Pregnancy can cause changes in our skin - some of which are welcome, and others not so much. Many women report having increased skin sensitivity in pregnancy, or may experience breakouts, red patches, dry patches or the condition called chloasma whereby a mask-like pigmentation appears on the face. Some women also experience the onset of rosacea during pregnancy, which may or may not disappear after birth. These changes are often due to the hormonal changes that are taking place in your body. Skin breakouts may also be the result of feeling tired and somewhat rundown, especially if your sleep has been broken or inconsistent.
You may find that your usual creams and lotions may react differently on your skin now that you are expecting, or that you have become more sensitive to their fragrances and perhaps find them overpowering and even nauseating - even though you may have used them for years without any issue. This may require a review of your skin care routine to include products that contain ingredients to which your skin (and your pregnancy) will respond more positively.
It is very important to be aware of which products and ingredients you are putting on your skin, and never more so than when you are pregnant. This is because many chemical constituents and various molecules of skincare products can pass through the skin’s barrier, reach the bloodstream, and can also cross the placental barrier to be apparent in the baby’s bloodstream and amniotic fluid.
I recommend the following:
Essential oils that are beneficial for skin treatments are many, but my favourite ones are: Frankincense, roman chamomile, lavender, rose, mandarin and geranium. They can stimulate cell renewal, improve blood flow to the area, can be anti-inflammatory, improve the appearance of wrinkles and scars, and smell absolutely gorgeous. They are also worlds apart in terms of scent quality from the artificially constructed synthetic fragrances found in perfumes and mainstream cosemetics.
Remember that essential oils must ALWAYS be diluted in a carrier oil (like any of the ones mentioned above) before being applied to the skin. Here is a beautifully balancing facial oil for evening use, that will help to calm and restore, and nourish both your skin and your mind:
30mls Apricot Oil
2 drops Frankincense essential oil
1 drop Lavender essential oil
1 drop Geranium essential oil
2 drops Mandarin essential oil
Using clean fingers, apply about 5mls of your blend all over your face and neck using slow sweeping strokes, and massage in for about 4 minutes, until all the oil has been absorbed.
(You can store the remainder of your blend in a dark coloured glass bottle or jar for use at another time. Keep it away from direct heat and light.)
I hope you like this facial oil blend for pregnancy skin changes - I’d love to hear how you get on with it. I have included a whole chapter on how to treat all aspects of pregnant skin from hormonal breakouts, to rosacea and dry skin in my book AromaBump - the Belly Bible for Aromatherapy in Pregnancy. You can get it on Amazon here: amzn.to/2tjHar7
The reasons for anxiety during pregnancy can be many and varied. Pregnancy can be overwhelming and may bring forth many new concerns for a woman. Simply being pregnant can be a cause of anxiety. Am I ok? Is the baby ok? Will I/we be able to cope with another baby? Symptons of anxiety may include fearfulness, insomnia, invasive thoughts, tearfulness, breathing difficulties and bouts of excessive perspiration. Aromatherapy can help you deal with any of these potential daily upsets.
Using oils in a body oil or a bath oil can be really beneficial and a favourite blend of mine is the following:
Use 50ml of your preferred carrier oil (e.g. sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil) and add the following essential oils:
Frankincense 4 drops
Lavender 5 drops
Rose 1 drop
Vetiver 1 drop
If you feel that you are prone to periods of anxiety in your pregnancy, it may be helpful to use this blend regularly, and not wait for an anxiety attack to happen.
In acute instances of anxiety however, it can be helpful to inhale two drops of essential oil directly from a tissue. You can keep breathing into the tissue for two to three minutes until the feelings begin to subside.
Here are my suggestions for use in these intense and often overwhelming occasions:
Lavender 1 drop
Neroli 1 drop
Frankincense 1 drop
Lavender 1 drop
Roman Chamomile 1 drop
Rose 1 drop
I hope you enjoy using these blends, and that they provide some relief from your pregnancy anxiety. If you have any feedback on how they might have helped you, I would love to hear about it.
In pregnancy, as baby develops and grows bigger, our poor hips can be subjected to so much pressure that it can cause major discomfort, tiredness and pain.
For a lot of women, hip pain becomes worse at night time and affects their ability to sleep. They keep changing sides trying to get comfortable, which in itself can be exhausting and obviously means that your sleep is broken and disrupted. Not much fun when you have to get up the next morning and try to function normally!
I find aromatherapy to be really wonderful in helping with this sort of pain. Using essential oils that are pain-relieving in a warm bath and/or massage can really help improve how your hips feel, and help you to sleep bettter too.
Suggested Aromatherapy Blend for
(This can be used in the bath, or as a massage oil)
50ml of grapeseed or sweet almond oil
(Use a dark coloured glass bottle, or a little ceramic bowl for blending)
Add the following essential oils:
4 drops Frankincense
4 drops Lavender
2 drops Roman Chamomile
1 drop Vetiver
1 drop Ylang Ylang
Use 10-15mls of your blend and add it to a warm, drawn bath. Disperse the oil through the water with your hand. Get in and relax for about 20 minutes. Be careful getting in and out of the bath tub as the oils will cause the surface to become slippery
Use a moderate amount of your blend and massage it well into your lower back, hips, buttocks and upper thighs. Be careful not to apply too much pressure to your sacrum area before full term pregnancy.
(Store the remainder of your blend in a dark coloured glass bottle or jar with a lid so you save it for next time.)
This blend smells gorgeous as well as having pain relieving and sleep inducing properties.
I hope you enjoy using it.
Lisa Heeney is a professional aromatherapist who specialises in pregnancy. She is the author of 'AromaBump - The Belly Bible for Aromatherapy in Pregnancy', and has developed a range of beautiful body products to support women throughout their pregnancies.