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AROMATHERAPY AND FRAGRANCE AS PREVENTION FOR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?

March 25, 2021

Mother's Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is a celebration of all the hard-working mothers, their sacrifice and their unconditional love. However all of their hard work being appreciated on this special day, we think it is important to shine a light on all  stress and anxiety, becoming a mother can cause. Our aim is to offer some advice and evidence on how aromatherapy and different scents can prevent stress, anxiety, and postpartum depression in young mothers.

New mom (Photo: Pexels)

First, let us tell you, a short story...

"The scent has the power to change minds, shift feelings and deeply influence people. Take advantage of what this sense has to offer to your wellbeing."

A young mom had a powerful personal discovery when she was struggling with crippling depression! What began as postpartum depression after giving birth never really let up. And after sinking into a state of hopelessness and despair, she felt she was getting to the lowest point of her life. It was at that point when she put on a scent and noticed the powerful positive effect it had on her mood. She felt convinced that although we have five senses, we don’t take advantage of them in their entirety.

Second, some scientific facts

"Pregnancy and delivering a baby are certainly not a walk in a park, but the first months after are actually are the hardest. That's why you should counterweight that, simply by taking a few deep breaths of your favourite relaxing scent and you'll feel a lot better. The best part is that you don't need an extra hour to do it. Just mindfully enjoy in a few moments in between, that are just yours."

Pregnancy and delivery a baby are ofcourse pleasant physiological phenomena, but at times, changes occur in pregnant women's mood that make them sensitive to psychological stimulants and can lead to different mental problems. After delivery, women start losing self-control on different  events and feel helpless, and are involved in confusion and manifest signs such as depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Postpartum depression can increase mothers’ and infants’ vulnerability. Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, high consumption of caffeine, smoking, and physical diseases are among the manifestations of anxiety. Postpartum depression can have negative effects on mothers’ role and, in some cases, impair maternal interest to infant and family members.

"Studies on aromatherapy in postpartum period have reported an improvement in physical and mental status of mothers and infants, as well as their interaction."

Postpartum anxiety (Photo: Pexels)

Preventive treatments during delivery and immediately after that include supportive psychotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and medication. However, there are some studies on aromatherapy in postpartum period, including Imura et al. in which mothers’ and infants’ physical and mental status improvement and facilitation of mother-infant interaction have been reported.

Conrad and Adams for example conducted a comparative study on the effects of inhalation and massage aromatherapy, using a combination of lavender rose essentials and reported that both methods significantly reduced depression and anxiety. Although massage aromatherapy was more effective.

One of the most commonly scented essential oils used in aromatherapy, is lavender oil. Its scientific name is Lavandula angustifolia from the group of mints with the English name of lavender.

"A combination of lavender and rose essentials is proven to drastically reduce depression and anxiety."

Lavender aromatherapy (Photos: Pexels)

"The idea that fragrances might affect our mood is not a new concept. It was Aristotle and Plato who, as one of the first, were talking about this important correlation waaay back in Greco-Latin times."

Kianpour et al. also conducted a research on the application of aromatherapy after delivery, reporting an improvement in mothers’ and infants’ physical and psychological conditions as well as facilitation of maternal-infant interaction,

The idea that fragrances might affect our mood is not a new concept. In the ancient Greco‐Latin civilizations, Aristotle and Plato described olfactory perception as strongly related to human emotions (LeGuérer, 1992). Different perfumes have their own impact on the mood because of the various ingredients that can lift up your spirits.

So with Mother's Day around the corner, you want to give a gift that not only says »thank you«,  but something thoughtful, that will reduce stress and anxiety and help a new mom become the best, healthy and anxiety-free version of herself.

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