Hello Oily lovers, Paris Here from Holistic Midwifery & The Natural Pharmacy. I wanted to post a little something about Safety & Essential Oils in pregnancy....
Many of you know that I am a HUGE advocate for Aromatherapy, Essential Oils & Herbal Remedies for treating conditions in pregnancy, labour, the post natal period & beyond. Many women & their families find great comfort & relief when using them.
On the flip side, I want to urge a little caution when choosing your Oils & Treatments & where you get your advice from when you are pregnant. Many many Essential Oils are indeed safe to use externally in pregnancy at the correct dilution. However some should only be used at certain Gestational periods, and some should be avoided in certain situations.
I’ll give some examples.....
Ginger, in its natural form or dried in teas, etc is a well known & used & loved remedy for nausea & vomiting, rightly so..... Ginger, as an essential oil is considerably more concentrated & potent. As well as many health benefits it is also a known anticoagulant (makes the blood less viscous or ‘thins’ the blood). Many pregnant women are now prescribed Aspirin or Heparin (anticoagulants ‘blood thinners’) antenatally and throughout pregnancy for the prevention of certain conditions (Blood clots, pre-eclampsia). All Essential Oil application, from inhalation / diffusion / massage / in the bath enters the blood stream at varying concentrations, & repeated use can build up inside the body. Ginger, along with the above medications, has the potential to alter the body’s clotting function which is responsible for enabling the body to stop itself bleeding.
Another example which comes to mind is Lemongrass Essential Oil. Research has shown it to be Teratogenic in animal studies (causes malformations). While it is recognised that some studies use high concentrations and are not tested on Pregnant Human Subjects (& as such the Information is extrapolated to the general population). It should be noted that no ethics committee would be granted to perform such research on pregnant women, nor would I assume women would put themselves & their unborn up for such a trial. However, this research is enough for me to advise against the use of this particular oil in pregnancy.
Many Essential Oils, and some Herbal Remedies are considered Emmenagogues, (induces menstrual uterine bleeding) not so good, especially in the first trimester or indeed, the immediate post natal period.
Some are hypertensives, (can raise blood pressure)– not so good with raised blood pressure or more seriously Pre-Eclamsia – a very serious pregnancy condition.
Some are hypotensive – can lower blood pressure – not so good with women who suffer dizziness or fainting due to often lowered blood pressure.
It is certainly NOT my intention to put anyone off using Essential Oils or Herbal Remedies in Pregnancy, NOT AT ALL! They are wonderful. I merely wish to urge you to do a little research if you are pregnant and using Natural Treatments. Especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, have any pregnancy conditions, or are taking any medication.
Speak to Qualified Aromatherapist / Herbalist (with a qualification recognised by one of the Leading Aromatherapy / Herbal Medicine Councils), or to someone who specialises in Aromatherapy in Pregnancy (Most Midwives/Obstetricians are not Trained in Aromatherapy or Herbal Medicine).
Be wary of people giving ‘seemingly knowledgeable’ information and advice, whose experience of using Essential Oils or Herbal Remedies is only in sales or self use.
‘What has the potential to do good, also has the potential to do Harm’
The safety of you and your baby must be paramount & not all things which are natural are necessarily good for you.
Despite the caution, I urge you use these wonderful Essential Oils & Remedies. They can have profoundly positive effects on your life, but please use them safely.
Love & Best Wishes, Paris Senior, Holistic Midwife.