Pregnancy is an exciting and delicate time for both mom and baby. Essential oils can be incredibly helpful at relieving symptoms such as nausea, back aches, itching, and fatigue. Since essential oils go into the blood stream and have the ability to cross the placenta, it is important to take extra precautions with using essential oils during pregnancy.
THE FIRST TRIMESTER
So much is happening the first trimester in the bodies of both the mom and the baby. The embryo created by an egg and sperm firmly attaches itself to the uterus and multiples thousands of times!
Essential oils are potent and many chemical constituents are able to cross the placenta. In order not to disturb the delicate growth process of the fetus, it is highly recommended not to use essential oils above a 1% dilution during the first trimester.
Remember: 1% dilution = 5-6 drops of essential oil per 1 oz (30 mL) of carrier oil
If you have experienced difficulty getting pregnant in the past or have any reason for concern, it may be wise to avoid topical use of essential oils altogether during the first trimester.
Essential oils can be used at a 2% dilution during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters only when necessary and for issues that are more severe in nature. Using a 2% dilution to help relieve a back ache would be appropriate.
ODOR PERCEPTIONS DURING PREGNANCY
In the early stages of pregnancy a burst of new olfactory sensory neurons are created, which can cause a heightened sense of smell. Scents that you once loved may now give you a headache or make you feel nauseated.
If you are set on using essential oils during pregnancy for a particular use, it may help to use smaller amounts of oil or to apply the oils away from your face if you notice that you seem to be extra sensitive to scents.
Women who have smell aversions sometimes do better with essential oils that have clean and crisp scents, such as peppermint and citrus oils. Scent aversions often begin to ease for many women in the second and third trimesters.
PEPPERMINT & LACTATION
Many nursing mothers have found that application of peppermint oil to the breasts & nipples causes a reduction of milk production. While there are currently no studies to either prove or disprove this, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that peppermint may have an effect on lactation. You can read more about the study done by The Tisserand Institute here.
Some nursing mothers have even reported a decrease in milk production from eating peppermint candy or drinking peppermint tea. If you are experiencing difficulty producing milk, it might be worth avoiding peppermint oil while breastfeeding.
On the other hand, if you are weaning your child & want to reduce milk production, regular diluted applications of peppermint oil to the breast tissue may help to speed along the process.
NOTE: Essential oils should not be applied to the nipples immediately before breastfeeding to avoid accidental ingestion by the infant.
While essential oils can be very therapeutic for pregnant mothers, it is highly encouraged to follow these precautions:
Only use essential oils when you need them, and use the lowest amount possible to achieve the desired effect.
Casual ingestion during pregnancy is not recommended. Essential oils are highly concentrated, and while the mom may be able to safely metabolize small amounts of ingested oil the baby cannot safely metabolize them.
Application of neat essential oils is not advised during pregnancy.
It's best to completely avoid absolutes, perfumes, & poor-quality or expired oils.
A list of oils to avoid during pregnancy will be shared below. It is also advised to avoid oils that effect blood coagulation like birch, wintergreen, garlic, & onion should during breastfeeding.
OILS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY:
Tea Tree (lemon)
*Clary sage can help to induce labor at the proper moment under the guidance of a trained practitioner.
If you have experienced difficulty getting pregnant in the past or if you or your doctor have concerns about your current pregnancy, it is highly recommended to speak with a health care practitioner trained in the use of essential oils before applying them topically, especially if you are needing to use oils in stronger concentrations.
RECOMMENDED USE OF OILS DURING PREGNANCY:
Lemon, cardamom, ginger, and peppermint have all been shown in published studies to have a positive effect on nausea when used aromatically. Diffuse a few drops in an ultrasonic diffuser or make an aroma inhaler to take with you on the go.
GINGER | LEMON | LEMON & PEPPERMINT | PEPPERMINT | CARDAMOM
Lavender, rose, chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, and frankincense are all excellent oils to offer relief for anxious and stressful feelings that arise with pregnancy. Diffuse a few drops of your oil of choice and breathe deeply of the scent.
LAVENDER | ROSE | YLANG YLANG | BERGAMOT | FRANKINCENSE
Lavender, frankincense, and helichrysum are nourishing to the skin and may help to reduce or prevent stretch marks from forming. Dilute with a carrier oil or unscented lotion and massage daily into the belly or make a DIY body butter. Rosehip oil is one of the best carrier oils to use for this purpose. These oils can also be applied after pregnancy to reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
Lavender and Roman chamomile can both be diffused one hour before bedtime to help calm the mind and body, as well as promote deeper sleep.
Peppermint, helichrysum, marjoram, lavender, Roman chamomile, and ginger can all be diluted and massaged into the back to safely ease backaches during pregnancy. While peppermint essential oil is safe to use during pregnancy, it is highly recommended to keep drops to a minimum in your topical dilutions due to the menthol content.
Many of the essential oils we mentioned we have right here in our shop! If you are in need of replacing or purchasing essential oils, you can find our offerings here: