Tea Tree Oil in Pregnancy – Benefits, Precautions, and Side Effects

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Tea Tree Oil in Pregnancy - Benefits, Precautions, and Side Effects

When you are pregnant, your body undergoes certain changes owing to the fluctuating pregnancy hormones. You may even face certain skin issues during pregnancy because of these hormonal changes and a skin problem can get you down. But what can be done to fight skin issues during pregnancy? Essential oils like tea tree oil can help you combat all your skin problems during pregnancy. The anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antibacterial properties of tea tree oil make it an effective remedy for acne and other skin complications that may arise during pregnancy.

However, pregnant women are likely to go in for herbal remedies believing them to be safer with no side effects as compared to conventional medical treatments. But, blindly following these natural alternatives may not guarantee safety or advantage especially during pregnancy. Therefore, pregnant women need to understand the appropriate use of tea tree oil before beginning to use it.

What is Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil or Melaleuca alternifolia is an essential oil derived from the tea tree. Tea tree oil is known for antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which makes it a common choice for treating skin ailments like acne, warts, scabies, insect bites, fungal or bacterial infections. It offers various benefits for hair and nails as well.

Is It Safe to Use Tea Tree Oil when Pregnant

Yes, it is safe to use tea tree oil when you are pregnant but only if implemented as directed. Essential oils like tea tree oil are extremely concentrated, meaning they are more potent when compared to products available in other forms from the same plant. Therefore, you need to know the correct usage of tea tree oil before you apply it.

Doctors usually recommend that you dilute the tea tree oil before using it. Also, the topical application of tea tree oil as instructed by a professional may be safe to use during pregnancy. Ingestion of tea tree oil when pregnant can prove hazardous for the baby. So, never take it through the mouth. It should also not be used around the mouth.

Experts even suggest that tea tree oil should be used with caution when pregnant, particularly during the first trimester of the pregnancy. Tea tree oil if not used properly can trigger uterine contractions and negatively affect the growing foetus in his initial developmental stages. The risk somewhat reduces during the second and final trimester as the baby develops.

Benefits of Tea Tree Oil for Pregnant Women

Some benefits of tea tree oil for pregnant women are as follows:

  • Tea tree oil for acne during pregnancy can help in balancing oil production and in unclogging the skin’s sebaceous glands.
  • Tea tree oil contains phytocides which may prove beneficial in the treatment of respiratory and nasal infections during pregnancy.
  • Tea tree oil may prove effective in fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria including E. coli, thus protecting pregnant women from falling prey to bladder infections and cold sores.
  • The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil can help you fight fungal infections that cause brittle or discoloured nails during pregnancy.
  • The topical use of tea tree oil while pregnant can also help avert the occurrence of stretch marks.
  • The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil provide relief from the symptoms of haemorrhoids, like swelling, pain and discomfort, during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman with a bottle of oil in her hand

Harmful Effects of Tea Tree Oil

Certain dangers of using tea tree oil during pregnancy are mentioned below:

  • The use of tea tree oil during pregnancy can prompt an allergy in some pregnant women leading to inflammation and skin irritation.
  • Ingestion of tea tree oil during pregnancy can produce substantial toxicity which may cause abdominal pain, inability to walk, confusion, diarrhoea, and even coma.
  • Improper use of tea tree oil during pregnancy can be detrimental for the health of the foetus.
  • Sometimes the topical use of tea tree oil can result in skin drynessrashes, and blisters in some pregnant women.
  • The use of tea tree oil by a pregnant woman with a history of eczema can cause a bad reaction.
  • Tea tree oil can also set off a hormonal imbalance in some women.

Ways Tea Tree Oil Can Be Used During Pregnancy

Mentioned below are some of the ways to use tea tree oil during pregnancy:

  • In the case of nail fungus during pregnancy, you can apply a few drops of concentrated tea tree oil to the affected area twice daily.
  • You can prepare a toner by adding 1.5 ounces of apple cider vinegar, 1.5 ounces of clear water to 6 drops of tea tree oil for glowing skin during pregnancy.
  • You can increase the effectiveness of your face wash by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to it which may help you keep pimples and acne at bay during pregnancy.
  • You can blend tea tree oil in your lotion to ensure smooth and soft skin while pregnant.
  • Tea tree oil shampoo is also an option for pregnant women with a dandruff problem. Add a small measure of tea tree oil to your shampoo for best results.
  • Pregnant women can take aromatic baths by adding 4-5 drops of tea tree oil to their daily bath which may not only promote healthy skin.

Who Should Avoid Using Tea Tree Oil

People with the following conditions may avoid using tea tree oil:

Precautions to Take while Using Tea Tree Oil

Here are some precautions you can take while using tea tree oil:

  • To avoid the incidence of an allergic reaction always do a skin patch test first. Spread some tea tree oil on a small area of your skin and observe for any possible adverse response.
  • Refrain from using tea tree oil in concentrated form. The safe way to use tea tree oil is by diluting it.
  • Bear in mind to note the expiry date when buying a bottle of tea tree oil. Using an expired tea tree oil can be harmful as after expiration the oil starts to hoard cancer-causing substances.
  • Be careful while using tea tree oil through a diffuser in a closed room as it has a pronounced smell which can trigger nausea when pregnant.

Diluting tea tree oil for use during pregnancy is desirable to reduce its potential risks. In case of uncertainty about the correct concentration, refer to a doctor before using tea tree oil who may prescribe a suitable dosage after examining your condition.

Also Read: Castor Oil in Pregnancy for Labour Induction