14/04/2016 11:05 BST | Updated 15/04/2017 06:12 BST

Harmony and Balance to Mind, Body and Spirit During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is hard graft on both your mind and your body, growing a small person inside you for nine months is pretty much the most remarkable thing you will do in your life and although it is a beautiful and natural thing, pregnancy takes its toll on your emotions, your stress levels and your physical wellbeing. Woman have turned to the use of plant based remedies for pregnancy ailments for thousands of years and today we have a wealth of essential oils available to us to help with everything from anxiety to varicose veins.

Many mums to be find using products containing essential oils a wonderful way to relieve some of the more unpleasant side-effects of pregnancy. Essential oils themselves are highly concentrated substances extracted from plants and if you plan to use the oils in pregnancy then it is best to seek some advice from your midwife or a qualified aromatherapist, especially in the first trimester. Products containing nutmeg, rosemary, basil, jasmine, clary sage, rose and juniper berry are best avoided but products containing citrus oils, german camomile, common lavender, peppermint, geranium, spearmint, ylang ylang, eucalyptus and bergamot can have a soothing and beneficial effect, helping to ease those pregnancy niggles. From week 12 to week 40, essential oils can be used to combat backache, sciatic pain, headache, insomnia, tiredness, depression, sinusitis, constipation, heartburn, indigestion, haemorrhoids, varicose veins, swelling of hands and feet and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and stretch marks. No wonder products containing these oils are so popular! You may want to seek out a lovely moisturising ointment, something to soothe and nourish, or a relaxing bath soak to ease those aches and pains and promote natural sleep.

It is also a lovely idea to prepare a toolkit of essential oils to use in labour. Again this is best done under the supervision of someone qualified to advise you as the oils can have a powerful effect. Make sure you have a sniff of the oils before the big day, smell can release powerful emotions and you can guarantee that if a smell makes you feel overwhelmed or nauseous now you will not want to smell it in labour! Pick oils that resonate with you, that create an atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable and supported and then make sure your birth partner knows how and when you would like to use them. Oils such as clary sage, jasmine, lavender, mandarin, peppermint, lemon, roman chamomile, frankincense, rose and neroli can all be used safely, under supervision, in labour.

It doesn't stop there! Essential oils can also be used in the postpartum period to promote relaxation and bonding, stimulate lactation, ease perineal pain, encourage healing and reduce swelling and help prevent baby blues and postnatal depression. Calendula, witch hazel, lavender and citrus oils can all be beneficial for healing and emotional wellbeing at this tricky time. Your new baby can also benefit from products containing essential oils, there is nothing more precious than a new born baby's skin, so soft and delicate you need only the most gentle and natural products to keep baby happy and healthy. If you look for a product with no parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, fragrances, palm oil or lanolin then baby's skin should stay gorgeously soft and healthy and calendula, lavender evening primrose oil and jojoba can all help with any rashes and dry patches.

Pregnancy is a time in life when we try and avoid too many chemicals or synthetic remedies and essential oils offer us a more natural path to relieve the physical and emotional stresses and strains of growing another human being. When used in the right way they can bring a wonderful harmony and balance to mind, body and spirit.

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