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Friday, May 13, 2011

Essential Oils during the childbearing years-Peppermint Oil

Peppermint works on the smooth muscles of the digestive tract to help relieve stomach pain and nausea/vomiting.  This may also help relieve these symptoms during labor without some of the side effects that other drugs may produce.  3-6 drops taken internally is what was used in research trials.  This is a lot to take unless you put them in caplets.  I would suggest inhalation of this amount, or putting six drops on the foot or behind the ear.  I have found that just using one drop in a glass of water or on the tongue(careful it feels like it burns sometimes).  Even inhalation of the oil helps relieve symptoms.  You may have to experiment with yourself to see what works the best.  Take every 20-40 m as needed until symptoms subside.
This may not be convenient for some bouts of nausea, so take this into consideration.  This is usually sufficient for nausea felt during labor.  If you are feeling really sick during labor, inhalation by diffusion may be the best idea.  Just set the diffuser to go off every 20-30 min or so(depending on when your symptoms return).

Smooth muscles also line the respiratory tract and may help relieve feeling of breathlessness along with lavender.  I would use this also if the babies heart rate is dropping.  This will help with anxiety for the mom, so she is not releasing stress hormones that shunt blood away from the mom as well as open up her respiratory tract to increase oxygen intake.

This may also be appropriate before an epidural as the epidural tends to drop blood pressure.  If you make sure that the blood supply to the uterus is good and that optimal oxygen is coming in, then that may help to offset that problem.

Peppermint also has a cooling sensation that may help if the woman is feeling hot.  It lasts longer than a wet clothe.  But might work best when applied by mixing water and 5-10 drops of oil and placing cloth over the forehead.

Peppermint oil along with eucalyptic oil showed an increase in cognative ability, had a muscle relaxing ability and helped people to relax mentally.  All of these may be especially useful during labor when a woman is needing more stamina or is feeling worn down.  I think of this being particularly useful during pushing, especially if it is prolonged.

It may be useful for pains like back labor.  A small amount could be rubbed on the back while using counter pressure.

Another use may be tension headaches.  Some studies have shown that topical application may also help just as much as Tylenol.  It may be useful to mix lavender with this also.  Just a note-this may not work as well with other types of headaches, but I have found that it does help to relieve the pain some.

Side effects: heartburn, cooling sensation, allergic reactions, dermatitis.  You need to be careful taking this during pregnancy because the uterus is also a smooth muscle and that may stimulate that muscle also.  It has been used to start menstration, so this is something I would be careful with unless you are term.  The amount used in teas and over the counter medications is safe.

Just something interesting...over 100 components of peppermint oil have been identified... menthol has been the main one studied.  This is found in Vicks, chapstick, toothpaste.,W0709f

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.