Essential Oils and the Postpartum Period

Welcome to part 3 of this three-part blog series about using essential oils during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. In part 1 of the series we discussed utilizing essential oils during pregnancy, if you missed it, you can find it here. Part two discussed how to utilize essential oils once you go into labor and keys to making a labor kit, if you missed it, you can find it here.

 

This blog will focus on the postpartum period and essential oils that can assist you in feeling your best, while your body gets back into the normal swing of things. We will also discuss some great hydrosol options for you and that new bundle of joy.

 

So, you’ve made it through your pregnancy and delivery and now are headed into the postpartum period. A woman’s body goes through intense hormonal changes from the moment of conception to well beyond the delivery of that precious bundle of joy. Many women experience postpartum depression after delivery, an experience that can leave you feeling lost and alone. If you are experiencing postpartum depression, please know that you are not alone! What you are feeling is a lot more normal than you may think and it’s ok to ask for help. If you feel that the depression is taking over and feel as if you can’t manage it on your own, be sure to talk with your doula or health provider about options for treatment.

 

Being a new mom is quite a beautiful journey. Some days will definitely feel harder than others, but in the end, it’s all a part of this wonderful and sometimes crazy journey called motherhood. So, what are some things you can do to be your most vibrant self after delivery? Well, I’m glad you asked!! Read on to find out ways to nourish yourself and that new bundle of joy during the postpartum period.

What you need to know about using essential oils around your new bundle of joy

The topic of using essential oils around babies and kids comes up quite often. Typically, I do not recommend utilizing essential oils on children under the age of two years. Essential oils are extremely powerful concentrated plant substances and while they are natural, there may still be some risk when utilizing them on small children and babies. One of the things to keep in mind is that often times a newborn baby or small child cannot effectively communicate with you how an essential oil is making them feel. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) for instance is known as being an extremely calming and soothing essential oil. However, for some it has the complete opposite effect and can make them feel uneasy or on edge.

So, what’s a new mom to do?

Hydrosols are a wonderfully effective option for babies and small children. Hydrosols (sometimes referred to as hydrolats or floral waters) are the coproduct of essential oil distillation and often times can carry similar therapeutic properties to the essential oil. Hydrosols are much gentler and can be used in a variety of ways. Here are a couple of my favorites:

    • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Hydrosol – This hydrosol can be added to baby’s bath to help relax and sooth. It can also be misted in the air, lightly on sheets, or your clothing to help calm at naptime or bedtime. It can help with minor skin irritations and can be mixed with German Chamomile hydrosol for diaper rash.

 

  • German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Hydrosol – This hydrosol is great for hot and red skin conditions. It’s also known for its calming capabilities. You can add a small amount to baby’s bath to sooth and relax. It can be mixed with Lavender hydrosol for diaper rash.
  • Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) Hydrosol – This hydrosol is extremely skin healing and can be used for minor, cuts, burns, scrapes and bruising. It can be mixed with German Chamomile hydrosol for skin irritations and rashes.

 

When my daughter was a newborn I used coconut oil as her diaper cream which worked like a charm. If she had diaper rash a 50/50 mix of Lavender and German Chamomile hydrosols were my go to. Sometimes, I would even just use straight Helichrysum hydrosol for diaper rash, which also worked great. I would spray the area first with the hydrosol mix and then follow up with coconut oil. The irritation was typically gone by the next diaper change.

What about diffusing around my new bundle of joy?

When it comes to diffusing I do not recommend diffusing around babies under 6 months of age. From ages 6 months – 2 years, low ambient intermittent (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off) diffusion in a well-ventilated room, as needed, is generally ok as long as you are using nourishing essential oils without any age contraindications. For this age group, less is more and I find utilizing 1-3 drops in a diffuser in a well-ventilated room is all you need.

With this age group, I recommend only diffusing as needed and for short periods of time. If you are looking to diffuse essential oils for peace and calming, one of my favorite recipes would be 2 drops of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and 1 drop of Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). I would still recommend using hydrosols over essential oils with this age group.

How to nurture yourself in the postpartum period…

Above we talked about postpartum depression, a reality for many new mothers. Our hormones are all over the place as our bodies are getting used to not being pregnant anymore. Mood swings and exhaustion are all too common during this time. Essential oils are wonderful for enhancing your mood and bringing about a euphoric state! Making yourself a personal inhaler to have on hand when you feel as if your mood is low is a wonderful way to support yourself during the postpartum period. Personal inhalers are a great and effective way to experience the benefits of aromatherapy. You can use them anytime without having to worry about exposing your newborn to essential oils. They are also compact and easy to carry in your pocket, diaper bag or purse.

Here are some of my favorite mood enhancing essential oils for the postpartum period:

    • Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) – Distilled from flowers, Neroli is my go-to for those that need strong emotional support. This essential oil is known for its calming effects and may help to reduce anxiety.
    • Orange (Sweet) (Citrus sinensis) – Cold pressed from fresh fruit rinds, Orange is beautifully uplifting, bright, and a wonderful essential oil to use to enhance your mood.
    • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) – Distilled from leaves, Geranium is known to relax the nerves and for its calming capabilities. Geranium is also known for its uplifting effects.

 

  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) – Distilled from roots, Vetiver is deeply calming and grounding. I love this essential oil since it helps to quiet the mind and allows you to enter a state of deep relaxation.

 

The essential oils above blend together beautifully and will leave you feeling uplifted yet relaxed. Don’t have access to a personal inhaler? No problem! You can put a few drops of the above essential oils on a cotton round and put it into a plastic Ziploc bag to inhale whenever you feel as if you need a little boost.

Other ways to support yourself during the postpartum period

Hydrosols can be used as a peri rinse, sitz bath, or a compress to help ease pain and irritation. 

Some of my favorites include: Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). You could use one or mix a little of each hydrosol for nourishing results. Pure aloe vera gel could also be added to the above hydrosols for extra nourishing results. If adding aloe vera gel I would recommend a 1:1 ratio to hydrosol. Your recipe may look something like this:

You can use the above mixture as a spray, peri rinse, sitz bath or on a compress.

Sweet Endings

Being a new mother is beautiful, magical, at times difficult, but oh so rewarding! I hope this series helps to give you a better understanding of how to utilize essential oils safely during your pregnancy, delivery and beyond.

Do you have a question that hasn’t been answered during this 3 part series? Feel free to email me at Sara@pneuma.online

Till next time friends!!

 

Essential Oils and Labor

Let’s Chat about Essential Oils & Labor!

Welcome to part two of this three-part blog series about essential oil use during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. In case you missed Part One about essential oil use during pregnancy you can read it here.

The female body is absolutely amazing, especially when we consider the fact that we can conceive and give life to another precious human being. From the moment you find out you’re pregnant your view of the world suddenly changes. You start considering all of the things you can do for self-care to ensure your pregnancy is as smooth as possible. You start thinking of how to find the perfect doula, boy and girl names, and what the perfect color will be for the nursery.

All of a sudden you start thinking about how everything is going to go once you’re in labor and what you want for a birth plan. Having a birth plan is key, it will ensure that your loved ones and providers know exactly how you want your birthing experience to be. Now, not everything may go according to plan. However, the birth plan can ensure nothing gets lost in translation once the magic of labor begins. Your doula will also be your best advocate in the labor and delivery room and will ensure that your birth plan is followed, so you can focus on laboring and delivering with ease.

Speaking of laboring with ease, have you ever wondered what essential oils would be best to have in your arsenal once you’re in labor? Well, friends, you’re in luck! This blog post is going to discuss some essential oils to pack and have on hand when the magic begins.

First things first, what do I need to know about bringing essential oils into the delivery room?

Sure, essential oils are natural and can assist with a variety of ailments. However, our sense of smell is uniquely individual. While one person may find an aroma comforting and pleasing, it may not be as pleasing or comforting to someone else. Prior to utilizing essential oils in your delivery room, I would recommend checking with the nursing staff to see if anyone that will be assisting you through the magical process of giving birth has any sensitivities or allergies to any of the essential oils you have brought along. One example I like to use is Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), we know lavender as being calming and soothing. However, for some, it has the complete opposite effect and can make some feel hyperactive, or on edge. We also have to remember that these precious essential oils are distilled from plant material, so if someone has an allergy to a particular plant chances are they may have an allergy to the essential oil as well.

Other considerations when preparing your essential oil labor kit-

I would recommend preparing a small kit for yourself with a couple different blends of essential oils. This way your blends will be easily accessible to you and you won’t have to worry about fumbling with multiple bottles of essential oils while you’re laboring. Not to mention, while in labor, an aroma you find pleasing one minute can be extremely displeasing the next. This is part of the reason I do not recommend bringing your home diffuser with, but rather placing a few drops of a single essential oil or an essential oil blend onto a cotton round and then place the cotton round in a plastic Ziploc bag. This way you can inhale an aroma at your leisure and if all of a sudden you are turned off by the smell, it’s easy enough to seal it up and get rid of it.

You can make multiple bags like this so you have a variety to choose from while in labor, just be sure to label the bags with each different aroma. You could also create a variety of personal inhalers to use in the same manner as the Ziploc bags while you’re laboring. Remember, stress can slow the laboring process so I would be sure to create a blend or pick essential oils that are soothing and relaxing to you.

A 10ml glass roller with diluted essential oils may also be another thing you want to consider for your kit. In the roller, you may want to use essential oils that can help with pain while laboring. This would also be a convenient application method for your partner to apply to your back and give you a massage while laboring.

Hydrosols would also be another thing I would recommend adding to your kit. Often times hydrosols have therapeutic properties similar to essential oils but their aromas are a lot softer. A hydrosol may be beneficial especially if your sense of smell is on overdrive while in labor and the aroma of an essential oil seems too intense.

What are some essential oils and Hydrosols I should consider for my labor kit?

Some essential oils I would recommend are:

  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Distilled from flowers, lavender is known to calm, sooth and reduce anxiety. Lavender also carries pain relieving properties.
  • Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum grandiflorum) – Solvent extracted from flowers, Jasmine Absolute is known to help regulate mood and may help to relieve back pain in the early stages of labor.
  • Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) – Distilled from flowers, Neroli is prized for its uplifting, calming and relaxing effects.
  • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum) – Distilled from leaves, Geranium offers wonderful emotional support.
  • Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – Distilled from flowers, Roman Chamomile can help to reduce anxiety and calm the mind.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Distilled from rhizomes (roots), Ginger may help to relieve nausea and help combat burnout.

Some hydrosols I would recommend are:

 

  • German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – German Chamomile hydrosol is extremely skin nourishing and calming for the mind.
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Lavender can help to enhance your mood and can also be very calming and soothing.

 

What dilution of essential oils should I use when formulating my labor kit?

If you are utilizing standard size cotton rounds in a plastic bag, I would recommend 4-6 drops of essential oil per cotton round. If you are formulating a massage blend to take with you I would recommend a 1% dilution (5-6 drops) of essential oils per 1 ounce of carrier. When it comes to utilizing Aromatherapy during labor the key is to not overdo it and remember we are simply assisting our bodies with the natural process of labor.

Wondering what a labor cotton round blend might look like? Here is a sample recipe to calm, soothe and promote a euphoric state. 

 

I can smell the lovely aroma as a type and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Becoming a mother is such a magical time and I am so grateful to be able to share some aromatherapy love with all of you! If the thought of putting together your own labor kit seems a little daunting, I would be more than happy to formulate and put a labor kit together for you. Feel free to email me with any questions at Sara@Pneuma.online.

 

 

Sara is a level 2 AIA & NAHA Certified Aromatherapist, a Certified Aromatherapy Teacher Level 1 and owner of Pneuma, LLC. She resides in Green Bay with her husband Rick, and daughter Viola. Sara began her journey to natural living 8 years ago when she realized that the “food” she was eating, wasn’t really food at all. After cleaning up her diet and cleaning out her cupboards, Sara began to look at other ways to cut chemicals from her life and began making her own cleaning products; lotions, body butters, toothpaste, laundry detergent and more. Aromatherapy always piqued Sara’s interest and with so much misinformation out there, she knew she had to gain her Certification so she could help others utilize essential oils safely in their day to day lives. Sara believes in the bodies innate ability to heal itself, when given the proper tools, and has a passion for helping others live a more naturally minded lifestyle. Sara is also an abstract artist and cosmetologist. In her free time, Sara enjoys swimming with her daughter and husband, writing, reading, going for bike rides and soaking up as much sun as possible.