Can You Use Massage Oils During Pregnancy?

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Pregnancy comes with its fair share of not-so-glamorous symptoms. Morning sickness that lasts all day, super swollen feet, and all of those aches and pains. Though sitting on the couch with your feet up (while snacking on something sweet) can help ease those achy joints and muscles, sometimes a good prenatal massage is in order. Whether it's a professional or your partner giving your back and shoulders a rub, you may wonder, "can I use massage oils when pregnant?"

Many massage oils and other aromatherapy treatments and products contain essential oils. Essential oils are oils extracted from plants using a natural process, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM). They are highly concentrated, as the NLM mentioned, with 220 pounds of lavender being needed to make one pound of lavender essential oil. While essential oils smell incredible and are touted as having many health and wellness benefits, the amount in which they are concentrated is not always safe for skin contact.

According to Fit Pregnancy, essential oil use in any form may not be safe in the first trimester of pregnancy due to their concentration. In the early stages of development, fetuses in utero could be adversely affected by essential oil use. Further, essential oil use could cause uterine contractions.

In your second and third trimesters, however, certain oils could be safe to use, Fit Pregnancy noted. These include lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile, all of which are mild and could help with relaxation and sleep (both of which seem lacking in those last trimesters). Other oils that may be safe and beneficial during pregnancy include mandarin, grapeseed, almond, and avocado, according to Hello! magazine.

Most oils are to be diluted with a carrier oil (coconut and olive), and many can cause dermal reactions, as mentioned by the National Association for Holisitic Aromatherapy. If you're not familiar with massage or essential oil use, it's best to consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner to determine whether or not it's safe to use them during your pregnancy.

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