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18 Essential Oils for Pregnancy: What We Know So Far

2 years ago4 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

Essential oils have been part of self-care routines since the days of the ancient Egyptians, but does having a baby on board mean that this needs to change? Are there specific essential oils for pregnancy that can help with tricky symptoms? And are there any that you should avoid?

Essential Oils for Pregnancy

Let’s dive right into this sweet-smelling topic…

In this article 📝

  • What essential oils are safe during pregnancy?
  • Essential oils safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • Why are essential oils bad for pregnancy?
  • Are there any essential oils to avoid during pregnancy?
  • Can I inhale essential oils while pregnant?
  • What essential oils can cause miscarriage?

What essential oils are safe during pregnancy?

Lots of essential oils are deemed safe for use during pregnancy but, in reality, there hasn’t been a lot of research. What we can agree on, though, is that you should get your doctor’s advice before starting to use any new essential oils during pregnancy.

And whatever you choose to use, it’s best to keep to these guidelines:

  • Don’t ingest the oils. This means no drops on your tongue and no oils mixed into teas or tinctures to drink.
  • Try aromatherapy, rather than topical use (applying the oil to your skin).

And if you do plan on using essential oils topically:

  • DO use the recommended dilution guidelines which will be specific to each oil.
  • DO check how a small area of your skin reacts to the oil at least 24 hours before you do a full treatment (i.e. a skin patch test).
  • DON’T use more than the recommended dose.

Essential oils safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding

So, now we know how to use them, what essential oils are safe for pregnancy and on into your breastfeeding journey? Here are our top picks, grouped by how they might be able to help.

To ease nausea and vomiting

  1. Ginger
  2. Cardamom
  3. Lemon

To boost a low mood or ease anxiety

  1. Orange
  2. Sandalwood
  3. Patchouli
  4. Bergamot

To relax

  1. Lavender
  2. Rose or rosewood
  3. Chamomile
  4. Neroli
  5. Petitgrain
  6. Ylang Ylang

To prevent and heal stretch marks

  1. Argan
  2. Bitter Almond
  3. Frankincense

To use as a relaxing labor aid (but not during pregnancy)

  1. Geranium
  2. Clary Sage

Why are essential oils bad for pregnancy?

They are not, necessarily. But, due to the limited research, it’s recommended not to use essential oils during the first trimester. This is a critical time when it comes to your little one’s development, and lots of mamas-to-be feel more comfortable avoiding the risks completely.

During the second and third trimesters, the pregnancy-safe essential oils above are generally good to go if you follow the guidelines and check with your doctor first.

Are there any essential oils to avoid during pregnancy?

You’re probably tired of hearing all the things to avoid during pregnancy, but you can add some essential oils to the list as well. Let’s take a look at what essential oils are not good for pregnancy:

  • Aniseed
  • Birch
  • Basil ct. Estragole
  • Camphor
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  • Hyssop
  • Jasmine
  • Mugwort
  • Oak Mass
  • Parsley leaf or seed
  • Peppermint
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • Tansy
  • Tarragon
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

This list is not exhaustive, so it’s best to double-check if you’re planning on using an oil we haven’t mentioned.

Can I inhale essential oils while pregnant?

It’s generally fine to put a drop or two of essential oil onto cotton wool or a soft cloth to gently breathe in. It’s even safer to inhale essential oils using a diffuser.

Many experts recommend starting by using just one drop of essential oil, and gradually building up to the recommended dose. Pregnancy does some weird things to your sense of smell, and you might find the smells of some oils unpleasant or overwhelming.

What essential oils can cause miscarriage?

Some mamas-to-be may worry that essential oils can be toxic. However, experts agree that there has been no direct link between essential oils used as directed and miscarriage or birth differences.

Having said that, it’s best to be cautious, avoiding all the essential oils we’ve mentioned as a risk, and speaking to your doctor before starting any new regime involving essential oils while pregnant.

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