- Essential Oils During Pregnancy
Today we speak to aromatherapist Jenny James from Jenny James Therapies all about Essential oils during pregnancy. Jenny answers commonly asked questions that many expectant parents have when it comes to essential oils during pregnancy. Jenny covers more about what essential oils actually are, which essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy, essential oils you can use in the first trimester, second trimester and third trimester.
Here is Jenny James Therapies Website:
Carla: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby Expert Podcast, where we bring experts from all over the UK. To answer your questions on everything, pregnancy to preschool.
[00:00:30] Today I am joined by aroma therapist and yoga teacher, Jenny James, and we will be discussing essential oils during pregnancy. I hope you enjoy it.
[00:00:50] Hello, and welcome to My Bump 2 Baby Expert podcast. Today, I am joined by the lovely Jenny James an aroma therapist, a yoga teacher, and also a mother. And she will be talking to us all about essential oils during pregnancy. So hi, Jenny, how are you?
Jenny: [00:01:11] Hi, I’m fine. Thanks. How are you?
Carla: [00:01:14] I’m fine. Thank you. It’s lovely to have you on here.
Jenny: [00:01:18] Thank you very much. It’s nice to be here. And, um, yeah, take me out to my homeschooling world. So thank you.
Carla: [00:01:25] You’re welcome. So could you start by telling me a bit about what essential oils are? For those that don’t know ?
Jenny: [00:01:35] Essential oils are, um, for volatile plant compounds or extracted from, from plants, from flowers, uh, trees, resins and roots. And, um, they either steam distilled or compressed, for instance, a citrus would be the cold compression. And so if you squeeze a lemon, Some of the lemon oil, the essential oil will come out of the rind. So it’s not dissimilar from, from plants, but they need a little bit of help so the flowers tend to be, uh, steam distilled, and then there are the woods that are either steam distilled, or the resin produces an essential oil when it is heated as well.
[00:02:25] So, uh, all of these. Oils have, um, medicinal properties, well particularly the oils, in the therapy world have medicinal properties, therapeutic, uh, obviously depending on the dilution can be, uh, stronger in their action. There are also many oils that we don’t use in pregnancy and there are obviously lots of lovely oils that I’m going to talk about today that we can use in pregnancy. Hopefully that answers your question?
Carla: [00:03:02] Yes, it definitely does. Thank you. So coming back to the oils during pregnancy then, are essential oils safe during pregnancy?
Jenny: [00:03:11] Yes. The majority of essential oils are safe during pregnancy. So aromatherapists tend to follow, uh, the safety data produced by an, a therapist called Robert Tisserand and he has produced basically the essential oil safety Bible, which he has tested the oils. And he’s broken down the chemical constituents, which tell us whether an oil is going to be, let’s say relaxing, or it’s going to be a stimulating or analgesics which is a certain chemical constituents within the oils that have these properties. That’s just a few of them. And then the quantities within those oils. So then when an aroma therapist or, or the lay person consult his Bible, we know that there are levels of oils that would be safe to use in this case in pregnancy. So the general oils that I will talk about today, I would say that, and I say this to all my clients that I see at the clinic that we work at a 1% dilution in pregnancy. So the same dose that I would use with a child over the age of two, actually depends on the child actually.
[00:04:31] But, um, So we work at a 1% dilution. And to give you an idea of what that means, it means one drop of essential oil within one tablespoon of carrier oil. So then the carriers would be, uh, perhaps another podcast because we either choosing an oil that is a therapeutic grade, obviously not bought in the supermarket. And can be just to give you some examples that are nice to use in pregnancy, uh, depending on allergies, obviously avoiding the nuts ones. If you’re you have a nut allergy, so let’s say sweet almond, avocado, um, apricot kernel, um, Camellia. Let’s keep it simple, but there are many [jojoba?] I think that’s quite a familiar oil to everyone. We often see that in our hair products. So yeah, one drop of essential oil within that base would help to give a fairly safe guide. And there is a lot of stuff out there on the internet about what oils are safe and what else aren’t. But generally we consult our safety guide and, uh, during our training. We have a list of safe dilutions and unsafe dilutions, uh, for different categories. So that might be pregnancy that might be for eczema. That might be for, uh, someone who is suffering from, uh, high blood pressure, et cetera. So the list goes on. Sorry that was very long reply Carla I’m sorry.
Carla: [00:06:05] No, you know what, the longer, the better, cause it just gives us more information. So yeah, that that’s great. So what oils then would you recommend in the first trimester of pregnancy, are there any, you could, you could talk about ?
Jenny: [00:06:20] The essential oils that I would use in the first trimester. So. Just to make it clear generally, um, pregnant women wouldn’t come to see me in the clinic or actually even in the yoga classes before 12 weeks, because the first 12 weeks you tend to not be feeling that well, you’re extremely fatigued. You have morning sickness. Anyway, all of these, oils I’m about to talk about will address those issues, but it’s really from a safety point of view. So it’s before your first scan. Mmm. Yeah, you tend to be advised not to, uh, go for a massage or not to practice yoga. However, if you’re used to having regular massages and you’re used to, practicing yoga or being very physically active, because some people, you know, some mums are triathletes and they are pregnant and they’re perfectly fine to carry on exercising.
[00:07:16] So it really depends on you. And what’s your normal, what your lifestyle is like. So the oils that I would consider in the first trimester, whether it’s at home or, or in a clinic situation would be for fatigue. Um, because obviously you can feel really shattered as I think you probably remember in that. Yeah. So you just want something that’s just going to be a little bit lighter.
[00:07:45] So a little bit more uplifting, uh, and it’s, um, please, you know, feel free to rest when, when you need to rest, you don’t want anything overstimulating. So I would tend to go for the more euphoric, happier oils, because this is actually one of the happiest times in your life. And you are celebrating the fact that you are creating a new human. So something like the citrus oils, um, maybe, you know, lemon, bergamot, uh, Mandarin, sweet orange, lemon in particular can be very useful, in an essential oil blend, an aroma therapy blend. Combined with ginger for morning sickness. I think probably everyone has tried the ginger tea, the lemon and ginger tea for morning sickness.
[00:08:37] So then the same goes for, uh, the essential oils that we use in an aroma therapy blend. The other things and obviously, yeah, lemon and ginger do really just stop that, that gag reflex. Does that make sense?
Carla: [00:08:52] Yes.
Jenny: [00:08:52] It’s a little bit calmer um, the warmth from the ginger. Nice anti-spasmodic on the, um, for the digestive system and, uh, yes. And then, and then, yeah, just to, uh, just to feel a little bit lighter that the, the top notes of the citrus oils tend to just come through and just help us to just feel a little bit lighter, whether it’s from a fluid drainage point of view or whether it’s from, from a mood point of view. The other thing that I think is actually quite. important and be able to really talk about this is the fact that your breasts can be very sore. Well, you can actually hurt, um, so you can make a compress with essential oils. So a compress would be nice, warm water, obviously nice clean flannel, uh, whether it’s a muslin or a bamboo cloth, and you could, uh, in, uh, let’s say a medium bowl size water, so bigger than your cereal bowl. You’d have the water up to three quarters and you could put in a drop of, or, maybe two of geranium and, or camomile, Roman camomile, uh, and you swish it around and then put your cloth in and ring it out and you can place that on the breasts and that can really sooth them.
Carla: [00:10:12] That’s really interesting.
Jenny: [00:10:14] And then the other thing that I thought of, which is really obviously vital, uh, is the mood swings or the tearfulness and the, sometimes you just don’t know why you’ve burst into tears and then your husband thinks you’re complete. You know, I didn’t know. Well, I think they just think they’re alarmed aren’t they, because they didn’t know how to respond.
[00:10:36] So there are quite quite a few, the obvious ones, and this will come up a lot. And I’m sure you’ve read about it is lavender, for so many reasons, because it is really a panacea. So it’s, uh, it’s truly healing, it’s calming, it’s relaxing, but also because it I think, Oh, and another thing that would combine with, well with would be geranium for the mood swings. I think geranium is a particularly special oil because it really helps to balance the hormones. Acts as an antidepressant, it’s a, it really has fabulous properties. It’s the lymphatic tonic, which I’ll talk about a little bit later as well for edema, but it’s also a great healer for the skin, which I’ll talk about when it comes to sort of stretch marks.
[00:11:28] Uh, and the other thing that can happen in the first trimester is headaches. Lavender would come in here, um, perhaps even sniffing peppermint, you know, so if you need to be, I wouldn’t use peppermint on the skin at this stage in pregnancy, but I would, I could put a drop of oil on a cotton, um, wool pad and I could sniff it and that, and that would actually help with morning sickness too, but it’s just a great clearer. So it’s a cephalic, brings blood to the brain and just helps too, um, get the blood circulating. Mmm, but I would definitely use lavender for the headaches for sure.
Carla: [00:12:06] Excellent. Excellent. That’s really interesting. So, so moving on then into the second trimester.
Jenny: [00:12:13] Yeah.
Carla: [00:12:14] What essential oils would you recommend during that time?
Jenny: [00:12:19] I’m going to go to the stretch marks.
Carla: [00:12:20] Yeah. Because everyone wants to know that. Yeah, of course.
Jenny: [00:12:24] See for the stretch marks, still, again in that 1% dilution, that one drop in one tablespoon, there are so many lovely carriers out there. I would probably use, uh, Mandarin, which is a great skin soother, um, it’s, cicatrisant again. So I keep using this word, sorry. It means scar healing, wound healing and frankincense, which to be honest is one of my go to oils perhaps for everything in my life, because it heals wounds, it heals scars. It helps to keep skin supple. It’s the most amazing anti ager. Egyptian-hieroglyphs in, in the pyramids that show that Cleopatra used frankincense as a rejuvenator. So it’s, it really is a super oil. And it’s a great calmative. From the point of view of stretch marks it’s an, it’s an oil, essential oil that I would put in most of my stretch mark blends or anything to do with skin healing.
[00:13:26] Then the other thing that I would just think is particularly relevant for the second trimester would be aches and pains, for instance, eucalyptus would come in there or particularly eucalyptus radiata, which just has slightly more gentle, um, vibration and also a more gentle, uh, citrusy note to it. So, so that’s also quite beneficial, um, great for colds and flu and asthma, um, as well. So it’s respiratory effect, but, but yeah, nice for the muscular aches and pains, and could easily combine that with your lavender again, and, um, perhaps sweet marjoram, which is a great, for a a relaxant. So then the other thing may be heartburn might start becoming a problem at this stage.
[00:14:17] It really depends on where you’re babies sitting and heartburn, peppermint um, you can sniff, obviously on, on that, um, cotton pad, you can obviously drink the tea that can really help you a little and often the tea can help. Roman chamomile would come in here now. So a fantastic oil for babies and children, the only real contraindication that would be if you’re sensitive to ragweed. Um, but it’s got, it’s a fabulous one for, yeah, it’s calming effect really. Um, it’s a great calmer and then perhaps insomnia might be coming in here. So then you come back to the lavender again, maybe coming to Mandarin is a great one for insomnia.
Carla: [00:15:06] What’d you just put that on your pillow then would you or?
Jenny: [00:15:10] Yeah. Yeah, of course you can put it on the corner of your pillow. Um, absolutely fine. You don’t necessarily want to put a great, you know, blob of oil, it’s easier. Sometimes it can be easier to have it on a tissue because, um, depends on your bed linen and, um, yeah, I mean these do wash out. And they won’t stain, um, It’s only the oils with a colour in them, you would perhaps be a little bit more cautious with, but yes, you can easily put a few drops on your pillow.
[00:15:42] Or another thing that I really liked to use with pregnant women is the hydrosols. So I didn’t actually talk about this, but I’ll keep it brief. So part of the distillation process, when one is steam distilling essential oils is the byproduct. Uh, the oil rests on top after it has been distilled and then the hydrolatch or the hydrosol the water, but still containing some of the medicinal properties of the flower or the plant.
[00:16:12] Um, So you could actually, um, have a spritz of lavender and, um, Roman camomile and Mandarin hydrosol, uh, which you could spray. It would be a lovely, refreshing spray to put on. You’ll pillow, take a deep breath and then, you know, lie down, but you can easily put, put a few drops either on your pillowcase, on a cotton pad or on a tissue as well.
Carla: [00:16:39] So should we go into the third and you can mention those that’d be great?
Jenny: [00:16:44] so I think one of the things that particularly, uh, concerns women in the third trimester is edema. So swelling, I mean, one has to be quite careful, there are certain acupressure points that one can use safely for edema. But I would tend to prefer a more, I think massage is more appropriate and I think the essentials can be extremely beneficial.
[00:17:09] So for edema cypress is a great oil, uh, has a short shelf life. So do be careful when you buy it, maybe buy a five mil bottle instead of a 10 mil bottle. It’s great for any water reconditions, actually excess perspiration you might start to be sweating a bit more at this time and it’s, so it’s an astringent and it helps to dry, just too, to dry up fluids. So actually then. Digressing a little bit going into the fourth trimester. So postnatally, it would be a brilliant oil along with geranium for for varicose veins or haemorrhoids, and obviously varicose veins can affect you in the third trimester tends to be more, um, hereditary.
[00:17:52] But you might notice some spider veins appearing beneath the knees. Um, but, uh, we obviously have to be quite careful with varicose veins, but nice gentle, upward stroking massage can, can really help. Yes. So Cyprus in particular for edema, but also great fruit geranium, sweet orange. I haven’t really covered that much, but it’s a beautiful calming oil and nice for the digestive system, which is also compromised at this stage that perhaps leads on to, um, constipation because pregnant women can get quite constipated at this stage. baby’s growing from the 20th week. The stomach is pushed up into the left dome of the diaphragm, perhaps you’ve got your baby kicking you somewhere in the ribs. It feels like it’s anyway, sometimes. And then I would perhaps suggest lavender would come in here neroli again, neroli is a very expensive oil, but I mean, it’s a beautiful oil. It’s a great rescue remedy. So actually at any point it’s a, it’s the rescue remedy of a essential oils. Cardamon would be a lovely oil for constipation because its, um, a great digestive, um, anti-spasmodic, nice warming properties to it. So that would be a nice one that with, with sweet orange would be lovely. The other thing that might, um, affect you at this stage would be cramps. In the lower leg, particularly prior to bed, you could make a nice blend of perhaps ginger, Roman camomile, lavender cardamon and just massaging gently the lower legs, or if you’re very lucky, get your husband to give you a foot massage and calf massage. So, um, and that’s a bonus and if they’re not very good with their technique they can have a look online. Yeah. I mean, that covers quite a lot of the conditions, but is there any other condition that you particularly want me to talk about? Maybe, one thing I haven’t covered oh my god, so also to do with mood, but to do with, um, perhaps, um, fear and anxiety.
Carla: [00:20:07] Yes that was, I was going to say that because, um, some parents, they may have gone through a traumatic time before or it might just be a really anxious time during pregnancy. I know for me personally, after experiencing a miscarriage. If I was to go through a pregnancy again, I’d be really nervous. So I think that’s what I would be interested in.
Jenny: [00:20:26] Yeh, I think, I think it does say for me, um, for fear and anxiety, I would say Rose otto. I mean, you can use, um, the absolute, but I’m not, I don’t tend to use it in my practice. I, for some reason I don’t really like that, that fragrance, but I love Rose otto. And that would be in the third trimester, probably from about 36 weeks on the skin. Prior to that, I would probably just have it on a, on a cotton pad. Um, it’s just, a beautiful feminine oil that just reassures and it connects us to also some spiritual links. Um, it connects us really to that sort of that universal knowledge, that that is motherhood. Perhaps yeah. Frankincense also for similar reasons, Cedar wood, super grounding oil, so you smell your Cedar wood and even sandalwood as well. If you can get hold of it, the austrocaledonicum don’t buy it from anywhere else really because, um, they tend to be, um, adulterated or mixed with, with inferior oils. So. I would do yes, cedar wood, frankincense, Rose, ilang ilang if you like that sweet fragrance.
Carla: [00:21:46] Can you use these from the first trimester, if you were that bit nervous or are these all for later?
Jenny: [00:21:53] All of these apart from the Rose, which I tend to use only in the third trimester. Just because, I mean it’s in a loss of pregnancy oils, so I have to be a little bit cautious here, but from my training, I was always told don’t use it before third trimester. So it’s, it would obviously depend on the dilution and it is a beautiful oil and it can be extremely healing. But I, for me in the clinic, in a clinic environment, I wouldn’t use it on the skin until the third trimester or every other oil that I talked about today. You can use throughout and I’ve particularly chosen oils that are non sensitising, non irritant, non toxic. Uh, the only caution would be that ginger, uh, if you have it in a high dilution and 1% dilution is not a high dilution. It can be a little bit irritating, it would produce redness. Which is one of the benefits, the muscular aches and pains, because your, your encouraging blood flow, but you don’t want to use in a high quantity. Um, especially you have sensitive skin, but all the others, um, I talked about today. Yeah. Particularly relevant for pregnancy.
Carla: [00:23:13] Excellent. That’s brilliant. Really interesting. Um, so thank you so much, Jenny. I really do appreciate this. I think a lot of pregnant ladies out there will be interested in trying some of those. So Jenny, can you just tell us a bit more about you and where, um, all moms can find you if they want more information?
Jenny: [00:23:32] Um, yes. So you can find me on my website. It’s www.jennyjamestherapies.co.uk. So it’s easy to find me. You can email me, text me or I’m on Facebook on most, I think like all of us now we’ve got various platforms for people to contact us, but, um, I’m really happy to just chat to people on the phone, especially at the moment, because I’m not practicing in my clinic because of the lockdown. So please do feel free. Feel free to call. If I don’t answer straight away, I will get back to you. Um, and also then I have, yes, I have my clinic. I now I was in London and I moved to the isle of man last year, but, um, I do online consultation so I could do a video consultation as well. In my clinic, I do induction massages. I do labor massage. So which I can obviously do online as well. So I do some dads want to know how, what they can do to be helpful in, in labor because all of a sudden, they’re not, no one tells them what to do they’re not trained. So I teach, um, yeah, labor massage techniques. Um, and it’s quite nice for the mums, especially in lockdown. For someone to give them a massage. And if I can’t do it, then I’m quite happy to train the dads to do it, or, or whoever, you know, whoever your birth partner is going to be. And then, um, I also do a pregnancy, and postnatal yoga class on, now on zoom on Saturday morning. So if you want any more information about that, you’re welcome to, um, to get hold of me.
[00:25:18] Mmm. And I’d love to see you there. Um, I did, I do require a short consultation beforehand. I think that’s the same for most, um, pregnancy yoga teachers. Um, but I’m really happy to talk about essential oils with anyone as I think you’ve probably gathered, sorry.
Carla: [00:25:34] Yeah., no do you know, it’s great to have someone passionate about what they’re doing. So that is amazing. And Jenny, um, that’s brilliant. We’ll put all Jenny’s links in the notes. And, um, Jenny, thank you so much again for telling us all that information.
Jenny: [00:25:49] Thanks, Carla. It’s a pleasure. It’s really nice to be able to talk about my oils.
Carla: [00:25:54] Yeah, it’s lovely. Thank you so much.
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