First Trimester (weeks 1-12)

How to help ease pregnancy pains with this pregnancy body butter recipe

Katherine Compton  |  5 Aug 2021

Pregnancy comes with its ups and downs. The ups – you have made a wonderful baby, and the downs – the aches, pains and discomfort. That is why The Ribbon Box have made a perfect body butter recipe, specifically for the discomfort, inflammation and joint pain that can occur during pregnancy. While the ingredients listed in this article have many health and skin benefits, we have focused primarily on the benefits of reducing itching, inflammation and soreness. Read on to find out how you can make a healing body butter at home to help ease pregnancy pains.

Marshmallow root

Marshmallow root is often used in lotions to give the effect of softer skin and to reduce swelling. Swelling is a pregnancy symptom that can affect all areas of the body but primarily affects the ankles and legs, which is why it would be a good addition to your body butter recipe. Marshmallow root softens skin and reduces swelling as it is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral and contains antioxidants. This is also good for sensitive skin as it forms a protective, moisturising layer when mixed into a lotion and it is anti-irritant. Along with swelling, marshmallow root can help with itching, chaffing and redness which are other common symptoms of pregnancy.

Shea butter

Shea butter is often referred to as the ‘tree of life’ as it can help with multiple issues concerning the hair and skin health. The best shea butter to use would be completely unprocessed, pure shea butter that is yellowish in colour and solid at room temperature.

Why is it good for you?

Shea butter is like food for your skin as it contains essential fatty acids and vitamins such as Vitamin A, E and F. This can have healing properties, offer collagen production and UV protection. This butter works on all types of skin from oily to dry, and hydrates the skin by forming a protective, breathable layer over the skin, without clogging your pores, to help retain moisture and keep you hydrated.

Shea butter can help your through your pregnancy as it can cure rashes (and diaper rashes on your baby) and it can help to heal and rejuvenate skin.

Shea butter also contains palmitic acid and oleic which is anti-inflammatory. How can this help to ease pregnancy pains? This can be useful for when your legs and ankles may potentially become inflamed during the third trimester. This can also be useful for easing early pregnancy period pains when your stomach or lower back may be inflamed and sore.

Natural and pure shea butter is also a good option for people who have sensitive skin. However, as shea butter is derived from a nut, those with nut allergies may want to avoid it. Although there are often no side effects, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Mango Seed Butter

Mango seed butter is rich in vitamins C, A and folate. Vitamin C helps to encourage firmer and plumper skin while Vitamin A revitalises skin. It also has antioxidant benefits as it contains zeaxanthin and beta-carotene which can help with various health conditions. Due to the compound “mangiferin”, mangos are also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. As discussed before, anti-inflammatory properties may help with joint pains and early pregnancy period pains.

Mango butter is also protective against radiation such as UV and x-ray, (however it is not an alternative to sun protection creams). Mango butter also helps to moisturise the skin as it contains high amounts of fatty acids like oleic acid which is rich in Omega-9. This helps to tighten and firm skin. Mango seed butter is also soothing and helps with sensitive and dry skin.

Lady’s Mantle

Lady’s mantle has a lot of properties that can aid in women’s health. For instance, it can regulate your menstrual cycle and gastrointestinal health, which can ultimately help with early pregnancy period pains. Beyond this, Lady’s mantle can have various benefits for pregnancy when used on the skin. 

Lady’s mantle can protect newly formed elastin fibres which helps with skin elasticity. This is also a powerful antioxidant, as it contains tannins, which helps to ensure the skin is safe from oxidative damage. This also helps to tone and tighten skin which enhances your smooth complexion. Lady’s mantle is also known to help heal wounds much like aloe vera, so it is commonly known for its benefits when used on skin conditions like acne and eczema.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is highly nourishing to the skin and helps to keep the skin hydrated, improving its elasticity (elasticity may help to prevent the skin from tearing during labour). It is highly absorbable which means it can sink into deep layers of the skin, helping with collagen. As coconut oil can penetrate deep layers of the skin, it can also help with any uncomfortable itchiness that is sometimes associated with stretch marks.

As coconut oil is anti-inflammatory it can help with the length of the healing process of any scarring and inflammation. By helping to reduce inflamed skin, some of the discomfort associated with the symptom can ease. Coconut oil is also a natural ingredient that rarely causes allergic reaction but if you are allergic to coconuts or nuts in general, you could either do a patch test or avoid it altogether.

Cocoa butter

The best cocoa butter will be 100% pure and solid at room temperature. Cocoa butter can last for up to two to five years; however once whipped into a cream the shelf life is much shorter, so it’s best to make this lotion in small batches.

How does it help?

Cocoa butter is an incredibly potent antioxidant which can protect your cells from free-radicals. Free radicals can be harmful to all cells, especially those used to produce eggs, sperm and reproductive cycles. It is also an anti-inflammatory which can help to prevent insulin resistance. 

It also has additional benefits for sensitive, dry or marked skin.


Additional ingredients

If any of the above ingredients are not palatable to you for your body butter, either for allergy reasons or maybe you don’t like those fragrances, there are alternatives that you could try that also provide additional benefits to managing side effects during pregnancy like itching, swelling and joint pain. We mainly want to use ingredients that are anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling, and oils and butters that are absorbable and moisturising to help with the itchiness associated with stretch marks. Ingredients that contain omegas and amino acids are just an additional bonus to nourish the skin with healthy nutrients.

Some good alternatives to look into are:

  • Olive oil – contains Vitamin E and antioxidants and hydrates cells, helps with hormone imbalances and encourages healing 
  • Argan oil – contains Vitamin E and protects skin from sun damage and free radicals 
  • Turmeric – hydrates, heals and protects skin from UV damage and toxins
  • Aloe vera – contains vitamins A, C, E, B12, folic acid, calcium and is deeply healing and soothing to skin 

How to make pregnancy body butter

Once you have chosen your ingredients, you simply need an electric whisk, a bowl and a jar or storage pot with an airtight lid. Measurements do not need to be specific, it just depends on the texture you want from your body butter. As this is a body butter recipe, you will primarily need to use any butters as the main base of your body butter, followed by smaller amounts of oil and a couple of tablespoons of any herbs, and a teaspoon of any spices. Blend all the ingredients together and smooth down into a pot with an airtight lid. Store this in a cool, dry place and use within one to two weeks as the shelf life of shea butter is shorter once it has been whipped.

Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into how to manage various symptoms of pregnancy and ease pregnancy pains at home (such as inflammation, itching, chaffing and swelling). Body butters can do wonders to help the skin beyond cosmetic benefits, but it’s rarely discussed, so having a list of ingredients and their benefits can also be helpful when attempting to purchase a pre-made body butter.

A good rule of thumb is to make sure the ingredient you are looking for in a pre-made body butter is listed first or at least very early on the ingredients list. This will tell you if the ingredient is primary to the body butter or not.

For more helpful ideas to reduce pregnancy aches and pains, or for more articles on preparing for pregnancy, subscribe now.

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