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Pregnancy, Labor and Aromatherapy.

Any information given here is not intended to replace medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before using essential oils, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.

Julia Lawless' Encyclopedia of Essential Oils lists the following essentials that should be avoided during pregnancy: ajowan, angelica, anise star, aniseed, basil, bay laurel, calamintha, cedarwood(all types), celery seed, cinnamon leaf, citronella, clary sage, clove, cumin, fennel (sweet), hyssop, juniper, labdanum, lovage, marjoram, myrrh, nutmeg, parsley, snakeroot, Spanish sage, tarragon and thyme (white). These oils should be avoided during the first four months of pregnancy: peppermint, rose and rosemary. Essential oils should be used in half the recommended amount during pregnancy.

Essential oils can also be very soothing during labor as well as assist mother nature with the process. Here are some interesting tips that were published in 1994 by the Nursing Times (1994, Vol 90, 9) in an article entitled "Using Aromatherapy in Childbirth."

Clary Sage: relieves tension, brings on labor, helps with expelling afterbirth. Sage stimulates the uterine muscles ...so only use to encourage labor.

Geranium Rose: enhances circulation and is good for labor management techniques which focus on breathing.

Jasmine: dulls uterine pain, strengthens contractions and promotes birth. Jasmine has also been known to increase milk supply. Also excellent when mixed with lavender and a carrier oil such as evening primrose or almond oil for perineal and cervical massage.

Lavender: dulls and eases uterine pain but also increases the strength of the contractions.

Myrrh: Speeds labor and opens cervix.

Neroli: reduces fear, tension, insomnia, apprehension and anxiety.

Rose: antidepressant and softens ligaments for the big push.

Remember this list is for labor..not for the course of the pregnancy!