The best Essential Oils for Pregnancy + Newborns

If you’ve ever been pregnant, then you know about the game where one person tells you her best pregnancy horror story and then the next woman tries to outdo her.

The best way to celebrate a new mom is to make sure she is thoroughly terrified to become one, apparently.

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People tell you about swollen feet and sleepless nights, but the most schocking part of pregnancy is one that no one will tell you about.

So of course, I was entirely unprepared for the way that people started pushing their own narrative on me even before my jeans stopped buttoning.

I was annoyed by so many blatant intrusions into a story that I had only just sat down to write.

Of course, she’ll find out the sex. Of course, she’ll have a hospital birth. Of course, she’ll ask for the epidural, (silly girl just doesn’t understand how painful it’s going to be).

Obviously, she’s miserable; look at those feet! Obviously, she’s keeping her job. Obviously she doesn’t know how much sleep she’ll be missing.

No doubt, no doubt, no doubt that your story will read exactly the way theirs did.

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While all three of my pregnancies have been easy and uncomplicated, the first two left me feeling very much like a puppet in someone else’s play - bopped here and tugged there by a slew of well-meaning but presumptuous puppeteers.

Using Essential Oils During Pregnancy (And Other Eccentric Ideas)

This pregnancy with Isaac was my first one using essential oils. Because I wanted to prevent uninvited advice from derailing my happiness over this new baby, I made a point of creating routines that felt peaceful and empowering.

Every morning, I let the sweet smell of Geranium essential oil mingle with the fried-eggs-and-coffee-scent of my kitchen. Now, it’s a forever reminder of my big kids coming to plant sleepy morning kisses on my growing bump.

Each night, when everyone was asleep, I sat in the dim light and massaged Gentle Baby onto my belly.

Those quiet moments with just my third-born, learning his habits and feeling his ever-stronger kicks, reminded me that I was chosen to be his mama because I’m exactly the mama he needs.

And for the first time, I felt like my voice was the one telling the story of my pregnancy.

Essential oils for natural birth. Copyright Racheal Webster 2019.

As with any unconventional idea, plenty of people will (perhaps not politely) suggest that using essential oils while you’re pregnant is silly, misguided, or even dangerous.

I (politely) suggest that you read up on the topic and make whichever choice your gut tells you is the right one.

I used the Gentle Babies book for suggestions about specific oils and general precautions to take during pregnancy. I also double-checked with my chiropractor and midwife that oil-infused supplements were safe to continue taking.

Using Essential Oils During Labor

I went into my first two labors with the mindset that childbirth was something that was going to happen to me, not something that I was going to take part in.

Best essential oils for labor and birth. Copyright Racheal Webster 2019.

I had an epidural with my first baby, but my second labor progressed too quickly for even an IV port.

I walked into labor and delivery seven centimeters dilated and pushed our baby girl out half an hour later as Trey rushed back into the room with nurses he pulled from the hallway.

There was no doctor instructing me to push. No medicated fog to dull my senses. No monitors or wires or needles taped to my hand.

In the last moments that my daughter was a physical part of me, I got to feel everything my body and hers were doing together to bring her out of my belly and into my arms.

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I knew then that birthing my babies was the most profound work I would ever do and if I was fortunate enough to one day do this work again, I didn’t want to be numb for it.

No, I wanted to own my own story.

Essential Oils Create a Calm + Confident Labor Environment

With this pregnancy, I knew that I wanted to avoid an epidural or any other interventions. Still, I remembered clearly the intensity of birthing a baby; I knew, too, that complications could interfere with my careful plans.

What if this labor is unbearably long? What if I have awful back labor? What if my body gets exhausted? What if I have to transfer to the hospital instead of delivering at the birth center?

The only thing I could personally guarantee was my own mindset, so I prepared for the labor I wanted by creating ways to ground my anxious feelings and remind myself of my own strength.

My 3 Favorite Oils to Use During Labor

I planned to deliver at a birth center, but my blood pressure began to creep higher as my due date neared. After a few days of monitoring, I decided (along with my midwife) that a hospital induction was now our safest choice.

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As I gathered our bags that night, memories of my first two labors played back in my mind.

Specifically, I remembered how I felt afraid and angry with my body during my first induction. I remembered how sweet it was to hold my baby, but also the odd feeling that someone else had done the work of birthing him.

I remembered Ella Claire’s fast and furious arrival; how proud I was of what my body had accomplished but also how I felt some disappointment, like I had just been an observer from the sidelines for the whole event.

This time, I wanted to feel like I and my body were one. When it was all over, I wanted to be proud of what I had accomplished - not what my body had accomplished without me.

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So while we waited (all night and the next day) for the medication to do it’s job and get labor started, I rolled Stress Away essential oil blend on my chest and wrists.

Besides giving me a tangible something to do so that I didn’t feel completely at the mercy of Cervadil, the scent of vanilla + cedarwood essential oils worked to minimize the big feelings I had about being at the hospital and having an induction.

When active labor was starting, I rolled Valor on my spine and forehead and recalled the affirmations I had practiced during my pregnancy.

Certain smells trigger our brain in specific ways and I was relying on Valor to keep those positive words in my memory even as labor became intense.

Finally, sometime between three centimeters and seven, Trey filled our diffuser full of Lavender + Frankincense and with total peace and strength, I delivered our sweet boy after six short hours of labor.

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Even in a hospital, even with a medical induction, I achieved exactly the kind of birth I needed to experience.

How to Safely Introduce Essential Oils to a Newborn

Now that we’re home, of course I’m continuing to use essential oils on and around Isaac.

I’m introducing them to his body one at a time and I always dilute them in a carrier oil.

So far, Gentle Baby blend on his belly seems to be really comforting for him when he’s fussy. I keep Lavender + Frankincense in the diffuser by our bed, too; we all feel well-rested!

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I took this picture a few days ago to capture everything that is beautiful to me about this sweet new season: I’m less anxious and more rested than people say I’m supposed to be. I’m kinder to myself than I was before. I’m writing when I can and, for the first time, finding contentment when I can’t.

Mostly, I just finally feel like I’m telling the story I’ve always wanted to write.


3 Quick Ways to Use Your Essential Oils Every Day

Young Living essential oils starter kit for preferred customers.

So you bought a kit full of essential oils, pinned tons of ideas for them that you totally meant to do, and then adulting got in your way and you forgot all about it.

Now all those little bottles are shoved in a cabinet somewhere and you’re feeling bad that you wasted the money.

I’m not here to tell you that essential oils are magic in a bottle, so if you really used yours and felt like they didn’t work for you, I’m not going to try to convince you that you’re doing it wrong.

But if you legit got busy and couldn’t find a way to work essential oils into your routine, here’s a couple of suggestions to make the most of your kit.

First, get them out of the cabinet. As long as they’re out of sight, you’ll never remember that you planned on using them. There’s actually a little stand on the back of the tray that your oils came in that lets you display your whole collection. If you pop that tray out of the box, you’ll see what I mean.

Set them up someplace where you’ll see them every day and remember your good intentions.

Next, download the Reference Guide for Essential Oils app. If you need a quick reminder about how to use a certain oil or if you need to know which oil to use for a specific problem, this app is the easiest resource.

3 Ways to Use Your Essential Oils Every Day

Before You Apply Your Makeup

Grab your bottle of Frankincense out of your kit and put it wherever you keep your makeup. Add 1-2 drops in your hand to your face cream or primer each morning.

Frankincense essential oil is a natural astringent, so it can help tighten and tone your skin. It’s also helpful for uneven skin tones or redness, according to the Journal of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine.

In a Roller Bottle

There are endless combinations of oils that are great for roller bottles.

(Roller bottles are just little glass bottles with a roller in the top that lets you roll an oil onto your skin).

I roll Valor on my wrists around lunchtime every day to keep my mood balanced through the afternoon. Here’s a whole list of recipes for you to try. Grab a few bottles (my favorite shop is Wood + Oils #notanad) and make some rollers to keep in your purse, desk drawer, or nightstand.

At Bedtime

Maybe the easiest way to use your oils more often is in the diffuser. Try 4-5 drops of Lavender, Cedarwood, White Angelica, or Dreamcatcher in your diffuser at bedtime and see if your sleep improves.

If you’re battling stuffiness, the extra moisture coming from the diffuser may help you breathe easier, too. Try adding a few drops of RC or Raven for additional support.

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IS YOUR STASH RUNNING LOW?


7 Essential Oils for When Your Feelings Have Feelings

Essential oils to help with anxiety and emotions.

It's well known by aromatherapists and dirty hippies wellness buffs alike that essential oils can have a powerful impact on your brain.

I know, I know: here she goes again with her wierdo "remedies" that aren't backed by science and can't be proven to actually work.

Ahem.

Technically:

Smell is a combinatorial code of various olfactory receptor neurons being activated. So when you smell the brisk and energizing scent of peppermint essential oil, many different types of olfactory receptor neurons are firing to form a complex code that is sent through the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb. From the olfactory bulb information is routed to the piriform cortex, amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus and other limbic system structures through the olfactory tract. It’s due to the structural connections between the olfactory system and the brains limbic system that our perception of smell is intimately entangled with our experience of an emotion.
— Daniel Almeida, HBSc, PhD(c)

But whatever, man.

These 7 oils are some of the best for “activating receptor neurons” and stuff.

  1. Orange

    Full of limonene and alpha-pinene, Orange is one of the most nostalgic, uplifting oils you can use. You can add it into your skincare routine for double the soothing effect. (Just don’t smear it on your face before you head to the pool. Remember lemon juice highlights? Let’s not sun-bleach your face).

  2. Frankincense

    Yup, just like baby Jesus used. Regarded as one of the most sacred oils, Frankincense is a real treasure for those of us with all the feelings.

  3. Geranium

    If I had to choose one oil for the rest of my life, I would choose Geranium. It’s soft and floral and the only thing that can talk my brain down from a fight or flight moment.

  4. Stress Away

    Well, it kinda speaks for itself. This blend combines Vanilla, Copaiba, and Lime for an amazingly peaceful smell. Lots of us wear it as perfume because, ya know, adulting.

  5. Valor

    Personally, I was super late to the bandwagon on this one, but now I’m on it fuh lyfe. I roll valor on my kids’ wrists + chest at bedtime; they call it the “monster oil” because apparently, it keeps the monsters away.

  6. Joy

    This pretty pink bottle is even happy to look at. Put a couple drops on some dangly leather earrings and you can breathe in the calm all day long.

  7. Peace and Calming

    So many friends tell me how this oil was their mainstay during seasons of trauma or grief. If it works, it works y’all.

So, like, how do I actually use them?

All of these oils work on your emotions through your sense of smell; there’s a couple of ways you can breathe in the benefits:

  • Inhale straight from the bottle. Easy when you’re on the go.

  • Put a few drops on some diffuser jewelry. It’s basically therapeutic perfume.

  • Mix the oils with water in a diffuser to lightly scent an entire room. Breathing in the micro-droplets is the most effective way to activate all those receptors inside your nose + brain and bring your emotions under control.

And the sweetest news of all: you can skip the awkward home party and shop online. A starter kit is not required.

*Duh, that’s my personal link. The big guys require that I tell you I’ll receive a commission if you use it to shop. The price is the same and all opinions are my own (lololol of course they are. do you even know me?).

7 Cozy Essential Oils to Add To Your Collection This Fall

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1. Nutmeg Essential Oil

Since nutmeg is a primary ingredient in pumpkin spice, the smell should be instantly familiar and reminiscent of fall lattes. You can add it to your diffuser with some cinnamon bark or clove for a clean, cozy scent.

Nutmeg is not just some #basic oil, though. It’s also a staple ingredient in Ayuverdic medicine. You can add Nutmeg Vitality to a warm glass of milk before bedtime or take it in a capsule to support your body internally.


2. Thieves Essential Oil

This oil smells spicy and warm, everything we love about Fall. It’s also one of the main ingredients in Thieves Household Cleaner, Thieves Hand Purifier, and Thieves Foaming Hand Soap.

I’m donating gallons of it to elementary schools everywhere.


3. Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil

Probably my favorite oil ever to diffuse. It smells just like you think it should and will bring back fond memories of fighting with your siblings over gingerbread house construction. Pairs well with eggnog and Michael Bublé.  

 

4. Peppermint Essential Oil

Remember when your mom made you gargle mouthwash for a sore throat? Turns out, she might have been on the right track (I totally thought it was a bogus solution so I would stop begging to skip school).

Add Peppermint Vitality essential oil to a throat-soothing tea or rub diluted Peppermint essential oil on your spine to cool your body.

 

5. Pine Essential Oil

Duh, pine trees give you endorphins and endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t shoot their husbands. Or something like that.

 

6. Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile is for all of us who stay in our feelings. Worried about your budget? Chamomile. Annoyed by that dumb girl who posts all the political memes? Chamomile.  Anxious about the fate of humanity? Chamomile, my friend.

 

7. Orange Essential Oil

Fun fact: oranges ripen in the winter here in Florida. Is it any surprise that in our most stressed + depressed season, nature gives us the brightest, happiest gift?

Essential oils have the unique ability to stimulate the limbic system of our brains – the part that regulates our moods. If this season has you feeling down, a slow + deep inhale of orange essential oil can be magical.

 

8. Cedarwood Essential Oil

I keep this one on hand to make DIY chest rubs and for nighttime foot massages. I diffuse it in my kids’ rooms at bedtime, too. (You know, because I have snacks to eat and shows to watch).

 

9. Lavender Essential Oil

Throw away all your fancy skin creams and invest in a singular bottle of Lavender. Your countertop will look minimalist chic and your face will look like you should be back singing Britney Spears and wearing butterfly clips.


10. Valor Essential Oil

Centuries ago, Native American tribes traveled hundreds of miles to collect enough black spruce needles to make their medicinal extracts. It’s been noted that Lakota tribes especially valued this oil for its ability to soothe the mind and spirit.

Valor essential oil is made with black spruce and reputed to fortify weary spirits, just like the Lakota believed.

If the holidays feel more like tribe warfare for you, try wearing Valor in a diffuser necklace.