(Quick disclaimer – if you’re pregnant go in store and seek the advice of those trained in aromatherapy as some essential oils such as clary sage and rosemary aren’t safe in some stages of pregnancy)
Aromatherapy is something I always considered a bit hippy before my pregnancy, but at about 17 weeks, I began to have really strong cravings for lavender. I already owned lavender bed spray but then began dipping into lavender essential oils to burn or apply to a bath to really relax me and that’s when we started to realise I was craving the relaxation that lavender gave me (I know I sound mad but stick with me haha).
Buying lavender essential oil and using it in a burner, on a hanky or in the bath was suddenly giving me a new sense of relaxation I had not experienced before, where I was finally understanding how people could meditate for hours with no thoughts passing through their mind. This led to me discovering a wide range of essential oils, all for different uses.
Lavender, as you may know, is a massively relaxing scent which was prefect for me during bedtime and really prevented any pregnancy insomnia. However, I then quickly became a bit obsessed haha and I really needed scents I could burn and smell during the day without the sleepy effect haha. I visited my local store that sold essential oils (Holland and Barrat are perfect too) to find other scents that had the same effect on me; really sweet smells such as vanilla or mandarin had little to no effect, they were far too sweet and I was craving the botanical after scent that comes with lavender. As I went through their library of scents, I found Grapefruit and Ylang Ylang to really stand out to me. Alone, the smells had the same relaxing effect that lavender did, minus the sleepiness but paired together they create a really welcoming botanical scent that I quite like having around the house, without it being overpowering for everyone else but continues my aromatherapy.
Since then, I’ve gone on to buy an aromatherapy steam diffuser with a night-light effect to it, as well as purchasing bergamot and tea tree essential oils. I now burn the oils in a candle diffuser, put a couple drops in a bath, use them in my aromatherapy mist and also apply a little to a hanky to carry around with me. It all sounds a bit hippy haha but the effect it’s had on me during my pregnancy has been astounding; I can make myself more relaxed, quicker than before, which when I’ve been in pain or stressed out has been a huge help.
The best part about aromatherapy is you can create lots of different experiences and relieve lots of common issues. Here I’ve listed my current favourites and their effects –
- Ylang Ylang is an antidepressant that aides the relaxation of the body and an antiseptic so is perfect in the bath to speed up healing of any wounds. It also pairs beautifully with Lavender to take the edge off the usually sleepy scent.
- Lavender relaxes to the point of inducing sleep, as well as relieves pain and aides blood circulation which will all be amazing in labour to allow you to sleep between contractions, reduce pain and keep the blood circulated. (I have read online in some articles that it should be avoided during pregnancy but the advice from my midwife and aromatherapist is it’s safe for me so always double check first)
- Grapefruit essential oil brightens and uplifts as well as bing a great hangover cure (I’m yet to learn this haha) and a natural energizer. I pair this with Ylang Ylang to reduce the sweetness as it can become a bit overpowering.
- Bergamot is calming and soothing but also great for skin care so pop a couple drops on your shower floor before taking a shower and it will brighten your skin as well as aide relaxation. Bergamot has also been linked to self love and confidence which has been recommended to me during birth to ease labour nerves.
- Tea tree is an essential oil I’ve bought to mix with lavender so I can burn it during the day but shares many of the same qualities as above, especially being antiseptic and relaxing.
All these scents have been amazing over the past couple weeks of my pregnancy but I’m also planning to pack some others in my hospital bag. As I’m planning a water birth in a birth centre, I can be more flexible with the experience I want to create in my labour suite, therefore I’ll be taking lavender as it has just been such a consistent favourite and I’ve been using it during my hypnobirthing practice, clary sage (only to be used in labour, not pregnancy) as it’s known to aide contractions and also bergamot to keep me feeling uplifted and positive during the experience.
I feel like a total hippie posting this haha but I had to share how positive aromatherapy has been making me feel and I really hope it inspires some of you to also give it a try.
I’d love to know if aromatherapy has been a help to anyone else or if you have any other oils that are your personal favourites!