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best essential oils for pregnancy and what oils to avoid when pregnant

Essential Oils for Pregnancy

Pregnancy is an exciting time for many women, however there are many changes your body goes through while carrying a baby. There are often unpleasant side effects that come with pregnancy, and essential oils can help provide natural relief. There are a variety of essential oils you can use while pregnant for relief of symptoms like headachespainnausea, morning sickness, and even help prevent the appearance of stretch marks. Using aromatherapy oils during pregnancy can be a practical and convenient way to treat feelings of discomfort, and are a great option for those looking for a more natural pregnancy, free from medications.

This begs the questions ‘what essential oils can you use when pregnant?’ and ‘what essential oils are good for pregnancy?’ The best essential oils for pregnancy will depend on exactly what type of ailment a woman is trying to improve. Using essential oils during pregnancy can help reduce the unpleasant side effects that may come with carrying a child.

Note: It is highly recommended that you speak with a health care professional before using any essential oils while pregnant, even pregnancy safe essential oils.

Lavender Oil During Pregnancy

For those wondering is lavender oil safe in pregnancy, the answer is yes. Women can use lavender essential oil while pregnant and due to its versatility, lavender is often considered the best oil to use during pregnancy. There are many uses for lavender oil, and pregnancy can be a great time to try using this essential oil. Lavender essential oil is considered to be one of the safest essential oils sold today, and can be used for burns, headaches, muscle pain, skin healing, relieving stress and promoting relaxation.1

If you suffer from pregnancy headaches or migraines, you can use lavender essential oil to relieve tension and pain. To create your own compress, soak a washcloth in cold or hot water mixed with lavender essential oil and apply to the forehead or neck. Alternatively, add 2 to 4 drops of lavender essential oil to a diffuser and let circulate.

Eucalyptus Oil While Pregnant

One of the benefits of eucalyptus oil is its ability to help relieve many cold symptoms. But is eucalyptus oil safe during pregnancy? Current data suggests that this oil can be used safely during pregnancy. Eucalyptus essential oil can be used to treat congestion, clear the sinuses and provide pain relief.1

To use eucalyptus essential oil for pregnant women, combine 1-3 drops of the oil with a carrier oil and pour into the bath. Inhaling the oil will promote relaxation while helping to clear up any respiratory problems.

Ylang Ylang and Pregnancy

Ylang Ylang essential oil’s benefits include increasing relaxation, and an ability to improve hormonal mood swings. With ylang ylang, pregnancy mood swings can be controlled as the oil helps to improve feelings of anxiety and irritability.1 A 2006 study found that when applied topically, ylang ylang essential oil can help individuals to feel more calm and at ease.

By using ylang ylang essential oil, pregnancy side effects can be made more comfortable. Add 5-8 drops of ylang ylang essential oil into a hot bath to improve your mood and create a calm environment, or add 5 drops to a diffuser with water and let circulate. 

Bergamot Oil Pregnancy

Bergamot essential oil provides a fresh and citrusy scent that is known to elevate moods and combat depression, making it a great choice for pregnant women.1  A recent study found that inhaling diluted bergamot essential oil reduced vascular tension in test subjects, relieving stress and relaxing the smooth muscle tissue in arteries.

Use during pregnancy to promote well-being and relaxation by mixing 3-4 drops of bergamot essential oil with water in a diffuser and let circulate. To relieve tired, achy muscles, add 3 drops of bergamot essential oil and 3 drops of lavender essential oil to a carrier oil and pour into the bath before stepping in.

Can You Use Frankincense While Pregnant?

Frankincense essential oil has many benefits and has been used during pregnancy to maintain and promote healthy skin. It can help treat minor blemishes, soothe dry skin and even heal wounds. Because of its ability to maintain healthy skin, frankincense is one of the essential oils for stretch marks during pregnancy. While many women have used this oil safely, there are conflicting opinions, and you should always consult with a qualified professional before using frankincense essential oil while pregnant.

If your physician has confirmed you can safely use this oil, mix 2-3 drops of frankincense essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice and massage into the back, stretch marks or use this mixture for a perineal massage. One of the best essential oils for perineal massage is frankincense. This type of massage stimulates the woman’s perineum, located between the vagina and anus, and is usually performed 4-6 weeks before childbirth to increase flexibility of the skin. 

Orange Essential Oil Pregnancy

Orange essential oil can be used by pregnant women to overcome feelings of anxiety or stress and improving negative moods.1

Use orange essential oil by directly inhaling whenever needed, or put 2 drops into a diffuser with water and let the sweet smell fill the room. To relax sore muscles, combine 3 drops with 1 Tbsp of carrier oil and massage into affected areas.

Lemon Oil Pregnancy

Lemon essential oil’s benefits make it very popular among pregnant women. Lemon essential oil can be used to reduce nausea and stress levels. A recent study found that pregnant women who inhaled lemon essential oil reported a reduction in nausea and vomiting on two days of a four day study, compared to those who inhaled a placebo.

With nausea and vomiting being a very common complaint among pregnant women, lemon essential oil can help alleviate symptoms and provide temporary relief.Simply inhale the scent directly from the bottle whenever a wave of nausea passes through.   

Ginger Essential Oil Pregnancy

One of the best essential oils for nausea during pregnancy, ginger has been used since ancient times to help relieve an upset stomach.4 A 2012 study discovered that a benefit of ginger essential oil is its ability to lessen the frequency and severity of nausea through inhalation.

Add 2-5 drops of ginger essential oil to a diffuser with water and let circulate to help improve feelings of nausea. Ginger essential oil can also provide pain relief for sore knees or lower back pain. Mix 1 drop of ginger essential oil and orange essential oil with 2 Tbsp. of carrier oil and apply to sore muscles or achy joints.

Chamomile Oil Pregnancy

Known for being a natural sleep aid, chamomile essential oil’s benefits can safely be harnessed during pregnancy. The oil can help relieve bloating and gas, improve the appearance of skin, and improve sleep quality.

Combine 4 drops of chamomile essential oil with 3 drops of lavender essential oil and add to running water for a stress-relieving bath. For topical use, add 4 drops of chamomile essential oil to 1 Tbsp. of sweet almond carrier oil and massage over the body. For women suffering from bloating or gas, the mixture can be concentrated on the abdomen.

Is Lemongrass Essential Oil Safe During Pregnancy?

One of the top benefits of lemongrass essential oil is its natural anti-inflammatory ability, which can be useful for aches and pains. By using lemongrass essential oil, pregnancy symptoms like lower back pain can be reduced through topical application. While many women have used this oil during pregnancy without any adverse effects, some believe that it is not safe for use during pregnancy.5 Consult with a physician before using lemongrass, or any other essential oil while pregnant.

Rose Essential Oil Pregnancy

Another oil with a delicate floral scent, there are many benefits of rose essential oil. This oil is known to revitalize the skin, reduce stress and increase relaxation, making it a great choice for pregnant women.

Mix 2-3 drops with water in a diffuser and let fill the room. Or, use topically by combining 2 drops with 1 Tbsp. of carrier oil and massage over the skin.

essential oils for pregnancy and what oils to avoid when pregnant

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

It’s important to be aware of what essential oils are bad for pregnancy. Even though many essential oils are safe to use, pregnant women should note that there are certain essential oils to avoid when pregnant.

Essential Oil Experts has compiled a list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy. Read below to find out what aromatherapy oils to avoid when pregnant and why.

Basil essential oil and pregnancy

Basil essential oil has earned the nickname ‘king of the herbs’ due to the popularity of its fragrant leaves. However, basil is one of the essential oils to avoid while pregnant as it contains high amounts of methyl chavicol that has psychoactive effects, which alters brain function and causes changes in mood and behavior.1

Clove essential oil and pregnancy

Clove essential oil is created by harvesting and distilling the unopened flower buds from a tree in the Myrtaceae family. Clove is another one of the essential oils not to use during pregnancy as it is believed to cause uterine contractions.

Peppermint essential oil pregnancy

Many women ask, can you use peppermint oil when pregnant? There is some controversy regarding whether or not peppermint oil is safe during pregnancy. It is recommended that this oil be avoided by pregnant women, especially during the first trimester.2

Is geranium oil safe during pregnancy?

Some believe that geranium oil is not safe to use during pregnancy and is best used before labor or during the postpartum period.Instead of during pregnancy, reap the benefits of geranium essential oil during labor.

In one study, two drops of geranium essential oil were placed on a piece of fabric and attached to a patient’s collar before labor. The results found that anxiety was decreased, and the women experienced a significant drop in blood pressure during labor.

Clary sage oil during pregnancy

Historically, this essential oil has been used to address issues with the uterus and womb. It is not recommended that pregnant women use clary sage essential oil during pregnancy, but it can be used during child birth.With clary sage essential oil, pregnancy pain or contractions can be reduced by using the oil during labor. Clary sage essential oil has a natural ability to provide pain relief, reduce muscle cramping, and reduce stress. 

Rosemary essential oil and pregnancy

Many may wonder is rosemary oil safe during pregnancy as it is believed to increase blood pressure.  For this reason, it is recommended that you do not use rosemary essential oil during pregnancy.1 When using rosemary essential oil, pregnancy contractions can be induced which is not safe.

Jasmine essential oil and pregnancy

Jasmine is known for its pleasant smell, and is derived from the flowering shrub of the Oleaceae family. It is among the oils not to use during pregnancy as it is known to cause uterine contractions. It is important to note that jasmine essential oil can be used when labor is already underway, but should never be used to induce labor.1 

Thyme essential oil and pregnancy

Thyme belongs to the Lamiaceae family and is originally from the Mediterranean. There are several variations including creeping thyme, mountain thyme, or wild thyme. Thyme essential oil should be avoided during pregnancy as it can cause elevated blood pressure.1

Myrrh essential oil and pregnancy

Myrrh essential oil is made by steam distilling the gum resin of the Commiphora genus. The use of this essential oil dates back to biblical times, however it is another one of the essential oils not to use when pregnant as it is also thought to bring on uterine contractions for women.

Cinnamon essential oil and pregnancy

Known for its spicy flavor, cinnamon essential oil is derived from the tree’s bark and originates from Sri Lanka, India and Burma. Cinnamon essential oil can cause uterine contractions in pregnant women and should be avoided throughout pregnancy.

Nutmeg essential oil and pregnancy

Nutmeg essential oil is taken from the fruit of the nutmeg tree, and is originally from the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. Nutmeg should be avoided during pregnancy as it can cause nausea, and increase heart rate.1

Scientific Research Referenced in this Article

  1. Clark, D. (2015). Aromatherapy and Herbal Remedies for Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=dFVjCgAAQBAJ&dq=essential+oils+and+pregnancy+book&source=gbs_navlinks_s – View reference
  2. Fahmy, D. (2012) Aromatherapy and the Expectant Mom: A Women’s Guide to the Best Essential Oils for a Holistic Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=jSpfDQAAQBAJ&dq=peppermint+essential+oil+during+pregnancy&source=gbs_navlinks_s – View reference
  3. Yavari kia, P., Safajou, F., Shahnazi, M., & Nazemiyeh, H. (2014). The Effect of Lemon Inhalation Aromatherapy on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal16(3), e14360. http://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.14360
  4. Lete, I., & Allué, J. (2016). The Effectiveness of Ginger in the Prevention of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and Chemotherapy. Integrative Medicine Insights11, 11–17. http://doi.org/10.4137/IMI.S36273
  5. Young, K. (2017) The Healing Art of Essential Oils. Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=MeCqDQAAQBAJ&dq=lemongrass+essential+oil+and+pregnancy&source=gbs_navlinks_s – View reference
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