and de-stressing.
Oils to use for stress relief and relaxation are:
Bergamot – a mood regulating oil for anxiety, depression, mood swings, menstrual or menopausal imbalance.
Jasmine – a euphoric, aphrodisiac oil for depression, moodiness, lack of confidence.
Lavender – a sedating oil for anxiety, stress, hypertension, insomnia, anger, irritability.
Neroli – a balancing oil for nervous tension and stress
Sandalwood – a calming, grounding, relaxing oil for insomnia, nervous tension and stress.
Ylang Ylang – an aphrodisiac oil for emotional coldness, shyness, impotence, frigidity.
Essential oils to help with conception include:
Chamomile Roman – a sedating oil for anxiety, stress, hypertension, insomnia, anger, irritability.
Geranium – a regulating oil for anxiety, depression, mood swings, menstrual or menopausal imbalance. Geranium is a less expensive alternative to rose oil, which is one of the most expensive essential oils, costing around a dollar a drop.
Rose – a balancing oil for nervous tension and stress.