Essential oils and water birth? Possible?

Discussion in 'Home & Natural Birthing' started by MrsK, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. MrsK

    MrsK DH, 2 boys, #3 on the way

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    Hello all, maybe somebody here will have an answer to my question. I just recently got into essential oils, and bought quite a few 100% pure therapeutic grade.. I've really enjoyed using them for a cold I'm battling as well as a few other pregnancy ailments.

    I had a home waterbirth with my first baby, and although I would like to say that it was amazing-- it was actually pretty horrible. lol. I was sooo optimistic going into it all, probably overly so, and was absolutely unprepared for a really fast 5 hour labor with non-stop contractions which were so horribly painful that I thought I was losing my mind. None of the "painless orgasmic birth" stuff on my part.. ha!

    Anyway, so I'm hoping to be able to manage the pain this time around with essential oils. I don't want to give up on my waterbirth, though, because although I don't feel that the warm water really reduced the pain for me, it certainly was the only thing that kept me going. It was just so comforting and really helped me switch positions with ease.

    Is it possible? Can I safely use essential oils, knowing they will probably end up in the water which the baby will be born into? I'm planning on asking my midwife at the next appointment.. but thought that maybe you ladies would have some input.

    Also, if anybody has suggestions for which oils to use, please let me know! I'm pretty new to this.. and Google has so many conflicting opinions ;-) If you have experienced essential oils during labor, let me know!
     
  2. booflebump

    booflebump Mummy to Toby

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    You wouldn't put them directly in you birth pool, but there are many ways to use them during labour - diffuser, massage when blended with a carrier oil, inhalation, on a hot or cold compress and diffused in water as well.
     
  3. gryphongrl

    gryphongrl Well-Known Member

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    I am not totally informed about this but know that some of the essential oils need to be avoided during pregnancy... I found this list - http://www.essentialoils.co.za/pregnancy.htm

    I've been avoiding all sorts of things during pregnancy that would have the "estrogenic" effect like parabens. And will continue avoiding to use around the baby after birth. However I don't think that using some for aromatherapy to manage pain would be a problem since the exposure would be so short term as long as they are definitely not in the water... if in the water it will float on the surface, and when the baby passes through it, oil will get on her skin and baby skin shouldn't have anything on it but water for quite a while after birth.
     
  4. MindUtopia

    MindUtopia Well-Known Member

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    I'm planning to use them in a diffuser (with a candle for me to focus on as well) during my water birth. I agree, I probably wouldn't put them in the water, though perhaps you might think of taking a bath in early labour (like in your bath tub, not in your birth pool) and using some then for relaxation before you move into the birth pool itself. I've been using my diffuser now periodically with a few oils and it's been really great. I don't think I'd get quite the same benefit from using them in massage oil to be honest. I really like them in the diffuser. That might be something to consider?

    There are plenty of essential oils you can safely use in pregnancy and birth though. For birth (as well as my hypnotherapy practice leading up to birth, I'm used natal hypnotherapy), I plan to use lavender and rose. Also, something unrelated that you might consider is doing a lot of prep work around relaxation and breathing techniques (either using some form of hypnotherapy or another approach), as I've heard the most important thing you can do as far as coping with pain in very fast labours is learning to control your breath to keep yourself relaxed. Aromatherapy should definitely help with this, but maybe there are other things you can try as well.
     
  5. gryphongrl

    gryphongrl Well-Known Member

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    Personally I worry about lavender because of the effects it's been shown to have on boys (out of the womb), effects that have been seen on a cellular level and thus possibly can happen in the womb?... I found an article relating the use of lavender bath products to the abnormal growth of breast tissue - (http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/jan2007/niehs-31.htm)

    I just don't know, there are a lot of things I've given up over pregnancy and a lot of things I haven't (for instance, I am drinking black tea right this moment) and it's hard to know where to draw the line. MindUtopia, I love the smell of lavender - its my absolute favorite and I packed away all my lavender things because of the possible phytoestrogen effects. Have you found any research that would put my mind at ease so I could bring out my lavender massage oil again? I seem to remember you are a phD candidate and I am certainly not. :) Endocrine disruptors really really worry me in particular.
     
  6. pimento1979

    pimento1979 Well-Known Member

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    I heard from an aromatherapist that the only truly safe oil to use in pregnancy is mandarin, so that's what I've bought :)
     
  7. Sam Pearson

    Sam Pearson Mother of 4

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    I'm a qualified aromatherapist and a home/water birther.

    I did use Clary Sage at a point in labour when my father came into the room and talked to me which brought on some very painful contractions (he is old school and knows nothing about women's business including not to interrupt a labouring woman). It took the edge off the contractions and my father left the house and I was back happily labouring again.

    I used Clary Sage - which is a uterine tonic and not to be confused with Sage which is a very powerful EO not to be used in labour. I put 2 drops in a small bowl, dipped a cloth in, wrung it out and used it as a compress over my abdomen. Then when I wanted to hop in the pool I wiped my tummy with a cloth to get most of the EO off.

    I'd not use an oil diffuser in labour or any EOs unless specifically for medical purposes - it's important for a newborn, whose sense of smell is much stronger than an adults - not to be bombarded with strong smells and more importantly it's vital that baby can smell mother's natural scent.

    As for lavender baths for boys - a Lavender bath for the purposes of treating a medical condition is fine but I'd not give anybody regular doses of any oil, even one considered relatively gentle like Lavender - it's not necessary and each dose of any EOs has a therauputic affect on the body - they aren't just nice scents.

    Lavender is wonderful for burns and insect stings like wasps and bees (you can use it neat for that purpose) and it can be used for the mental chatter that keeps you from sleeping but it isn't a sedative as may people believe but rather can be stimulating or sedative depending on the individual case and what oils you mix it with - so don't just use it with a baby that isn't sleeping well or you might end up with the opposite effect.

    I used EOs with caution in pregnancy and used smaller doses than recommended - I used 1 drop of peppermint oil in the bath despite many books saying to avoid it (I checked with my aromatherapy instructor first) and it took 80% of my nausea (morning sickness) away and allowed me to continue on with my day and care for my older children. I also used Jasmine and Rose which are both uterine tonics and good for dealing with fear of childbirth. As a rule the oils that are edible - lavender, orange, lemon, peppermint etc. are the safest to use. Never use an oil that you don't like the smell of as it most likely won't agree with your individual Constitution.

    My understanding is that Lavender EO should be avoided in the first trimester by women with a history of miscarriage.

    HTH
    Sam
     
  8. Sam Pearson

    Sam Pearson Mother of 4

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    Mandarin is what I like to call the "welcome" oil. I love to use it when shy children are coming to visit or for children's birthday parties if the young guests don't already know each other. It makes a person feel welcome. Also fantastic for grochy poos who are giving up an addiction (smoking, sugar, anything really) and makes them much nicer to be around. I think of all the oils to use for a new baby this would be one of the lovely ones but I'd still wait until bub was a week or so old and stick to natural smells until then (my hubby and I didn't wear deodorant or any smelly things during the early bonding phase) and use it sparingly. It would make a nice addition to a final nappy rinse.
     
  9. jensha

    jensha Well-Known Member

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    Interesting information, thanks :thumbup:
     
  10. flubdub

    flubdub Well-Known Member

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    Really informative, as usual, Sam, thanks!
    I put a few drops of lavender in with my nappies - would you recommend not doing, or using a different oil, if lavender isnt so good for boys?
     
  11. MrsAmk

    MrsAmk Well-Known Member

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    So using lavendar during pregnancy can cause adverse effects to the baby? I have been putting drops of it in my baths for a while now! :(
     
  12. Sam Pearson

    Sam Pearson Mother of 4

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    I would (and did) use Lavender when pregnant. I just used 1/4 the usual amount.

    I'd use it in a wash for a boy - I'm not sure it's not fine for males anyway - I usually used tea tree or eucalyptus in my nappy washes but have used Lavender, too.

    The main thing with birthing in water would be to wipe most of the EO off the mother before she hops in the pool and after that I expect any remaining will be so diluted by the pool water it will be fine.
     
  13. MindUtopia

    MindUtopia Well-Known Member

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    I just had a look at this study and no I wouldn't be too worried about it. It's just based on a case study of 3 individuals and then a little bit of lab work, but it wouldn't be all that convincing to most scientists. Basically, it's a report on three boys who developed gynecomastia (breast growth in men) and they also happened to be using some lavender bath soap, etc. When the took the bath soap away, the condition eventually went away as well. But that doesn't mean the bath soap caused the condition. It could have been something else entirely that also changed in their lifestyle after they were diagnosed. As we like to say in science, correlation doesn't equal causation. They did do some lab study of the effects of lavender and it does appear to work in some ways as an estrogen, but again, that doesn't mean that's all that's needed to cause gynecomastia or else we would have seen it develop in lots more boys than these three. There could be so many more things going on here. And anyway, it's not a full-scale study, just a small report. To test if there is actually some reason to believe topical lavender use causes gynecomastia, there would need to be a much larger study that this, and you'd be likely to see the relationship fall apart at that level, since obviously gynecomastia is a very rare condition but lavender is a pretty common oil used in all sorts of things.

    If you're concerned, just don't use pure lavender bath products or oils on any boys you might have. That doesn't mean all 'lavender-scented' products because most don't actually contain lavender anyway. But there's no evidence that you using lavender topically would affect your children. So no it wouldn't worry me at all. Honestly, I'd probably be much more concerned about the effects of estrogens in drinking water. Yes, really, many city water supplies have really high levels of estrogen because it's not always filtered out properly in treatment, and there have been some relationships found between high estrogen levels in drinking water and the development of hormonal problems in boys and men. But still, you need water to live and it wouldn't keep me from drinking water though!
     
  14. Sam Pearson

    Sam Pearson Mother of 4

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    Personally, Id not use a Lavender bath product everyday. I use EOs as medicine so I'd not want to be treating myself with any EO unless it was for a specific purpose. Having said that I do use rose and jasmine oils as perfume sometimes but not everyday and only when those oils appeal to me. I also avoid EO scented play dough and other toys for children for the same reason.

    I was taught that a strong indicator as to whether an oil is suitable for a person is if the smell appeals to them...and more importantly never to use an oil even if it is the one I'd normally use to treat a condition if the person has an aversion to the smell. If you absolutely love the smell of an oil I don't think it will harm you so long as you aren't using higher doses than recommended.
     
  15. KAJ2018

    KAJ2018 New Member

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    Did you use jasmine and rose in the actual water ?
     

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