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Essential Oils During Postpartum: How Safe is it?

What is postpartum?

The postpartum period starts immediately after a woman gives birth. During this period, the new mother's body starts to revert back to her pre-pregnancy state. This includes the hormone levels, uterus size and any bodily changes.

 What to expect during postpartum?

If you are a new mother, you may experience a myriad of emotions ranging from joy, sadness, frustration and even confusion. Physical discomfort is also inevitable, after all, you had just given birth. This may bring about some inconveniences in your routine, which some mother's may feel unhappy about.

Essential Oil Safety

Using essential oils are generally safe, however, during the postpartum period, it is best advised to use with extreme care as the body's hormonal levels are still equalizing itself. Ideally, you would want to wait at least 3 days after giving birth before you start on any essential oils.

Before you dive into using essential oils for postpartum, here are some safety guidelines you should follow.

1. Never ingest essential oils

Essential oils are meant for aromatherapy or topical use only. They are not for consumption. So if you have a sudden craving for peppermint tea or chamomile tea, please don't use essential oils to make your teas!

2. Never apply essential oils undiluted on the skin

Essential oils are extremely potent, therefore it is highly advisable to dilute your essential oils with a carrier oil before using it onto your skin. How much to dilute? As a rule of thumb, 1 to 3 drops of essential oil is sufficient enough to dilute in a palm sized full carrier oil.

3. Stop using essential oils if you feel uncomfortable

Your body is not at its best state at this moment, so if you ever feel an unpleasant reaction coming when using any of these oils, stop using them immediately.

Essential Oils for Postpartum Healing

These essential oils are generally safe to use during postpartum:

  1. Bergamot: A great mood-elevator and anxiety soother.
  2. Clary Sage: Helps with afterbirth contractions and has a bright, calming aroma.
  3. Frankincense: Promotes skin healing for the perineum and c-section incision site as well as stretch marks.
  4. Helichrysum: Anti-microbial and promotes regeneration of skin especially for the perineum and stretch marks.
  5. Lavender: Good for just about everything.  Soothes anxiety, helps heal skin around the perineum, stretch marks, cracked nipples, and mastitis.
  6. Melaleuca: Anti-microbial and promotes skin regeneration. Good for mastitis and a c-section scar.
  7. Roman Chamomile: Analgesic for afterbirth contractions and perineum as well as a great skin soother.
  8. Ylang-Ylang:  Sweet-smelling aroma for calming the mood and easing anxiety.

 Some DIY postpartum remedies you can create are:

1. Comforting feminine mist

You will need:

  • 2 oz glass bottle
  • 3 drops of frankincense essential oil
  • 3 drops of helichrysum essential oil
  • 1 tbsp of carrier oil (coconut, almond, avocado or olive)
  • Purified water

Add the essential oils and carrier oil to the bottle and top with water. Spray as needed onto the vagina and perineum to promote healing and soothe irritated skin.

2. Stretch marks body butter

  • ½ cup of shea butter
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of vitamin E
  • 8 drops of frankincense
  • 5 drops of helichrysum
  • 5 drops of lavender

Melt the shea butter and coconut oil together in a double boiler or pyrex and as it cools stir in the essential oils.  Allow this to solidify into a salve or whip with a mixer to create a fluffy body butter. Apply as needed to stretch marks or dry skin on the body, this is an all-star skin healer.

3. C-section incision gel

  • 1 oz aloe vera gel
  • 5 drops of melaleuca
  • 3 drops of frankincense
  • 3 drops of lavender

Apply to the incision area and allow the gel to dry.  Once it does, cover with a cotton pad to keep it dry and absorb any oozing that may be happening from the site. If your healthcare provider recommends that you stop dressing the wound, you can apply the gel and leave it uncovered.  If your skin reacts negatively to the oils, stop using them.

4. Postpartum  essential oil blend

  • 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops of bergamot essential oil
  • 2 drops ylang ylang essential oil

Place in a diffuser and take deep breaths while resting quietly (no phones or distractions if possible!)  These essential oils should help you to relax as well as release any sadness or negative emotions you may holding.