Which essential oils are safe during pregnancy?

No expecting mom ever claimed that pregnancy is easy and pain-free. The reality is that growing a tiny human inside you often brings along cramps, discomfort, and various unpleasant symptoms such as heartburn, backaches, nausea, and constipation.

To alleviate these symptoms, pregnant mothers often seek relief methods, and for some, essential oils serve as a natural solution to help them cope during those nine months. To assist you in determining whether essential oils are suitable for you, we’ve outlined everything you need to know. This includes identifying which oils are safe to use, which ones should be avoided entirely, understanding how to use them safely, and learning what precautions to take when using them.

Which essential oils are safe during pregnancy?
Which essential oils are safe during pregnancy?

Understanding Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural aromatic extracts derived from plants through distillation or by pressing parts such as leaves, roots, or bark. These extracted compounds retain the original scent and flavor of the plant and are often concentrated into oil form. Due to their pleasing fragrances, they find applications in various products including cleaning agents, beauty items like creams, lotions, and perfumes.

Safety of Essential Oils During Pregnancy

When it comes to using essential oils during pregnancy, it’s essential to exercise caution and moderation. The safest way to use them is through inhalation by adding them to a diffuser or onto a thin, absorbent material like tissue, cotton ball, or gauze. Another method is creating a room spray by diluting the oil in water and spraying it in a general area to enjoy the aroma.

Despite the discomforts that often accompany pregnancy, it’s crucial to avoid over-inhaling essential oils, ingesting them, placing droplets under the tongue, or applying them topically on the skin.

Benefits of Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Each essential oil possesses a unique chemical composition, offering distinct scents and natural properties. Some can help alleviate anxiety and promote relaxation, while others contribute to a restful night’s sleep—welcome relief for expectant mothers.

Additional benefits of pregnancy-safe essential oils include:

  • Boosting mood
  • Promoting relaxation
  • Easing morning sickness and nausea
  • Soothing sore muscles and back pain
  • Alleviating headaches

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

While essential oils can be valuable for relieving pregnancy discomforts, caution is crucial as some oils pose risks to expectant mothers. A 2021 study highlighted that not all essential oils, despite being plant-derived, are safe during pregnancy.

Researchers found that certain oils could significantly impact pregnancy, leading to issues such as miscarriage, reproductive system problems, disruptions in reproductive hormones, and fetal development. Some of the oils identified in the study include:

  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Hyssop
  • Lemon basil, lemon leaf, and lemongrass
  • Myrrh
  • Mugwort
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Parsley seed or leaf
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rue
  • Tansy
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

Moreover, physicians at Moreland OB-GYN in Wisconsin advise avoiding these additional essential oils until after childbirth:

  • Birch
  • Camphor
  • Clary sage
  • Oakmoss
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Thuja
  • Thyme

Recommended Essential Oils for Pregnancy

Despite the caution surrounding certain essential oils, many are considered safe for expectant mothers. To simplify your choices, we’ve curated a list of pregnancy-friendly options:

  • Cardamom, ginger, petitgrain, and sweet orange: Alleviate morning sickness and nausea.
  • Frankincense, German chamomile, lavender, neroli, rose, rosewood, and Roman chamomile: Promote calmness, relaxation, and better sleep.
  • Geranium, patchouli, sandalwood, and wild orange: Lift your spirits and improve your mood.
  • Sandalwood, petitgrain, and Roman chamomile: Ease heartburn discomfort.
  • Benzoin, lavender, and juniper: Soothe abdominal discomfort.
  • Cypress, neroli, and sweet marjoram: Reduce frequent bathroom trips.

Safely Using Essential Oils During Pregnancy

Before using essential oils, it’s advisable to consult your physician. If given the green light, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Test a small amount in a diffuser or on gauze and inhale gently. Avoid direct contact with your face or skin.
  • Refrain from applying essential oils directly to your skin, as certain oils like peppermint, lavender, tea tree, and ylang-ylang may contain allergens that could cause irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Never ingest essential oils, as there is insufficient research to support their safety during pregnancy. Ingesting essential oils can lead to severe complications, as evidenced by reported cases of near-death experiences.

Choosing Quality Essential Oils

When selecting essential oils, prioritize high-quality, natural options. Here are some tips to ensure you’re purchasing genuine products:

  • Avoid oils with synthetic additives listed in the ingredients, as these dilute the product and may interfere with its natural healing properties.
  • Be cautious of significantly lower-priced oils, as they may indicate lower quality or synthetic alternatives.
  • Don’t be swayed by labels claiming “100% natural,” “natural,” or “pure,” as these terms do not guarantee the highest quality. Instead, focus on oils that clearly state their purity without unnecessary marketing buzzwords.
  • Look for oils that are free from fragrance or perfume additives, as these may not be suitable for therapeutic use.

While some essential oils can offer relief from pregnancy symptoms, it’s essential to remain vigilant and seek medical advice if you experience any adverse reactions. Your health and the well-being of your baby are top priorities, so always prioritize safety when using essential oils during pregnancy.

FAQs

What essential oils can you not use when pregnant?

Some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy due to their potential risks to the developing fetus. These include oils such as:

  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Hyssop
  • Lemon basil, lemon leaf, and lemongrass
  • Myrrh
  • Mugwort
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Parsley seed or leaf
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rue
  • Tansy
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood Consult with your healthcare provider before using any essential oils during pregnancy to ensure safety.

What oils should be avoided during pregnancy?

Certain essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy due to their potential to cause harm or complications. These oils include those listed above, along with others such as:

  • Birch
  • Camphor
  • Clary sage
  • Oakmoss
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Thuja
  • Thyme Always consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils during pregnancy.

Is it safe to use essential oils in a diffuser while pregnant?

Using essential oils in a diffuser during pregnancy can be safe when done in moderation and with caution. However, it’s essential to choose pregnancy-safe oils and avoid those known to be potentially harmful. Additionally, ensure proper ventilation in the room and discontinue use if you experience any adverse reactions.

Why avoid peppermint oil during pregnancy?

Peppermint oil should be avoided during pregnancy due to its potential to cause uterine relaxation and affect hormone levels. This could potentially lead to complications such as premature contractions or miscarriage. It’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using peppermint oil during pregnancy.

thepregnancycare.com

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