Aromatherapy in pregnancy is said to help relieve stress, increase energy levels, and relieve the minor physical discomforts associated with pregnancy. Massage and aromatherapy in pregnancy are often combined to promote feelings of well-being and relaxation in the mother-to-be. Mothers-to-be and their partners can use massage and aroma therapy to strengthen family bonds. Using aromatherapy in pregnancy is said to help enhance the benefits of pre-natal relaxation and breathing classes in the preparation for labor. The essential oils used in aromatherapy can also help nourish skin, preventing discomfort and scarring due to stretch marks.
After the first trimester, it's generally safe to begin using aromatherapy in pregnancy. A massage using aromatherapy essential oils mixed with a carrier oil like almond oil can help to relieve muscle stiffness and pain. Massaging the feet and legs with chamomile can help to relieve water retention and fatigue, while relieving muscles tension and pain.
Treatment with ginger, sweet orange, spearmint, or lemon aromatherapy oils may help ease morning sickness. Lavender, geranium, or frankincense may help to even out the emotional highs and lows common to pregnancy. The benefits of using aromatherapy in pregnancy may also include lowered blood pressure and decreased anxiety.
The relaxation benefits of using aromatherapy in pregnancy may help to prepare expectant mothers for labor. Hot baths and massages using aromatherapy essential oils may promote relaxation. During labor, essential oils such as jasmine, geranium, lavender, neroli, and ylang ylang can be placed in a bowl of hot water near the mother to ease the birth. These oils can help relax and soothe the mother, maintain uterine strength during the birth, assist the mother's breathing, and lower her blood pressure.
The use of essential aromatherapy oils in pregnancy can also be a part of the pregnancy skin-care regimen. Oils such as avocado, chamomile, or jojoba can help moisturize the skin, preventing itching and dryness that often comes with pregnancy. These oils may be less irritating and acne-inducing than other, more conventional skin-care products, at least during pregnancy. These essential oils can be used to help prevent stretch marks, and can be used in the bath to help prepare the skin of the reproductive organs for birth.
Most experts in aromatherapy recommend avoiding it during the first three months of pregnancy. Many aromatherapy oils are believed to have powerful properties that could prove dangerous to women during this stage of pregnancy. Some oils are considered unhealthy for any use during pregnancy. These oils include rose, cedarwood, basil, thyme, and lemongrass.