If you’re anything like us, your house isn’t complete without a set of premium essential oils. Maybe you use them to help you sleep, stimulate your appetite, or relieve inflammatory pain.
Whatever your reasons, you might be wondering if you can keep using your favorite essential oils while you are pregnant.
Doctors widely consider essential oils safe for the general population when used properly, but their opinions on using them while pregnant vary.
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Many oils are lacking scientific research to confirm their efficacy on pregnant women and whether they impact the health of the fetus.
But this doesn’t mean they’re necessarily dangerous for pregnant women, either, In fact, midwives, doulas, and nurses have used some types of oils with to-be mothers for thousands of years without causing any recorded harm.
10 Best Essential Oils For Pregnancy
*The companies chosen above are based upon my personal opinion based upon me giving them a try and testing their quality.
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What does this mean for you (or your partner)?
While you should always be aware of what you’re putting in or on your body during pregnancy, many essential oils pose no harm to you or your child if you use them properly.
Many to-be mothers report improved nausea symptoms, reduced swelling, felt fewer feelings of stress and anxiety, improved back pains, and more as the result of using essential oils during pregnancy.
So which essential oils are the best for you while you're pregnant and nursing?
Which are the safest and offer the most noticeable results?
Let’s take a look at the standard practices for using essential oils during pregnancy, the 10 best oils for pregnancy, and the few oils you should avoid for peace of mind.
How to Use Essential Oils for Pregnancy
Before you head to your favorite store and buy their stock of essential oils, there are few rules you should keep in mind about using them during your pregnancy - regardless of which types you choose:
Only use essential oils externally
It’s very important not to ingest any essential oils during your pregnancy. Instead, use your oils topically (on your skin) or use a diffuser to enjoy their vaporized effects.
These methods do not introduce the oil’s chemical compounds into your body so they cannot be absorbed by the baby or be dispersed into your breast milk.
Although essential oil ingestion is widely safe for adults, there is no way to know for sure they will not have a negative impact on your unborn child - instead, avoid the concern altogether and only use your essential oils externally while you are nursing or pregnant.
Do not use essential oils during your first trimester
Your baby is most vulnerable during the first trimester of your pregnancy. During this time, it’s wise to avoid essential oils altogether according to many aromatherapists and doctors.
If your pregnancy is high risk for any reason, it’s especially crucial to avoid them - even using them topically.
If you’re using essential oils to boost your fertility or to help your chances of getting pregnant, that’s okay - just stop as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
Some experts say inhaling the vapors of safe essential oils is not harmful during the first trimester, but topical application and ingestion should be avoided completely.
Less is more when using essential oils
This rule applies to everyone, but especially mothers in the making. Regardless of what you’re using them for or how you are applying them, you only need a few drops of any essential oil for desired results.
They contain highly-concentrated chemical compounds which you should dilute with a carrier oil before topical use.
When you’re pregnant, the general rule of thumb is to dilute your essential oils more than you would when you weren’t pregnant.
Remember: you can always add more once you’ve applied some, but you can’t take any away once it’s absorbed into your skin.
10 Best Essential Oils for Pregnancy
We’ve talked a lot about the safety of essential oils during pregnancy and how to use them. Now let’s take a look at which oils to-be moms are using to help them during the experience:
When it comes to essential oils, few are more popular than lavender. And what’s not to love? It smells amazing and provides a full-body calmness that isn't replicable by other essential oils.
Luckily, it’s also one of the safest choices for women who are nursing and pregnant!
Lavender is most widely known for its relaxing, calming effect, making it a great tool against anxiety, tension, and stress. In fact, some studies show it may aid in contraction reduction for pregnant women during the latter part of their term.
It’s calming effects are show to improve restfulness and induce sleepiness, making it a great choice if you’re having a hard time falling asleep at night (or staying asleep).
If lavender is the world’s most popular essential oil, chamomile is a close second. Chamomile oil is famous for the same reasons as its popular counterpart: tea.
For centuries, people have used chamomile oil to help them sleep, to improve digestive health, to fight anxiety, and to relieve allergies.
When you’re choosing a chamomile oil, be sure to choose one that isn’t mixed with other oils. Many times, companies blend chamomile with other scents and mask it - when you buy pure chamomile oil, you’re getting the full experience.
Often associated with femininity, ylang-ylang offers a gentle, floral scent reminiscent of high-end perfumes. For centuries, people have touted ylang-ylang’s antidepressant, antiseptic, and antispasmodic properties - especially for mothers-to-be.
It’s also thought to improve blood flow and boost immune health, adding onto its incredible benefits during pregnancy.
Since ancient times, people around the world have used ginger in many ways for its pleasant aroma, strong flavor and various health benefits.
Ginger root has anti-inflammatory properties that make it excellent for nausea and vomiting, two of the most widely-reported problems among to-be mothers.
It’s one of the safest essential oils on the market, and its anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent for headache relief as well.
Who doesn’t love the pungent, citrusy aroma of lemon? Commonly used with ginger to provide synergistic effects (and a lovely scent), lemon is excellent for removing impurities in the air.
By diffusing it in your home, you can introduce a clean, refreshing energy to the environment.
Many women use lemon oil to control their acne breakouts during pregnancy. A few drops on the skin can help remove sebum (the oils that cause acne) and lead to clearer, brighter skin.
Like lemon oil, orange oil provides a distinctly sweet, citrusy scent that instantly makes any room feel cleaner.
It’s aroma provides a mild sedative effect, making it the perfect choice for to-be moms who want to relax after a long day. It’s also useful for treating cramps and spasms, common side effects of pregnancy.
What can’t bergamot oil do? Bergamot contains natural terpenes (including limonene and linalool) that lend to its many medicinal properties.
It’s anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial making it a great treatment for a wide variety of health conditions.
As soon as you smell grapefruit oil (either from the bottle or through a diffuser), you’ll know right away why it’s so popular.
It's invigorating smell triggers feelings of relaxation immediately, making it a great choice for pregnant women experiencing mood imbalances or anxiety.
Like other citrus-based essential oils, grapefruit oil is excellent for treating infections. Of the oils on this list, grapefruit oil has one of the lowest potentials for toxicity making it particularly safe for topical application during your pregnancy.
Similarly to ginger, many mothers-to-be use peppermint oil as a digestion aid. It’s commonly used to improve nausea, reduce vomiting, and even stop congestion.
While peppermint oil is generally safe, some studies show it may reduce the amount of breast milk nursing mothers produce. To be prevent any issues with milk production, do not use peppermint oil if you are breastfeeding your child.
Unlike many of the other essential oils on this list, cardamom oil has a strong stimulating effect (as opposed to a relaxing effect, like lavender or chamomile).
Some mothers use it improve their postpartum depression while it helps others stay productive during their pregnancy.
It’s other effects are also particularly beneficial to pregnant women, including its antispasmodic properties.
Essential Oil Blends & Recipes You Can Make
Mixing and blending essential oils is one of the best ways to reap their benefits.
Some companies sell pre-blended oils, but you can easily make them at home if you have the starting choices you’d like to use (for example, it’s easy to blend lavender and chamomile - you don’t have to buy a blend if you already own these two).
You might consider the following essential oil blends to help you during your pregnancy:
Looking for a pick-me-up? Blend 2 drops of chamomile, 2 drops of lavender, and 2 drops of lavender with the carrier oil of your choice.
Massage it into the skin for a quick, natural boost of energy.
Morning Sickness Blend
Almost every woman experiences morning sickness while she is pregnant. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and cramps.
By blending 4 drops of spearmint, 1 drop of ginger, 1 drop of cardamom, and 1 drop of lavender you can create a mix that will stop morning sickness in its tracks.
Some oils are shown to reduce milk production, but combining clary sage, basil, and a carrier oil is a great way to increase it.
Massage into your breasts for up to 10 days to improve your lactation (we do not recommend using this blend for longer than 10 consecutive days).
What Essential Oils Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?
Just as some essential oils are safe during pregnancy, others are not. Some oils do not have enough evidence to prove they are safe for pregnant women and others are outright dangerous - even in small amounts.
While you are pregnant or nursing, avoid the following essential oils to protect you and your unborn child’s health:
It’s also important to avoid any essential oil in excessive amounts - even if it’s generally safe to use during pregnancy.
According to specialist Ron Guba, toxicity during pregnancy due to essential oils is almost always caused by overuse of the substance. It’s important to use essential oils as directed while you are pregnant to prevent any unintended side effects.
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Final Thoughts About Essential Oils for Pregnancy
In recent years, using essential oils have been a point of contention for doctors and soon-to-be mothers. As with many natural medications and herbal remedies, the key is to research before you use any substance.
When you use essential oils as directed, they can help you feel better during your pregnancy and minimize negative side effects.
Which essential oils you use during your pregnancy depends on your personal needs and preferences. Remember - you don’t have to rush out and buy all of the oils on this list.
In fact, we advise against it. Start small and choose a couple of oils you’d like to try - when you’re ready, consider adding more to your collection.
With a little patience and time, you’ll find out which oils work best for you to help you have a happy, health pregnancy.