Pregnancy Belly Oil Recipe
Pregnancy is a great time to be avoiding toxins. Although it was originally thought that the placenta filters out most nasties (so baby doesn’t receive them), a ground-breaking study done in 2005 showed cord blood of the newborns studied contained an average of 200 industrial chemicals and pollutants.
Personal care products are a great place to start to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
One of the most popular products used by pregnant women in Australia for stretch mark prevention and treatment scores a shockingly high score in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. The ingredients have toxicity concerns that range from cancer to developmental/reproductive toxicity to allergies and immunotoxicity. Some of the ingredients also enhance skin absorption of the chemicals.
I have created an alternative belly oil recipe, adapted from one that was recommended in the aromatherapy text book, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy by Salvatore Battaglia. His massage oil blend recipe for prevention of stretch marks contains wheat-germ, apricot kernel and avocado oils as the carrier oils – all of which have good therapeutic qualities, however they are all prone to oxidising and going rancid. I found that my batch smelled a little rancid when newly made and the smell of rancidity only became stronger. The carrier oils I chose to use instead are:
Virgin coconut oil – A beautiful moisturising oil (proven to increase skin hydration skin surface lipid levels). One study of its topical use showed increased collagen cross-linking and faster wound healing, which might indicate its usefulness for stretch-mark prevention and treatment. It smells deliciously like coconut however if you are not a fan of the smell, fractionated coconut oil is another option.
Cocoa butter – Also very heat stable and contains antioxidants which prevent rancidity. It smells sweet like chocolate! It is solid at room temperature but melts at body temperature.
In his stretch-mark prevention blend, Battaglia recommends lavander, tangerine and neroli essential oils. I have also included some frankincense essential oil in mine. Frankincense has cicatrisant properties (stimulates growth of new skin cells, promotes scar healing) and adds a ‘base note’ for a well rounded smelling aromatherapy blend. Sandalwood has similar properties could be used as an alternative.
When I first made up this blend the combination of cocoa butter, coconut oil and tangerine essential oil filled my kitchen with the smell of orange scented chocolate, one of my favourite flavours! It certainly does smell yummy when applying and I’ve had a few comments lately about how delicious I am smelling. I have been using it as a whole body oil treatment, not just my belly!
Belly oil recipe:
50 mL (45g) cocoa butter
50mL (45g) coconut oil
50mL (50g) jojoba oil
10 drops neroli essential oil
30 drops tangerine essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops frankincense or sandalwood essential oil
To melt solid oils: In a small saucepan, heat a small amount of water to simmering point. Add cocoa butter and coconut essential oil to a large glass or other heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the mouth of the saucepan to gently heat the oils. Remove bowl from saucepan when oils are liquid.
Add jojoba oil to melted oils and stir with clean spoon. Then add all essential oils and stir to combine.
Pour your belly oil in to a glass or stainless steel dispensing bottle with a pump top lid, or a clean glass jar (with a wide mouth for easy access).
After a shower or bath, massage a small amount of oil into your belly, buttocks, breasts, thighs, and anywhere else you desire! You may need to blot out excess oil before putting clothes on or jumping in to bed.
**NOTE: this oil blend is partially crystallized at room temperature (in a Perth Autumn climate!) but will still dispense out of a pump-top dispenser. It will be more solid in a cooler temperature or if stored in the fridge. In this case you can store it in a wider mouthed container and use like a balm, or if you want a more liquid oil you can replace some of the cocoa butter and/or coconut oil with more jojoba oil.