Pregnancy—a time of excitement, anticipation, and…aromas? That’s right, folks! As the belly grows and the body changes, some expecting mothers turn to essential oils for a whiff of relaxation amidst the chaos. But hold on, can these delightful concoctions truly be safe during this magical journey? In this article, we delve into the aromatic world of essential oils to uncover the truth behind their pregnancy compatibility. So, grab a cup of chamomile tea, put your feet up, and let’s sniff out the facts together!
Are Essential Oils Safe During Pregnancy?
There are many questions about whether essential oils are safe during pregnancy. Pregnant women need to be very careful of what they put in their bodies that might affect the developing fetus inside them. So are essential oils safe during pregnancy?
To answer that question we first need to look at how the essential oils are being used. Essential oils can be used in aromatherapy for inhalation, as with a diffuser device. They can also be mixed with a carrier oil and used in massage. They can also be present in homemade products such as cleaning agents, bath salts, deodorants, and hand soaps.
When I need to seek a reference on the safety of any essential oil I pull out my tablet and open up what is considered the definitive text on essential oils safety. The book “Essential Oil Safety” by Tisserand and Young lists the active components of essential oils as well as the cautions associated with each. One of the cautions listed when it is appropriate is the caution to avoid during pregnancy. Many essential oils have this caution listed.
Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy
Below is a list of the most popular essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy:
- Holy Basil
- Bay Laurel
- Cedarwood Atlas
- Clary Sage
- Rose Otto- during the first trimester
- Thyme- isn’t specifically listed for pregnancy but should avoid with high blood pressure
Note that this list is by no means a complete list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy. These are just the most popular oils in use that have specific warnings against use during pregnancy.
Some of the oils contain biochemicals that could stimulate menstruation and others can affect hormone levels. Neither of these effects is something you want to subject yourself and your unborn baby to.
Essential Oils Considered Safe
So does that mean there are no essential oils that are safe to use during pregnancy? Not at all. Lavender is a very mild essential oil that can be helpful to allow you to relax and get the rest you need. None of the popular citrus oils have cautions against use during pregnancy. However, if you use them on the skin you need to avoid the sun for at least 24 hours, as most of them are phototoxic. This means they make your skin sensitive to light and can cause you to severely burn if exposed to UV rays. I have also seen instances where someone got splashed in the face with a phototoxic oil and then noticed her face burning while sitting close to a fire. She ended up with a burn and blisters from the exposure. This is just a caution to use these oils safely whether you are pregnant or not.
Do Your Own Research
So to answer the question “Are essential oils safe in pregnancy?”, I would advise that you research any essential oils you want to use during pregnancy. I also would ask you to please avoid the essential oils listed above to prevent any problems. Most of all, I would advise that you discuss any use of essential oils with your OB/GYN before you use them. Your doctor can advise you if they think the oils will be safe for you and your unborn baby. They can also advise if there might be a chance of drug interactions that might also happen.
If your doctor advises you to avoid them, I would store them in a cool dark place until after your pregnancy. Most oils will store for up to 2 years in a cool, dark place. Some oils, especially the oils made from tree resins, actually get better with age and can last up to five years. These include oils like Frankincense and Myrrh. Just keep them tightly sealed to avoid oxidation.
I hope this answers the question “Are essential oils safe in pregnancy”. Please consult your doctor and keep yourself and your unborn baby safe.
Navigating the world of essential oils during pregnancy requires caution and knowledge. While some oils can offer benefits like relaxation and relief from common pregnancy discomforts, it is essential to prioritize safety. Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any essential oils during this precious time. Understand the potential risks, opt for diluted versions, and avoid certain oils altogether. With the right information and guidance, you can enjoy the aromatic journey of essential oils while keeping you and your baby safe.
Q: Can you diffuse essential oils while pregnant?
A: Diffusing essential oils during pregnancy is generally safe, as long as you use them in moderation and ensure proper ventilation. However, it’s essential to be cautious with strong or stimulating oils, as they may cause discomfort or adverse reactions. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine which oils are safe for you and your specific pregnancy needs.
Q: Can essential oils cross the placenta?
A: Yes, certain components of essential oils have the ability to cross the placenta and reach the developing fetus. This is why it’s crucial to use essential oils cautiously during pregnancy. While some oils are considered safe, others should be avoided or used in highly diluted forms to minimize potential risks to the baby’s health. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.
Q: Is eucalyptus oil safe during pregnancy?
A: Eucalyptus oil can be used with caution during pregnancy. However, it is recommended to use it in moderation and well-diluted. Some pregnant individuals may find the strong aroma overwhelming, so it’s important to listen to your body and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur. As always, consult with your healthcare provider before using eucalyptus oil or any other essential oils during pregnancy.
Q: Is tea tree oil safe during pregnancy?
A: Tea tree oil is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy when properly diluted. However, due to its potency, it is advised to use it sparingly and in low concentrations. Some individuals may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions, so it’s best to perform a patch test before applying it topically. If you have any concerns, consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.
Q: What oils should you not diffuse when pregnant?
A: It is recommended to avoid diffusing the following essential oils during pregnancy: cinnamon, clove, rosemary, basil, sage, thyme, and oregano. These oils have properties that may stimulate contractions or have potential toxicity. It’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider for a comprehensive list of oils to avoid during pregnancy.
Q: Which essential oil is not good for pregnancy?
A: There isn’t a single essential oil that universally applies as “not good” for pregnancy. However, some oils, such as clary sage and jasmine, are known to have emmenagogue properties, which means they may stimulate the uterus and potentially induce contractions. It’s important to research and consult with your healthcare provider to determine which oils are safe and appropriate for your specific pregnancy.
Q: What essential oils should be avoided in the first trimester?
A: It is generally recommended to err on the side of caution and avoid using essential oils during the first trimester of pregnancy. This is a critical period of fetal development, and while some oils may be considered safe, it’s best to minimize exposure to any potential risks. If you require essential oils for specific reasons, consult with your healthcare provider for personalized guidance.
Q: Why is peppermint essential oil unsafe for pregnancy?
A: Peppermint essential oil is considered unsafe for pregnancy due to its potential to relax the smooth muscles, including those in the uterus. This can increase the risk of miscarriage or premature labor. It’s advisable to avoid using peppermint oil, especially during the first trimester. Instead, opt for safer alternatives for relief from common pregnancy discomforts.
Q: Why avoid rosemary essential oil during pregnancy?
A: Rosemary essential oil is advised to be avoided during pregnancy due to its emmenagogue properties, which can stimulate the uterus and potentially induce contractions. High doses of rosemary oil may also have neurotoxic effects. It’s best to steer clear of rosemary oil during pregnancy and consult with your healthcare provider for suitable alternatives.