The Right Smells
Pregnancy can alter one’s perception of flavour and fragrance, sharpening or dampening an expectant mother’s sense of taste and smell. Fragrances play a role in pregnancy, and Ayurveda advocates the use of the decoction of fragrant spices like Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Bay Leaves during bathing for pregnant women. There is no prescribed herb list as every pregnancy is a personal experience, and you may develop strong feelings of like or dislike towards certain aromas to the extent that many women have strong fragrance memories related to their pregnancy.
Incense therapy and disinfection using aromatic plants are probably the world’s oldest forms of aromatherapy, and both are still used extensively in Ayurveda. The two primary purposes of incense and disinfection therapies are for air purification and treating emotional and mental stress. These uses parallel the role of essential oils in modern aromatherapy, which have strong antimicrobial properties and a direct effect on moods and emotions.
A maximum concentration of 2% essential oil in the base oil is recommended. In other words, the essential oil should be diluted in a base oil like Sesame, Olive, or Coconut Oil, to be safe to use. It is important to avoid prolonged exposure to essential oils without ventilation.
In the first trimester, it is best to consult with a certified aromatherapist before using herbal oils as some fragrances are known to cause a miscarriage. Some fragrances are known to be troublemakers, like Pine and Eucalyptus, which increase blood volume in circulation, raising body temperature and making you feel uncomfortable. A majority of the citrus essences can trigger photosensitivity and should not be used during pregnancy. Other fragrances to be avoided during pregnancy include Anise, Rosemary, Camphor, and Bitter Fennel.
While most fragrances have a de-stressing effect, different fragrances have specific roles to play in prenatal and postnatal care including late pregnancy, during labour, and post-delivery.
|Jasmine||Stimulates milk flow|
|Lavender||Brings about emotional balance, and relaxes and reduces headaches and muscle pains and aches|
|Frankincense||Highly recommended for calming nervous tension and hyperventilation. Helps to slow down and deepen breath cycles. Especially useful during labour and immediately after birth.|
You could keep a fragrance diary to note down which fragrances make you uncomfortable and which ones make you feel happy, so you know which aromas to avoid and which ones to keep close!