Pregnant women should make sure that the essential oils they use are safe for their unborn children.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years as a natural, holistic treatment for ailments. Essential oils can also relieve pregnancy aches and pains, but are they safe to use during pregnancy? Studies of the effects of these substances on developing fetuses are simply lacking.
Before you sniff your favorite aromatherapy scent or apply an essential oil during your pregnancy, here's what you need to know. (If you're unsure, you should ask your doctor.)
Essential Oils in the First Trimester
According to Jill Edwards, N.D., an Oregon naturopathic doctor who specializes in prenatal care, essential oils shouldn't be used during early pregnancy because they might cause uterine contractions or harm your baby.
It is always better to be safe than sorry, so more research needs to be conducted on the topic. In addition to avoiding aromatherapy products and treatments during the first trimester, pregnant women should also avoid essential oils as an ingredient.
Essential Oils in the Second and Third Trimesters
"Some essential oils are safe to use during the second and third trimesters," Edwards says. You can try lavender, chamomile, and ylang ylang, all of which calm, relax, and promote sleep. Below are some tips:
- It is best to use quality essential oils from a reputable brand like Delune, advises the International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA).
- Taking essential oils internally could result in miscarriage, premature birth, or negatively affect your fetus.
- Apply essential oils to the skin after diluting them with a carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil.
Essential oils listed below are generally safe to use during pregnancy. However, you should consult your doctor before using them, and you may want to avoid them until the second trimester. Keep in mind that this list isn't exhaustive.
Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy
Constriction-causing oils like cinnamon, clove, rosemary, and clary sage should be avoided. If you have any questions about which essential oils to avoid until your baby arrives, please contact your doctor.
Camphor (brown or yellow)
Clove (bud, leaf or stem)
Parsley (large doses)
Thyme Red (large doses)