Aromatherapy: Oils for Post-natal Depression

The levels of progesterone and other hormones in a woman's body drop dramatically after childbirth, commonly resulting in tearfulness and the 'baby blues' for a few days after delivery. This usually passes within a week or so, but if it does not post-natal depression may set in. Post-natal depression can last for weeks or months after childbirth (or after a miscarriage or abortion).

Downward Spiral

In addition to hormonal changes, factors such as lack of sleep and huge lifestyle changes that leave the sufferer unable to take enough care of her own health can all contribute to creating and prolonging post-natal depression. Essential oils can help ease some of these factors, but it is important that a midwife or health visitor is consulted.

How to Blend Oils for Post-natal Depression

All of these blends are for 35ml base oil and only those which will not have a harmful effect on the baby can be considered

aromatherapy rose

Top Note

Middle Note

Base Note

Encouraging sleep

1 drop grapefruit

2 drops chamomile
2 drops lavender

1 drop ylang ylang

Maintaining appetite

1 drop orange

2 drops chamomile

1 drops neroli

Tonic for general health

1 drop grapefruit

1 drop chamomile
2 drops rose

1 drop neroli

Easing depression

1 drop lemongrass

1 drop chamomile
1 drop lavender
1 drop rose

1 drop neroli

Oils for Post-natal Depression

If you suffer from post-natal depression, the first step that needs to be taken towards recovery is to learn to value yourself and to take sufficient time to look after you health.

Encouraging Sleep

Sleep deprivation and disturbance of your sleep pattern is an inevitable consequence of childbirth.

Where possible, night-time check on the baby should be share with your partner or a supportive friend or relative, as these can be a major contribution to the persistence of depression.

Drops of chamomile and lavender oils on your pillow will help to promote sleep.
Use your oils in scented baths and on pulse points, though take care to avoid pulse points where babck may lick the skin.

aromatherapy pillows

Maintaining General Health

During pregnancy a woman's body becomes very depleted of vitamins and minerals, and it is important to gently bring levels back up to an optimum level without harming the baby through transmission. Check with your health visitor before taking vitamin supplements, and be sure to mention foods you are taking that contain high levels of certain vitamins.

Massage with the 'tonic for general health' blend will help the body relax and boost your immune system.

Use steam inhalation to help you body absorb the healing properties from your essential oils.

Easing Sadness

Post-natal depression is a debilitating, traumatic experience and it can feel isolating and disempowering. Using essential oils can only help to alleviate some symptoms and it must be stressed that help from health professional, family and friends should be sought and encouraged at every stage of the way.

inhaling oils from handkerchiefs

With a newborn in the home, the best places to use your oils are on a pillow or handkerchief.

Fragrance is very uplifting and you don't need to stick to the suggested blends. Treat yourself to a favourite perfume, preferably one that brings back happy memories

Maintaining Appetite

During pregnancy a woman is literally 'eating for two' and this can result in a loss of appetite after childbirth. However, if you are breastfeeding and/or expressing milk then you are still eating for two and need to keep your appetite stimulated, even if the idea of food is nauseating.

Use citrus oils to stimulate your saliva flow and digestive juices. Apply a few drops of the 'maintaining appetite' blend onto a handkerchief to sniff before meals to give you an appetite.