Many pregnant women use moisturizers and massage oils during pregnancy to hydrate and soothe irritated or stretched skin. Generally considered safe for use during pregnancy, jojoba oil provides an effective topical ointment to prevent or relieve various maladies women commonly suffer during gestation.
Jojoba Oil Basics
Jojoba oil is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant, an evergreen shrub native to Arizona, California and northern parts of Mexico. Native Americans have used jojoba oil for centuries as a hair oil and a treatment for various skin ailments.
Although it's called an oil, jojoba oil is actually wax ester, a liquid wax composed primarily of unsaturated fatty acids and fatty alcohols. According to Shirley Price, coauthor of "Aromatherapy for Health Professionals," jojoba oil does not require the use of preservatives since it doesn't go rancid like most other oils used in skin and hair ointments or creams.
Commonly used for massage and as a topical skin ointment, jojoba oil possesses multiple benefits for women when used during pregnancy, including helping to maintain your skin's tone and elasticity. Anstice Carroll, coauthor of "The Dictionary of Wholesome Foods," states that jojoba oil minimizes stretch marks and can be used on your face, scalp, body and hair to promote healing of dry or irritated skin. A natural emollient, jojoba oil is extremely similar in chemical composition to the oil your body produces--sebum--which makes it a prime non-chemical treatment for acne flare-ups that may occur during pregnancy as a result of your shifting hormones. According to Price, it treats and prevents acne by keeping excessive sebum from building up on your skin .
Many women dilute various scented essential oils in their jojoba oil to make back rubs and whole body massage more therapeutic and relaxing. Exercise caution when deciding what essential oils to dilute in jojoba oil during pregnancy, as some commonly used essential oils can be quite potent. Valerie Worwood, author of "The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy," suggests that you stick with more mild essential oils such as lavender and chamomile during gestation, just to be safe. Skip essential oils altogether if you're experiencing a high-risk pregnancy or have a personal history of miscarriages.
Allison England, author of the book "Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother," suggests that you put off using jojoba oil for perineal massage until the last eight weeks of pregnancy. At that point, rub approximately ¼ tsp. of the jojoba oil on your perineal area once daily through the remainder of your pregnancy to help prepare it for the stretching that occurs during labor. England states that this practice may minimize your chances of needing an episiotomy during delivery. Always use pure, undiluted jojoba oil for perineal massage, as England notes that added ingredients such as essential oils may burn the sensitive skin of the perineum.
Price states that jojoba oil may cause allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis in rare instances. If you're pregnant and are interested in using jojoba oil as a natural skin care product, talk to your obstetrical care provider before using it if you have a personal or family history of allergies. Once your health care provider gives you her approval, try the jojoba oil on a small portion of your skin, such as your wrist, in order to assess your skin's response to the oil before applying it to other portions of your body.