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Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum

Essential oils have the power to make you more comfortable through pregnancy, labor, and even postpartum.  But first,, what are essential oils?

Essential oils are natural aromatic compounds found in various parts of plants. It is the “lifeblood” of the plant and without it, plants couldn’t survive or thrive. These same compounds can help with any type of health concern our family has such as illness, allergies, pain, and emotional issues. They are 50-70 times more potent than herbs so you can imagine how powerful they can be.

As with any type of herb or natural medicine, make sure that you are purchasing the best quality essential oil on the market. Lower quality oils may state that they are 100% pure, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are 100% pure essential oils without fillers. I like to use oils from companies that use third party testers to ensure the quality. There are a few companies out there that do this type of testing. If you are using oils on newborns and during your pregnancy, you want to make sure of this purity.

So how do you use essential oils to help with common issues that most women experience during pregnancy? Here are some ideas that have helped my clients tremendously during various stages of pregnancy and labor.

-Morning Sickness- Peppermint is a wonderful oil that can be used directly on the abdomen, rubbed on the feet, or used as a tea to calm sick tummies. Lemon has also shown to alleviate that queasy feeling with a drop placed under the tongue or a few drops mixed in with water throughout the day (it tastes good and helps with water retention too!)

-Isomnia- Lavender helps to promote relaxation and a deep sleep. Simply rub a couple of drops on chest and the back of the neck. If you struggle with smells during your pregnancy, simply put the oil on the bottom of your feet. As a side note, lavender also helps with false labor pains and helps promote healthy circulation.

-Pain- who doesn’t suffer from pain during pregnancy? I haven’t met them yet! Peppermint can help with pain or migraines by simply rubbing it on the area that hurts. My favorite blend of oils for pain is called “Deep Blue” from doTerra Essential Oils (if you use another brand, please note the individual oils below). This is a combination that includes blue tansy, wintergreen, chamomile, helichrysum, osmanthus, and peppermint.  It feels wonderful and is on my “must list” for labor and delivery as well!  As an added bonus- frankincense will help increase the effectiveness of any oil and is the best oil to reduce inflammation.

-Migraines and headaches- Place frankincense, peppermint, and lavender one at a time on the area that is painful. It is amazing how this combination works on headaches. I find it also comforting that I am not putting any type of harmful chemicals in my body during pregnancy when I choose to use a more natural approach and use essential oils.

-Breast or nipple tenderness- Lavender and geranium will help relieve breast tenderness. Roman Chamomile is a wonderful oil that helps soothe sore nipples.

One of the most common questions that most women ask when deciding whether or not to try essential oils is “are they safe during pregnancy”? If an essential oil is pure, it is safe during pregnancy, but as with any new type of treatment please consult with your doctor or health professional.  One of the only oils that you should avoid during the first two trimesters of pregnancy is Clary Sage. This is a great oil if you are past your due date and hoping to induce labor. However, make sure to avoid it in the early stages.

I will be writing a second part of essential oils that focuses on postpartum issues and the usage of essential oils. Topics will include oils that can help with milk production or reduction, as well as oils that can help with a fussy or colicky baby. In the meantime, feel free to contact me via email for specific questions.

Wendy Bunnell is a mother of six children. She has had the privilege of adopting two of these beautiful children, having two traditional births, and two natural home births. Wendy has studied and taken hundreds of hours of education in the field of essential oils.  Wendy teaches classes on natural health and essential oils both in traditional classroom settings as well as online webinars each month.  You can find Wendy online at on Facebook at or via e-mail at

Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes?  We have an online birth class option and natural birth instructors in your area.  We also offer a comprehensive two disk breastfeeding DVD, “Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE”.

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