When we were younger, we were led to believe that falling pregnant was an easy thing to do. You have sex and conception takes care of itself, right? We were also told to avoid it until we had love and marriage.
As we grow older, we become wiser, we learn that falling pregnant isn’t easy for all women. For some, trying to conceive a viable pregnancy is difficult, and almost impossible. According to recent statistics, about one in six couples experience fertility issues. Fertility issues can be caused by problems with either partner’s reproductive system. Approximately a third of infertility is due to male factors, a third to female factors, in some cases it is in both partners, and in about 20 per cent of cases, there is no apparent cause of infertility.
If you’re under 35 and haven’t conceived after a year, talk to your primary healthcare provider. If you are 35 or older, consult with your healthcare provider after six months of trying without success. Your primary healthcare provider may be able to conduct some tests to see what might be the issue, and you might then be referred to a fertility specialist who will do further testing to try to determine the cause of the problem.
So, can essential oils assist us with our fertility? Can they help us fall pregnant? In short, no they cannot. However, they can be a useful support tool during the process of trying to conceive and prepare us for pregnancy.
Falling pregnant isn’t as easy as we were led to believe, it can become a stressful time. This is the perfect opportunity to use our lovely essential oils.
Feeling anxious or stressed about not falling pregnant yet? Lemon, Sweet Orange or Grapefruit will help uplift your mood and bring a sense of calmness to your environment. Neroli can help relax the nerves and uplift the spirits, and Lavender can have a harmonising effect on the nervous system. Geranium can help balance fluctuating hormones, and Pine can instil a sense of acceptance, confidence and strength. Patchouli can be soothing and calming, and it can also bring a sense of sensuality and sexuality into your body.
Try one or create a blend using these oils and put into your diffuser.
Need something to add to your mood for sex? Sandalwood, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense and Rose are known aphrodisiac oils, so may help you and your partner feel aroused. Sandalwood can instil a sense of peace within and can calm us, whilst Jasmine can bring a sense of confidence, release our inhibitions and release our sexual energy. Ylang Ylang allows us to get in touch with our passionate feminine side, Frankincense can ease any tension or stress within our bodies, and Rose can nurture and comfort our bodies and minds.
Create a body oil with 30 mls of jojoba, add a drop of each of the oils, then massage into your partner as a part of the pre-sex ritual. The massage will help relax your partner, and the oils will enhance their mood. You could also create your own love blend to diffuse in your room before you engage in sex to help you prepare and unwind.
Are there any essential oils I should avoid? Be aware of anaphrodisiacs, also known as anti-aphrodisiacs. Some foods reduce your sex drive, such as highly saturated fat foods, soy-based foods, and too much sugar. Sweet Marjoram essential oil is known to be an anaphrodisiac oil, so whilst it can strengthen your nervous system and reduce obsessive thinking, avoid this oil during this time. Sweet Marjoram is purported to diminish sexual desire and has an association with celibacy.
Pennyroyal is another oil that should be avoided. In fact, it is one that every aromatherapy text says people should always avoid. It is a herb, with a minty aroma, is mainly used to deter pests and an insect repellent, but has been used by women to regulate their menstrual cycles. Hpwever, to be clear, this oils is not one for the home user to have. Pennyroyal is a herb that was used over 2,000 years ago to terminate unwanted pregnancies. Dr Tucker, a research professor and author of The Big Book of Herbs says that pennyroyal induces abortions by first damaging the mother’s liver. Death sometimes follows. It has also been documented that in 1994 a college student drank 2 teaspoons of pennyroyal oil in teas over a two-day period died from it.
What else can I do? Your weight, age, lifestyle, exercise regime and timing all can play a part in your ability to fall pregnant. Consider the following
- Reduce the toxic chemical in your life. Look at the home cleaning and personal care products you use, and consider healthier options. You might look at essential oils for cleaning for your home and as part of your skin care regime.
- Being a healthy weight can improve your chances of a successful pregnancy, and it helps with the health of the sperm and eggs. Make small improvements to your diet by eating fresh foods, drinking more water, reducing your alcohol intake and reduce your caffeine intake – all of these can impact your fertility.
- Know your ovulation cycle. Having sex at the right time of the month can save a lot of time and stress. You can keep track of your menstrual cycles on a chart, in a diary, or on a free period-tracker app on your smartphone.
- Rethink your exercise regime. Too much exercise can play havoc with your hormone system. Consider adding some gentle relaxing type activities into your regime, like walking in nature, meditation or yoga. They relax the mind and body, as well as reduce our stress levels.
- Consider a multivitamin or pre-pregnancy vitamin to help nourish your body from within. They can help balance your hormone levels and increase your iron and ferritin levels to support a healthy pregnancy.
It is never too early to start making these changes to your lifestyle.
The path to pregnancy can be difficult for some, and easy for others. Take control of the process, allow essential oils to support you along the way, and as much as you can, investigate and implement the above suggestions.
Reference: Battaglia, S (2003). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition.