Essential Oils in Pregnancy – Safety, Benefits and Precautions

Essential oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated oils that are used for various purposes such as fragrance, health benefits, for skin care and a lot more.



Although essential oils are completely natural, some women are hesitant to use them during pregnancy because the oils are very strong. Most aromatherapists say that when you are pregnant, it is safe to use some essential oils as long as you are mindful of how much and for what purpose you are using them. However, there are counter-arguments to this as well.





So, let us look into the essential oils that are safe for pregnant women and also a few tips and advice for using them for very specific reasons.

What is Essential Oil?

Essential oil

Essential oils are concentrated oils that are extracted from plants leaves, herbs and other materials. It is extracted through a process of cold pressing or steam distillation. The essential oil is highly concentrated. It is typically diffused, applied topically, inhaled, massaged and added to food as well. The lovely aroma of the oil works wonders for soothing and relaxing the body and mind.




How does it Work?

Essential oils work the way medicine work in the body. The molecules of the concentrated oil are very small and can reach the infant’s circulation. Since they are concentrated forms of oil, just use a drop or two. For pregnant women, it is said that the oils will take some time to work as they have fatty layers in their body and this slows down the process.

Are Essential Oils Safe to Use during Pregnancy?

Essential Oils are safe for pregnant women after the first trimester. Some women take it before as well. There are talks about how oils could reach the baby through the placenta. However, these are not researched facts, and there are no cases of such incidents that have been recorded.





However, if you want to use it before your first trimester, it is advisable to consult an aromatherapist who treats pregnant women. Even after your first trimester, it is good to be aware of what you are using as some oils should best be avoided.

Benefits of Using Essential Oils during Pregnancy

Essential Oils if used appropriately in the right proportion can be used to help you through various pregnancy symptoms. Essential oils have quite a few uses and can be a relief during your stressful pregnancy days. However, just be sure of how and which oil to use. Some options that you could follow are here:




  1. Nausea: Some essential oils for nausea during pregnancy are Massage Lavender, Sandalwood or ginger diffuser.
  2. Aids Digestion: Essential oils such as peppermint oil can help alleviate heartburn and other digestion related ailments. It can be either massaged onto the belly or consumed with honey after a meal.
  3. Detox: Oils such as lemon oil help in flushing out all the toxins and extra stomach acids out of your system.
  4. Bloating: A common ailment that pregnant women have to deal with, essential oils like ginger can help reducing that feeling of bloating as it helps calm the stomach.
  5. Insomnia: Essential oils like Ylang Ylang and Bergamot help relaxes the mind and avoids overthinking which can lead to sleeplessness.
  6. Reduces Anxiety: Essential oils like Basil helps to regulate cortisol which is responsible for stress.
  7. Reduces Depression: Essential oils like Myrtle oil are known to help stimulate the thyroid gland and reduce any hormonal imbalance.
  8. Bathroom Cleaning Agent: Oils such as pine are yeast killers and can help clear out any moulds that may be present in the bathroom.
  9. Dishwashing Liquid: Thyme is a powerful germicide and can be used to clean utensils, especially those that have been in contact with raw meat.
  10. Air Freshener: Most essential oils such as lavender and lemongrass, when burnt can help give out an aromatic smell.

List of Oils that are Safe for Pregnant Women

Some essential oils are proven to be extremely safe for pregnant women as long as there are no complications in the pregnancy However, don’t overuse any of them. Make sure to dilute the oils using one or two drops.

Here’s a list of pregnancy essential oils that are safe to use:





  • Geranium: bitter orange is oil which will help you with water retention.
  • Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia): If you have constant body aches and pains, you can blend ginger and lavender with massage oil to apply on your body. This is great for pain relief.
  • Cypress: Cypress is a great comfort if you are struggling with varicose veins and swollen ankles.
  • German camomile: If you are struggling with a painful backache, chamomile massage is the essential oil to pick.
  • Common lavender: The essential oil of lavender is such a great stress relief that you would not want to let it go during your pregnancy. Diluted lavender essential oil is a safe choice for a weekly bath. It can also be used once in a week in a diffuser to help ease of pregnancy stress.
  • Frankincense: This essential oil is used by women to reduce stretch marks in the body.
  • Sweet orange: Sweet Orange (Orange Sinensis) essential oil is used to keep your body energetic during your tiring days of pregnancy. The oil is mixed with ginger to help ease of nausea and indigestion. However, it is good to avoid this oil if you are planning to get out in the sun.
  • Sweet marjoram: This one is beneficial to women who struggle with frequent urination.
  • Tea tree oil (not in labour)
  • Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil can be used to help with congestion. It is also used as an antiviral and anti-inflammatory.
  • Neroli: This essential oil helps in relieving pregnant women from anxiety and stress.

When to Avoid Essential Oils?

  • It is best to avoid all essential oils in the first trimester. This is the time when your baby is growing and has a highly sensitive body.
  • Some essential oils can lead to abortions, and so it is very important to watch out for them. Always consult your aromatherapist before you use an oil that you are not sure of.
  • Avoid applying essential oils especially when you step out in the sun.
  • Avoid essential oils that have been stored in plastic for too long.
  • Avoid using essential oils if you are a thyroid patient.
  • If you have a history of miscarriage, it is safe to avoid essential oils.
  • If you have complications such as vaginal bleeding, you must avoid essential oils as there are chances for it to cause complications.
  • Don’t use oils that are old, rather make sure to buy oils that are new and recently manufactured.

List of Oils to Avoid during Pregnancy

Some essential oils can complicate pregnancy and should be avoided. Also, there are some oils that we are not very sure of and so it better to avoid them as well. If you are a looking to study which essential oils to avoid during pregnancy. Here are some of them:

  • Fennel
  • Clary Sage
  • Marjoram
  • Cinnamon
  • Thuja
  • Mugwort
  • Birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Camphor
  • Hyssop
  • Aniseed
  • Tansy
  • Wormwood

Precautions to be Taken while Using the Oil

There are various claims and myths regarding the use of essential oils when pregnant. Although it is quite sure that you don’t have to avoid them completely, one thing you can do is play it safe. Take advantage of the amazing benefits of essential oils but at the same time make sure you prevent any sort of risks. Here are things to be mindful of when using essential oils.




  • Essential oils are usually quite strong and can cause problems, and so it is important to dilute the concentration before using it.
  • Using essential oils for more than an hour can sometimes lead to side effects like nausea, vertigo, lethargy, and headaches.
  • It is important to check the quality of essential oils. At times, oils are adulterated, and this can lead to adverse effects. Make it a practice to do a quality check before you use your oils.
  • Some oils contain phenols and aldehydes which can have effects on your sin. Hence, dilute it well before applying it.
  • Applying essential oil on the damaged skin can also lead to reactions.
  • Do not use essential oils every day
  • Make sure you don’t use it directly on your skin. Since essential oils are concentrated, it could lead to skin problems.

Essential Oil for Pregnancy Myths

  • Frankincense is said to be abortifacient. But there is no study or research that proves this point.
  • Always consult your Gynaecologist or midwife in order to use the oils while pregnant.
  • Essential oils for pregnancy births and babies are absolutely safe. This statement is quite flawed because it is obvious that essential oils can be too strong on sensitive baby skin.
  • Use essential oils in the process of childbirth. Well, this could work if your delivery is happening at home. However, if you are going to the hospital, please avoid these techniques as it could mess with the methods and equipment that the doctors have to follow.

The use of essential oils during pregnancy is highly debatable. While there are numerous articles, blogs and websites that talk about the safety and risks of essential oils, there is no substantial research done to prove this point. Most of these statements seem to have stemmed out of experience, myths or internet research. Hence, we cannot be 100% accurate about the safety of essential oils during pregnancy times.

So, boiling down to the simple question, can you use essential oils while pregnant?





Yes, some essential oils are safe for pregnancy, albeit you have to be attentive to how much, when and why you are using them.

It is wise to be on the safer side and not risk your pregnancy process. If you really want to use oils during your pregnancy, please be sure that it is safe to use it during this time of life.




During your pregnancy, there are quite a few restrictions that you will have to keep in mind. At times it can be frustrating as you really don’t want to set too many boundaries in your lifestyle. Of course, it is a challenging period however, remember that taking care of your body during these nine months is very crucial for both yours and your baby’s wellbeing. This means you have to make a few sacrifices and avoid taking risks during this time.