Essential Oils for Natural Labor and Childbirth

2014-03-30 00.21.23With 5 weeks to go until the due date of my 6th child, I’m all in “nesting mode”! Since I’m planning a home birth (my first 3 were in the hospital, my last two at home) with a licensed and highly trained midwife and team, part of my “nesting” includes pulling together supplies for the birth itself.

This will be the first birth in which I use essential oils therapeutically. In the past, I was just not aware of how powerful oils could be, so they did not figure into my birth plan. There is a wide range of purity and potency of oils; I will write about this sometime, but for now, know that I only recommend Young Living Essential Oils.

So after much information gathering, here is my current plan (subject to revision…I still have 5 weeks!). 🙂

Pregnancy: it’s important to recognize the power of oils; some oils used during labor are contraindicated during pregnancy, because their use is for supporting labor contractions, cervical dilation, and reducing pain sensation (through numbing or reducing fear/stress). Therefore, I will place an asterisk * after oils which I am avoiding touching/absorbing during pregnancy.

I am currently drinking daily a pregnancy tea with a base of Red Raspberry herb. This was blended for me by my sweet friend, Cara Lee, following the recipe on The Bulk Herb Store plus yellow dock. This is intended to tone the uterus in preparation for birth, without initiating labor.

I am also massaging my belly with almond oil, and 2 drops Gentle Baby. I add a little Idaho Balsam Fir because I love the layered scent! Its makes me feel calm…and French and expensive. 😉

Perineum Stretching
Because I have done perineum stretching using olive oil prior to birth, I have not had tearing of my perineum with any of my previous births (my largest baby was 9.6 lb). I am planning to do the same in the two weeks prior to my due date, but this time to include each time:

1 drop Gentle Baby

Once Labor Has Begun

Labor Oil Blend
I will use this topically on low belly, inside of ankles, and low back, starting with a few drops, increasing each hour if necessary.

8 drops helichrysum
6 drops copaiba
16 drops SclarEssence* (Clary Sage*, Peppermint, Spanish Sage*, Fennel*)10 drops ylang ylang
in an equal part base of almond oil

“Morphine Bomb”
This blend does not have any morphine in it, but taken in a capsule it has been known to give significant pain relief. I plan to use this early in my labor, before nausea may set in.

5 drops Copaiba
5 drops Frankincense
5 drops Idaho Balsam Firin a veggie capsule, ingested

Back Pain
Pan Away, pain relieving oil blend
(And of course, counter pressure from my husband. He’ll need PanAway on his arm muscles later…) 🙂

Nausea
Inhalation of:
Lemon or Peppermint

Energy Boost
I have a history of long labors, so I often eat some through the first part (can be days), but when it gets intense I don’t feel like eating. This can be hours, so I have 1 bottle (25 oz) of Ningxia Red juice from Young Living…it’s a natural energy drink (among its other uses) made with wolfberries and EOs, and the normal serving size is 1-2 oz. So that should get me through!

Baby
After our baby is born, I plan to use on his umbilicus (belly button)/cord:
1 drop Myrrh
On his back, feet, perhaps head:
1-3 drops Frankincense

Following Birth
For cramping:
tincture of Cramp Bark
tincture of St. Johns Wart
Morphine Bomb as needed
PanAway on lower belly as needed

Nursing
I plan to use this as needed to increase milk supply:1 drop Fennel under tongue

Note: I am not a doctor, and my birthplan does not constitute advice for your situation. I am not credentialed to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please consult with your physician or trained midwife before developing your own birthplan.

 

Essential Oils

11805937_685171584943670_1676725652_n

Essential oils (the essence distilled or pressed from the root, stem, leaves, bark, or petals of a plant) are a powerful natural substance which can be used therapeutically. In the plant, the essential oil helps repel insect predators, discourage damage from bacteria and fungi, and is rushed to the site of any wound for healing of the plant.

I have used several brands of essential oils in the past, but had never seen the results I’ve experienced with Young Living Essential Oils. Because of this, and after researching the purity and potency of several brands, I am only using and recommending Young Living oils. If you are interested in purchasing oils from this company, please use my Sponsor/Enroller number of 1526703 to order on youngliving.com. You can read more about the starter kit here before you order. In this way you help support my family. Thank you!

Posts on Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils
Surviving Influenza A in Pregnancy
Essential Oils for Natural Labor and Childbirth
Labor and Birth
Trauma and Drama: Baby’s First Week

Note: My comments are not medical advice. The thoughts on this blog are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness, and should never be taken to replace medical advice from a trained professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any health therapy.

Organic Diet Step 1: Oils and Fats

When making a clean green start in your diet, the most important place to start (in regards to your health) is with the oils/fats you consume.

Clean Starts

  • Change from margerine and conventional butter to organic butter or imported grassfed butter (Kerrygold) (conventional butter was listed recently on a list of top ten most toxic foods, yet organic butter has been consumed liberally by some of the healthiest people groups on the planet)
  • Change from hydrogenated oils (crisco, deep frying, or in prepared baked goods) to organic coconut oil, organic palm oil, organic butter, or organic lard/tallow
  • Change from vegetable oils (soybean oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil) to olive, coconut, peanut, and sesame oils for low heat sauteeing, or use walnut, olive, avocado, or flaxseed oils for salad dressings (all organic cold pressed)
  • Supplement Cod Liver Oil and Flax Seed Oil for essential fatty acids, and inflammation reducing Omega 3 oils (buy from a company which tests CLO for purity, and keep oils in the refrigerator and use quickly as they become rancid easily)
  • When thinking of oils and fats, remember that most prepared and processed foods have some type of fat in them. Read labels so that you can avoid toxic fats such as hydrogenated oils and vegetables oils heated to high temperatures. Even at cool temperatures, long shelf lives of some prepared foods mean that good fats have gone rancid before you open the box.

Buying Tips

When buying oils, look for glass containers, as plastic leaches into oils/fats at a much higher rate than even into water based foods. Colored glass is best, as light will cause oils to become rancid as well as heat.

Trader Joes has an excellent price on quality/organic butter, and a good price on organic olive oil. I have found the best price on organic olive oil at the Grocery Outlet, although it can be hit and miss.

Tropical Traditions is an excellent source for organic coconut and palm oils, with the best price being a large order to split with friends. In the the Portland are, the Alberta Co-Op is a good place for this quality and price on coconut oil.

The Why

Bad oils are toxic for the body, as they:

  • contain concentrated amounts of pesticides and other toxic and hormone disrupting chemicals
  • contain improper balances/deficiencies of omega fats (good, inflammation reducing fats)
  • have already been damaged molecularly by high heat (or will be if you cook them)
  • soy, corn, and canola oils lead the pack in tons of pesticides and bleaching agents used in production

In contrast, Good Oils are health promoting, as they:

  • Allow us to absorb the important fat soluable vitamins from our food and the sun (vitamins A, D, E, K)
  • Allow us to absorb the minerals in our foods (mineral deficiency is common, with obesity/cravings an indicator of body need)
  • Give a wonderful sense of satiety and slow carbohydrate/sugar absorption which helps to avoid blood sugar spikes and leaves you fuller on less

In recent years, the vegetable oil lobbys have “framed” butter and other natural saturated fats as unhealthy. Don’t believe the propaganda…it is for their profits, not your health. You can get the real story at the Weston A Price foundation.

Essential Oil Blend for Head Lice

A friend called this week to say their family just had head lice, and they kicked it with a blend of essential oils in olive oil. (This friend lives a long way away from the Portland area, in case any of you local readers are starting to feel your skin crawl already.)

A lice infestation is gross, and makes a mother feel like a louse of a clean person (pun intended). But having lice just means one of your children hugged, wrestled, or traded a hat, coat, or scarf with another child who had lice. Children with good mothers get it, and pass it on to other children with good mothers.

So if your kids get it, don’t feel guilty. But also, don’t reach for Uber-Toxic over-the-counter lice shampoos until you try this blend. (And there are reports are that lice are now showing resistance to the OTC and prescription insecticides.)

2 cups olive oil
1 tsp. each: essential oils of tea tree, eucalyptus, oregano, peppermint, cinnamon
Note: the cinnamon seemed quite “hot” to the skin, and was too strong for the little boy in the family whose skin is sensitive. The mom thought it could probably be left out and the blend be just as effective.

Mix well, apply to head and scalp, massage into all the hair. Leave on for 1 hour, then shampoo out with normal shampoo.

The olive oil seems to dissolve the nits from the hair shafts, while the essential oils do a number on the parasites themselves.

I hope this is one recipe you (and I!) never have to use!

Update from the Mom whose family had lice:

I didn’t get to finish telling you this the other day, but the essential oils washed out a lot of the nits, but not ALL of them. To get them out, skip the plastic nit combs from the drug store or that come with the toxic lice shampoo, and go right for the Nit Terminator.

http://www.amazon.com/Terminator-Professional-Stainless-Treatment-Removes/dp/B000HIBPV8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1293934455&sr=8-1

It is sold for about $8 on Amazon, but I found it locally at my Ulta store for double that, $15.95. I didn’t care that it was twice as much money, once I found out we had lice I wanted to start the war THAT DAY and not wait for a package from amazon!

I have gone over everyone’s hair with this comb and the first day it produced quite a few bugs and nits. Ewwww. But on successive days I would only find one or two nits, some days none at all. None the less, I have continued to give everyone a combing each day and will do so until the end of the incubation period, so that if I did miss a nit I know I can brush out the bug.

My plan was to reapply the essential oil mix if I found any live bugs, but I haven’t. My husband has called me the TSA because of my unresonable inspections, but I don’t care. I’m not messing around with this!

Also, I was worried that maybe our long haired inside dog could have caught lice from the children, since she often snuggles with them and sleeps on the furniture. However, a quick search online revealed that lice only live on human blood, and can’t live on dogs or cats. I’m glad I don’t have to start doing lice inspections on her!

A Dozen YL Products I Love

IMG_0956

I am absolutely in love with these beauties. The most surprising part? They aren’t even essential oils, the flagship, changed-the-world, hello-wellness commodity Young Living is known for.

But of course I’m going to tell you all about them!

  1. Denterome Plus

This is the very first product I was introduced to in YL. I’ve used it ever since as deodorant. Yes, underarm deodorant. Remember when I posted about it here in comparison with other “natural” deodorants?? That was several years ago and there are a lot more options in natural deodorants now, but I’ve still never found anything as effective or inexpensive.

Also, there’s still a lot of greenwashing in natural products, for example, “fragrance” as an ingredient in deodorant. Ewww…no hormone disruptors mashed into my pits/lymph nodes/breasts, thankyouverymuch!

I use a pea sized amount, spread on the tips of my fingers, and wiped in my pits. Every morning! Little goes a long way, which is why the tube lasts at least 6 months, if not longer.

Oh yeah, you can use it for toothpaste too, and it works great. But I mainly love it for deodorant because I have no odor when using it. None. I can even wear a t-shirt a second time, unless I was pouring sweat from a workout.

2. Ningxia Nitro

You’ll hear me talk about Ningxia Red in a minute, because it’s amazing in its own right. But it’s little cousin, Ningxia Nitro, is my absolute BFF. It’s like a power adapter for plugging in your brain. It’s what got me through a year of nutrition school, when I had to study nights after the kids were in bed. It is like waking up on a clear morning as a 20 year old and knowing exactly what you need to do that day. Even if you’re 40, it’s late at night, and you feel completely confused and drained and you’d just like to go to bed except you’re pretty sure you have 2 papers due by morning.

Yes, that’s how much I love it. It makes me feel good. When my brain feels good, I feel good.

What is it? It’s little tubes of cherry chocolate juice, with MethylB12, D-Ribose, Green Tea, Korean Ginseng, Yerba Mate and a bunch of other great brain foods.

I love to squeeze the tube into a glass of crushed ice and Ningxia Red, and drink with a straw, but the tubes are small and slip into a pocket or purse, so I often drink them right out of the tube if I’m out and about.

3. Ningxia Red

So I guess I should talk about this next since I already mentioned it! This has changed the way my husband views “vitamins” and helps me remember that FOOD IS FIRST when it comes to complete nutrition. Because when we drink this daily, we notice more energy, less cravings, and in general more stabile blood sugar and moods.

And it tastes yummy, so I don’t have to remind anyone to take it!!

Ningxia Red is a whole fruit juice concentrate made from a bunch of high-antioxidant fruits like blueberry, plum, cherry, aronia, and pomegranate, BUT…the real star of the show is the wolfberry. It contains wolfberries grown in the Ningxia region of China. That’s important, because that area has rich farmland from centuries of silt from the Yellow River. The plants that grow there are higher in phytonutrients than elsewhere in the world, and their population has a very high number of people living well over 100 years old. They prize the wolfberry and it is local custom to eat it daily!

So we drink our Ningxia Red daily too, and plan out all the adventures we will be taking until we are over one hundred years old!

4. Thieves Laundry Detergent

I am in love with this laundry detergent.

I know that sounds crazy.

How does laundry detergent inspire love??

Well, it works and all that…but I’m really in love with what is NOT in these suds. No fragrances. No fragrance fixatives. No masking fragrance. No fragrance masquerading as essential oils. (And of course no harsh bleaches or toxic stuff.)

When I switched to this laundry soap, it was the last product I swapped out that was exposing me to fragrance. I had been using a “natural” brand that claimed flower essences on the bottle, but those “natural” fragrances stayed in the clothes all the way through the dryer cycle. Which means they weren’t natural. So when I swapped it out…the next month, lo and behold I didn’t hemorrhage during my cycle. Or the cycle after that, or after that.

I’d been working on my hormones and my clean and green home for awhile…so could it really be that laundry detergent was SOO important for my hormone balance? So I began recommending this soap to my tribe of gals in my private mentoring group. I told them my experience and asked them to please write me if they should see any changes like mine. And then the messages began to come in. This person’s teen daughter, this middle aged woman, this mommy of littles, this woman going through menopause, literally hundreds of different stories…all finding that the “symptoms of womanhood” were all melting away since NOT BEING POISONED.

OK, I better stop because it get’s me hot under the collar when I realize what’s still being pedaled out there as natural.

Let me just say: if you are a woman, your body wasn’t designed to process synthetic fragrances that are absorbed through you skin, your largest organ. Synthetic fragrances are estrogen mimickers, and many estrogen mimickers have been found attached to breast cells, uterine cells, and fat cells. Please just opt out, and stop exposing yourself!

So you probably want to know how it works? Works great! Contains enzymes to break down stains, and I apply directly for that need. I use this soap PLUS 1 tsp Sodium Percarbonate (Amazon) as an oxygen bleach in every single load I run, and the combo is awesome. It is concentrated, so one bottle lasts my ginormous family months and months.

This might comes as a huge disappointment, so I’m just gonna burst your bubble right now: the Thieves fragrance washes completely out of the clothes. Your wet laundry will just smell wet, not fragranced, when you move it to the dryer. (This is a good thing: it means there is NO fragrance fixative!) To make your clothes smell delicious, choose your favorite YL essential oil or blend to toss on dryer balls. There, now they smell awesome!

5. Thieves Household Cleaner

This cleaner is amazing because it cleans everything well! It’s a concentrate, so I mix with water in my spray bottles, mix with baking soda and a bit of water for a soft scrub, and pour a capful into a bucket of mop water. It cleans windows and mirrors, toilets, sinks, walls, carpets, stainless steel, granite countertops, ovens and stoves, you name it. I keep spray bottles of this in the kitchen and both cars as well as the bathrooms for easy access. It’s not toxic, so I enlist even my littlest children in cleaning with me!

If you’ve been following this blog for years, you might know I used to clean with white vinegar and water. Yes, those work…OK. And they are non-toxic and cheap. But I’ve fallen in love with Thieves cleaner because it SMELLS SO GOOD, and is non-toxic, and works better, way better than vinegar. But, it’s really the yummy spicey clean smell that makes me so happy when I’m cleaning! I can assure you, vinegar does NOT make me feel that way!

I love having only one thing that cleans everything! No more overfilled cleaning cabinet!

6. Thieves Spray

This is a tiny little spray bottle with an alcohol based Thieves spray in it. I use it to spray on shopping carts, counters, clothing, or anything else that I want to disinfect quickly. This is not on the label, but I’ve even sprayed it in my throat to wipe out scratchiness.

The alcohol in this spray has been “denatured” with Cinnamon Bark oil instead of a toxic petrochemical. Denaturing is required by law to transport alcoholic products across state lines without it being designated as alcohol for consumption. In this case, YL denatured it with Cinnamon Bark oil, which only adds to the effectiveness of the product while avoiding a toxic additive. How innovative!

I love it because it smells SO good, and is so handy. It’s always in my purse!

7. Thieves Hand Sanitizer

I used to hate hand sanitizers, because they made my hands feel sticky and gross. Also, I knew they were filled with toxic yuk. Honestly, I avoided this YL product for a long time and just used the Thieves Spray (above). At some point I got a free Hand Sanitizer from YL, so I tried it…and wow! It’s not like other hand sanitizers! It is super thin, so just a drop of sanitizer works for my hands, and it doesn’t leave them sticky!

The alcohol in this product is over 60%, and it’s been denatured with Peppermint oil. So you already know it smells AMAZING, with both Thieves and Peppermint in there! I love how many comments I get when I use it…and of course I share with others who are loving the scent too!

8. Thieves Lozenges

I don’t know how they do it, but YL has made they yummiest lozenges without sugar. They contain Thieves and Peppermint oils, and are awesome breath mints while putting the power of Thieves RIGHT IN MY MOUTH! They are a oval hard “candy” individually wrapped, so they are perfect to keep in my purse and share with a friend.

I love how big they are, and how well they soothe throats and freshen breath.

9. Thieves Mouthwash

Speaking of fresh breath…this mouthwash is my favorite, because it’s so gentle on my teeth and gums, but SO powerful. Again, we are talking the power of Thieves right in my mouth…wow, that’s fresh. It also has colloidal silver in it to kill mouth bacterial. However, it does not contain alcohol like most commercial mouth washes, as using alcohol daily can be really hard on gums and tooth enamel. I know my teeth used to ache after using conventional mouthwash years ago.

I would say to consider this a concentrate. I can only use a small amount at a time, and you may want to dilute in water. If you are using with a child, PLEASE dilute it first, because if you don’t, they might spit it all over you! Haha! It’s POTENT!

I love it because these natural anti-bacs are so great for encouraging a healthy mouth biome!

10. Super C Chewable

I love this supplements because it’s made from whole food! This is NOT isolated ascorbic acid, which is NOT the whole vitamin C that is found in food. Whole C contains the cofactors of ascorbate too, including all bioflavanoids which work together as antioxidants in our bodies.

I’ve taken a lot of different Cs over the years. I now know that my high doses in the past (as recommended by a doctor) were likely doing me more harm than good, breaking down my ceruloplasmin which I desperately needed to build up so I could absorb and transport iron. A few years ago I began to study the biochemical science behind nutrition, and learned about the differences between isolated ascorbic acid and whole C. Since AVOIDING the isolate (and doing a number of other whole food nutrition measures) I’m finally now pulling out of 15 years of anemia. If you want to know more about overcoming anemia, message me!

This Super C is not a miracle supplement, and it’s not even the most important thing I’ve taken in regards to anemia, so don’t get me wrong on that. It’s just a solidly whole food vitamin C, in chewable form, that my kids and husband will chew and take. I like that!!

11. Lavender Lip Balm

This is so smooth and dreamy. It’s awesome on my lips, and I can’t believe it’s cheaper than the grocery store variety, you know the one with bees on it, that always feels rancid? This one is fresh, and oh so sweet to my lips!

12. Progessence Plus Beauty Serum

I kinda saved the best for last. This product is amazing, and I’ll try not to give you the two -hour-hormone-balancing-seminar to tell you why! Haha!

(I’m actually working on some really great projects to help you with hormones, but I’ll hold the details for now.)

This serum…is completely natural and an over the counter product which basically turns me into happy-mommy-angel-wife. Yeah…it’s what I sling on when I’m feeling end of the month-y, dragon-y, or actually anything that’s not Lady Devine. It’s USP grade progesterone, which helps my body rein in the estrogen. It’s a libido boost, a stress reliever, smells AMAZING, and I love it. Makes me feel like a woman!

I use it every day, all month long. I’m pretty consistent, with 3 drops a day, but other women use more or less, we are all different. I don’t have to rotate where it goes, it doesn’t have to be rubbed into fatty areas. I just use it on my neck because it’s an awesome perfume, but if you use it on your inner thighs, I hope you’re married, and congratulations on the new baby. (I need an emoji right there and I don’t know how to get one! Ha!)

I love love love this one! Incredible product!

13. All the Oils

OK I was only going to do a dozen, but honorable mention goes to all those oils I DIDN’T talk about. I have lots of loves in that category, but we will save it for another day! <3

Get Your Kids To Drink More Water

Trying to get your kids to drink more water? Me too. I can tell they haven’t been drinking enough when they are spending more “personal time” in the bathroom trying to do their business. Also without enough water, they seem to be crankier, tireder, and their skin is more dull. (Or maybe that was me…)

Anyway, here’s what I do to coax a little more liquid consumption:

Make herbal tea with raw honey.
Tea party? Sign them up! Even the boys like a treat in a cup. We do caffeine-free varieties like Chamomile or Peppermint. Here is one of my favorite blends:

 

Take water on the go in a toxin-free container.
Like the 50/50 stainless steal cups. We love these, and they keep the beverage cold (or hot) ALL DAY LONG.

Use ingestable essential oils to flavor water.
My favorites: spearmint, lemon, grapefruit, Citrus Fresh. Order individually or with membership here. I recommend membership for the savings and perks, and I offer a private wellness mentoring group for those who order with me.

Make a slushy drink.
The crushed ice is water, afterall! Our favorite recipe:
2 cups crushed ice, from our freezer crushed-ice feature
2 cups filtered water
Juice of 5 fresh limes
1/4-1/2 cup honey
3-4 drops Lime Vitality essential oil
handful spearmint leaves (optional)
Blend well in blender, serve immediately.

At home, designate toxin-free water cups for each child.
Label with a marker and keep near the water supply. Some of our favorite cups: handled jars and stainless steel.

Why Fermented Foods for Wellness

100_3964
Finished raw milk kefir, ready for the fridge.

You may or may not have heard all the fuss about fermented foods. And you may or may not have starting fermenting at your house. But either way, it’s something which you may want to follow.

Why? Because unlike many of the health fads, fermenting is…well, not a fad. It’s been around from the beginning of time, not just to break down waste into compost, but to break down FOOD into more absorbable, nutritious, and tasty eats. In every culture, you have mums intentionally fermenting foods and feeding it to young and old alike. Some may not call it fermenting, or may not know a thing about lactic acid or good bacteria, but they are doing it none-the-less: kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, salami, pickles, kombucha, yogurt, cheese, wine, tamari, miso, tempeh, natto, sourdough.

So you probably HAVE heard of probiotics. Good bacteria, normally found in the gut of every living mammal, which keep the immune system healthy but not over-reacting, stabilize mood, keep us regular, create vitamins like folate and B12, speak to the brain in many chemical ways to keep us thinking clearly, and detoxify a lot of nasty stuff, including some of the pesticides and chemicals and heavy metals we eat (oops). This is not an exhaustive list. There’s a TON of research done on these good little microbes. Like, upwards of 29,000 studies come up on PubMed just by searching “lactobacillus.”

We know that:

You can buy probiotics in many different combinations of strains, quantities, and delivery methods. Which I have done regularly for over a decade, and I’m grateful for the availability of these specific strains (because sometimes, it’s good to troubleshoot with specifics). But, I’ve found the most help over the years by the foods that are packed with good bacteria, so I’m cranking up my ferments. Raw milk kefir is an every-week staple here, but this week I’m excited to try a watermelon juice, a Daikon radish ferment, and a Jun variety of kombucha.

I’m following a fermenting expert I’m lucky enough to know as a friend: Jane Casey of Jane Casey’s Kitchen. She’s amazing, fun, and has an amazing true story of twin sons who were profoundly autistic, but now aren’t. At all. Because of ferments.

I’m learning a ton (like: using ingestable essential oils to promote fermentation…wha??). Best tip of the week: use folded fresh grape leaves to keep the veggies all submerged (this is like the main rule of fermenting veggies: keep them under the brine so they don’t mold). I will keep you posted, because we have a special project coming for these classes, live and local.

Do you ferment? What’s on your counter now?

And for those who want to geek out with me, here are a few interesting studies on the benefits of probiotics which I stumbled across on PubMed. Not that the other 29,000 aren’t interesting too…

This study links good gut bacteria (L. Reuteri in this case), with immune regulation and folate metabolism. So all you MTHFR people (I’m one too) can go crazy about that. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27353144

This study notes the protective effect of friendly bacteria against bladder infections in pre-and-post-menopausal women (different strains are more effective for pre- or post- menopausal). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27092529

Probiotics in critically ill children: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27081478

This study showed that stressed mice had changes to their gut microflora, specifically reduced L. Reuteri. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25028050

 

Trauma and Drama; Baby’s first week

Even after a great birth, there’s body-trauma to deal with. And even with a healthy, peaceful baby, there’s a little first-week drama to face. Here are a few things I found to help with both.

Bruising on upper chest (stripe from armpit to armpit where I leaned into the side of the tub): lavender essential oil applied directly to the skin. I did not dilute, and was not concerned about the proximity to breasts/nursing since this is indicated for mastitis as well.

Bruising on sacrum: PanAway* essential oil blend, applied neat. I felt that this not only helped with bruising of the bones, but that the absorbed oil helped to mend the pelvic floor muscles faster than in previous births.

Sore Upper Arms: PanAway* applied neat on location.

After Birth Pain: Cramp Bark tincture (alcohol) every few hours in first day, decreasing until 3rd day. I also used more of my Labor/Birth essential oil blend as a foot rub and low belly rub. I did not need to take Advil or any other synthetic pain killer.

Neck Misalignment/muscle discomfort from turning my head tubside during labor: Valor essential oil blend, on location.

General Exhaustion (birth is a marathon, afterall!): Frankincense oil on wrists, and inhaled. NingxiaRed wolfberry juice with essential oils (Young Living) and Chinese herbal tea (blended by my doctor) really helped me feel revived.

Water retention; drinking lots of water with lemon essential oil to help flush out excess fluid.

Tissue Soothing/Regeneration; Gentle Baby essential oil blend in peri bottle with water: 1 drop per peri bottle at each potty use.

Emotional Stability Post Partum: I used Ylang Ylang on wrists and inhaled. At ten days I began ProgessencePlus* serum which contains wild yam extract; 3 drops on forearms 2xday. I also began 1 drop Sclaressence* essential oil blend under tongue 2xday. I continued to take nutritional oils of flax, evening primrose, and fish for their omega 3 fatty acids.

Mastitis/clogged duct/engorgement: lavender and copaiba essential oils rubbed on site. Lavender is very effective alone, but copaiba magnifies it’s potency and is highly anti-inflammatory in its own right.

Baby

Belly Button: a drop of myrrh on the navel helped the belly button to heal and dry faster than my other babies. Works as an antiseptic.

Circumcision: a drop of myrrh in a dab of carrier oil at the base of the penis as an antiseptic. For pain, the “morphine bomb” worked wonders: I mixed 1 drop each Copaiba, Idaho Balsam Fir, and Frankincense in the palm of my hand and applied to baby’s feet and spine, and he was sleeping peacefully within 5 minutes (previous frantic pain).

Colic: in week 2 baby had a night of colic after too many feedings. Upon applying 1 drop of DiGize to his bloated belly in a clockwise pattern, he became calm and we all went back to sleep.

*Note: PanAway, ProgessencePlus, and Sclaressence essential oil blends contain a small amount of peppermint oil, which in large amounts some women find to reduce their milk supply. I have not found this to be the case with these blends, perhaps because it is such a small amount, or perhaps because the other oils in the blends support milk supply.

I only use Young Living essential oils for topical and internal use in my family. Please do your research about essential oils; I feel confident that Young Living EOs are the safest and most pure oils on the market, and have personally seen a difference in their potency as well. Please see my Essential Oils page for more information on purchasing a starter kit of Young Living essential oils.

Labor and Birth

The day I gave birth to my sixth baby began early; I woke around 3am with my water breaking in a slow leak. By morning, I was having a few mild contractions and feeling more water leakage. I applied 2 drops of Nutmeg oil to my palms and rubbed it over my adrenals. Nutmeg is supportive to the adrenals (kidney area); support I needed after the interruptions in sleep the night before. This oil is cautioned for use in pregnancy as it may exhibit estrogenic effects, and I had avoided touching it while pregnant. However, now that labor had begun, the estrogenic support was a boon for encouraging contractions.

11823926_685171588277003_2018528730_n

As I made breakfast for my family, I poured myself about an ounce of Ningxia Red wolfberry juice. This delicious antioxidant rich juice is enhanced with essential oils and is an amazing energy booster. I had been reserving an unopened bottle of the juice for “Labor Day” so cracking the seal marked my acceptance of labor and the birth date for my child.

Contractions continued to come all morning; the mild contractions of early labor which are only slightly painful and best ignored. I busied myself with tidying my home but began to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and urgent, so I went to my room for a few quiet moments and applied Stress Away liberally to the back of my neck and wrists. A few deep breaths and I was ready to get back into “nesting mode” with my husband and children who were also rallying to tidy our “nest.”

Since I was planning a home birth, my first area of concern for cleaning was my bathroom and bedroom where I would give birth and recover. Bathroom cleaning spray can be made with many different essential oils. Thieves is one of my favorites. Right now my spray bottle holds:
40% white vinegar
60% water
5 drops each Melelueca Alternifolia and Peppermint essential oils

By noon I called my midwife to tell her my water had broken but I was still able to walk and talk through contractions. I used these mild contractions as practice for heavier labor by swaying, or bending and holding my knees to focus on relaxing my pelvic floor. I ate a sensible lunch and continued to sip on the Ningxia Red for energy and stable blood sugar as labor increased.

My husband scrubbed the jets of our large bathtub, and then filled it with water. He put about 10 drops of Purification into the water and ran the jets; this anti-fungal oil which includes citrus and lemongrass oils removed the algae scum that grows in jets, without any harsh chemicals. The fragrance filled the bathroom, giving me a sense of clean and calm. When the tub was clean, I ran my diffuser in my bedroom with the oil blend Gentle Baby which helps mothers feel grounded and peaceful. I had been using this floral oil on my belly for several months.

I showered and my contractions increased in severity and timing in the hot water, which is always a sign to me that labor is active. As I dressed, I put several drops of Ylang Ylang, a hormone supporting and balancing oil, on a sanitary pad for topical application. I also used a few drops of this beautiful fragrance on my wrists and neck at the base of my ears. The contractions were now painful in my low back/sacrum area, so I rubbed several drops of PanAway into my sacrum; I was amazed at how this eased my pain. Although I was also feeling quite a bit of pain low in the front with contractions, I did not use PanAway in that location as the icy hotness of the wintergreen and peppermint have been known to turn a baby (away from the heat) and since my baby was already in perfect, head-down position, I did not want to risk a breach.

It was now about 5pm and I took a “Morphine Bomb”: 5 drops each of Idaho Balsam Fir, Frankincense, and Copaiba in a capsule, and rubbed the residual from the dispenser tops onto my wrists and inhaled deeply for a few minutes. There is no morphine in the “Morphine Bomb” -it is a pain and inflammation reliever. It did not take away my pain, but it did take the edge off.

I continued to bend over for contractions and focus on opening up, now moaning away the cramping pain. My parents arrived to help with my children, and my husband put in a call to the midwife to go ahead and come to our house.

The midwife and nurses arrived, and I applied my Birthing Labor Blend on my ankles and inhaled it from my palms, which gave me a sudden overwhelming desire to cry; this passed quickly. I had waited until the midwife arrived to use this blend as it is far more estrogenic than the oils used so far and I was unsure if it would speed my labor along too quickly. It can also be applied low on the abdomen; I did not apply it there but would if I were to do it again.

Here is the Birthing Labor Blend:
9 drops Helichrysum
10 drops Yang Ylang
10 drops Sclaressence
3 drops Fennel
3 drops Peppermint
equal amount apricot oil
The midwife did an internal check and said I was at 7cm; a huge relief that I had made it so easily and quickly through active labor and was now ready for transition. In the past, some of my labors have lasted for several days. We filled the bathtub with hot water and I got in, someone cut the lights and gave me a fluffy white towel to lean on facing forward at the side of the tub, my window was open a few inches and I could hear a songbird outside in the gentle spring rain shower as dusk fell. My husband and the nurses took turns applying counter-pressure to my low back and bringing me my glass of Ningxia Red to sip on, which significantly helped to increase my energy.

When I was nearly complete/ready to push, I took a drop each of the Morphine Bomb oils under my tongue (which tasted like eating a Christmas tree) and then chased them with another drink of Ningxia Red. At the time this seemed like the fastest way to absorb the oils systemically, however it did cause a little bit of heart burn, and taking the larger amount in the capsule probably would have been more potent. I also applied several drops of Valor to the back of my neck and inhaled it from my palms, praying that God would give me the mental strength to face crowning. I’m a bit of a coward about birth/crowning, so I needed all the Valor I could get. 🙂

Since the contractions were still manageable and I did not have an urge to push, I continued to labor in the upright position, with knees/pelvis splayed to allow the baby’s crown to descend lower into my pelvis. This wasn’t really a conscious decision, but rather that continuing to labor seemed more desirable in the moment than heavy pushing. Of all my children, only my first baby and this last baby were born with noticeable head molding, and with both of these labors I was able to continue laboring as the baby’s head descended, rather than push them out because labor wasn’t tolerable. The first baby was born with an epidural (the only one I had an epidural for) and the last with oils. Please understand that the oils in no way took away the pain or gave numbness like an epidural, but I was able to labor without experiencing the “I can’t do this anymore!” frantic stage of pain and feeling out of control, and my moaning never got to the point where I “sounded like Chewbacca” according to my husband.

When I was ready to push, I pushed with all my strength through three long contractions, still upright in the warm water, and Torsten was born at 9:28pm. I cried out a prayer of thanks to God for delivering me and the baby, then turned to receive my new son from the midwife. Unique to this birth was the complete lack of bloody show/blood until after the placenta was delivered. Additionally, as I continued to use oils through my post-partum week, I had no blood clots at all in my flow.

Immediately following birth, while still in the tub, I began to shake and have some leg cramps. My midwife gave me some homeopathic CalPhos minerals; after I moved into my bed I took a dropper of Cramp Bark tincture in alcohol to relieve uterine cramping. I took this every few hours for the first day or so and never needed any synthetic pain reliever. The one last oil I used that day was Nutmeg, again applied over my adrenals and inhaled from my palms.

There is nothing which can describe the peaceful contented feeling of being tucked into your own bed with your sweet little newborn by your side! I’m so grateful for the chance to have such a peaceful, safe, and satisfying birth with the excellent support of my caregivers, loved ones, and essential oils.

Up next: Trauma and Drama; Essential Oils during baby’s first week.

Labor and Delivery

Ten days ago I gave birth to my sixth child. At 9lbs 8oz, he was my largest baby. Yet his birth was my best.

20140508-002722.jpg
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t easy to give birth “once you get to number six.” 🙂 It is still labor. It is still transition, pushing, crowning, the whole works. But by this time I have learned how to work with my body, how to relax, and a few things to help the process.

This was my first birth using Essential Oils. (See my post on Labor and Birth for all the details!) I absolutely think they helped my labor to progress, my cervix to dilate, my pain to be decreased, my energy to not give out, and my emotions to stay stable and confident. I feel it was the oils that helped me avoid feeling out of control…the “I can’t do this!!” stage. I will be guest posting the details soon over at The OG Blog.

Additionally, having a caring supportive and highly qualified midwife from A Gentle Beginning, being able to spend transition and pushing in warm water (in the tub in my own bathroom), having my caring husband, mother, and for the first time, my oldest daughter on hand to support me, having a dark and calm environment…these all helped me to handle each contraction well.

Holding your new baby in your arms…the baby you just powerfully birthed…that is just about the pinnacle of life’s great moments!

20140508-003152.jpg