by Suzie McDarra, LMT
As much as Peppermint essential oil provides mental clarity, Frankincense too is particularly good for memory and focus, making the combination great in combating the forgetfulness of “pregnancy brain”. This is because Frankincense has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds for the brain. Diffuse Frankincense with a drop or two of one or more essential oils of Peppermint Lemon, Ginger or Spearmint to boost your memory. Emotionally, Frankincense enhances a meditative space by calming the nervous system. Diffusing it in the birth space brings the ability to “be here now”. Educator, Stephanie Pearson says it's ability to help you “stay present” during birth, makes it outstanding for pre-labour anxiousness, the transition phase of labour, and mother-infant bonding.
"Frankincense essential oil is one of those "must have" essential oils for the birth kit because it has such a diverse number of benefits. It strengthens the immune system and supports the digestive system and is thought to facilitate postpartum physiological changes for infants (eg. breathing & digesting). It is a very beneficial in helping new mothers avoid postpartum blues," Stephanie says.
Physically, because Frankincense oil helps inflamed joints, I find it is particularly useful in a massage blend to use during both pregnancy and birth. It can either be applied by itself or mixed in a pain-relief blend which your support person can rub it on your sacroiliac joints (SIJ) where the two dimples are on your lower back. It is safe to use during pregnancy and labour to alleviate lower back pain and nerve discomfort symptoms like sciatica which can often cause pain in the lower back, through the glutes and down the leg. It tones and strengthens the uterus, particularly during labour. It can also be used with Geranium for perineum massage in preparation for birth in order to avoid episiotomy, throughout the birthing process or in a sitz bath or spray to help heal perineum tears or hemorrhoids in pregnancy or postnatally. It is also a wonderful skin repairer so its use during pregnancy can help avoid or treat existing stretch marks and dryness. It can be used postpartum to help heal a cesarean scar during the maturation healing phase (after about 21 days). Applying Frankincense in your wound healing blend can help reduce scar thickness and also make the skin area of the wound stronger. Whether for mum or bub, it's also beneficial to dilute in a carrier oil and rub on hormonal rashes or pimples along with a drop of Tea Tree oil.
Spiritually, Frankincense is revered in many religions, but particularly the Christian religion, where it was gifted along with Myrrh and gold to baby Jesus by those three wiser-than-most dudes. It was used in ancient times across many cultures as a protection to ward off evil. For this reason, I really like to include Frankincense in Birth Blends for the diffuser to keep your birthing space smelling warm and woody and feeling safe and sacred.
Watch Stephanie's webinar on Frankincense to see some more fascinating uses from different cultures.
Precautions or Contraindications: Avoid Frankincense if you suffer from asthma. Whilst Frankincense is beneficial internally, Daily Nectar Essentials does not recommend oral use of any essential oils while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are interested in using Frankincense internally, although it's one to keep in mind for internal use once you finish breastfeeding. Frankincense has 200 recognised medicinal compounds, many with benefits for maternity.
Learn more about Suzie.
It's kind of strange to admit, but I never liked essential oils until I was introduced to therapeutic-quality. The oils that I'd tried didn't work for me. On top of that I didn't have a keen enough sense of smell to enjoy them for the sake of scent alone. At the time that this all changed it had been ten years since the birth of my first child.
We adopted our lab, Ruby, as an eight-week old puppy. Naturally, as an herbalist and dog-lover, I was curious about which essential oils are good for dogs, particularly, which essential oils are good for fleas, ticks, and tissue recovery, such as after a spay or neuter.
There is nothing like the experience, the intensity, or the transformation of going through full-on, active labor. I recall from my own first childbirth that the experience of early labor was a state of full awareness bound up with excitement, exhilaration, and anxiousness; you are living right on the edge of the spectacular, while dreading the impending muck of the pain and terror of the unknown. From this mixture of adrenaline and fatigue, just when I was forgetting what I was doing and why I was doing it (baby, what?!), full-on active labor dug in.
#1 Eat protein before noon
Researchers have found that keeping serotonin at healthy levels can help to alleviate depression, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, panic, and even excess anger. Eating protein in the morning ensures that our bodies have the building blocks needed to make the amino acid tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin.
"Essential Oils for Prenatal Nausea and Digestion" was originally Published in Midwifery Today Issue Number 116 (Winter 2015 )
The use of essential oils for nausea and fatigue during labor is just the crowning head to an incredible breadth of possible uses throughout the childbearing year. Yet, starting with essential oil uses for digestion is a good idea for midwives and moms-tobe who are just beginning to integrate this powerful natural health modality into practice.
"Birth Kit Essentials" was written and originally published on by Aromatools on their blog, https://blog.aromatools.com/ (July 6, 2015 )
During the Week of Wellness at AromaTools™, Stephanie Pearson came to teach a class on using essential oils during pregnancy and labor as well as using oils to help care for yourself and your baby afterward.
Stephanie Pearson has worked with herbal medicine for over 25 years and is a clinical herbalist, functional nutritionist, and clinical aromatherapist master, in process. She created an e-course, Essential Oils for the Birth Kit, that is a comprehensive, evidence-based, and unbiased five-hour course on using essential oil therapy during each phase of pregnancy and in infant care.
Despite the ever-growing body of research on essential oils, there is only a wee amount of study conducted on essential oil use during pregnancy- this owing to the unethical nature of conducting research on pregnant women.
The quick answer, though, is yes, many essential oils do cross the placenta (and cell membranes, and the blood brain barrier), which is why it is especially important to be mindful of essential oil concentration and purity during pregnancy. (Tillett & Ames, 2010)
With so much interest in essential oils recently, it is not surprising that more and more oils are showing up in the labor room. The practice of using essential oils is an incredibly potent and safe natural health modality that can make a profound addition to any mom-to-be, doula, or midwife's birth bag. Knowing how to adapt general use for use in labor is simple with the right tools. Enjoy the blends below for general care in healthy, normal labors. See a list of my favorite oils for labor.
Stephanie McBride is a published writer and certified clinical herbalist who has worked with herbal medicine for over 20 years. She has been in practice as a functional nutritionist and essential oil educator for Daily Nectar since 2009.