Is Aromatherapy Safe in Pregnancy?

6:00 AM Posted by jo

A question that often comes up is if aromatherapy is safe for pregnant women. Essential oils can provide many benefits for pregnancy. An aromatherapy treatment may reduce stress and ease discomfort  felt during pregnancy. Essential oils can  provide a positive and relaxing feeling for the expecting mother.

There are some things that needs to be taken into consideration though.
Essential oils should not be administered topically, including baths, orally, or vaginally before 24th week of pregnancy. If the oil is not contraindicated, it may be used in a diffuser.

Only a 2% dilution should be used when pregnant. Check out the dilution chart to make sure you know what is safe for you.

Any oil that is considered toxic is contraindicated to mother or fetus. All oils with high thujone, pulegone, menthol or apiol content should be avoided during pregnancy. Avoid oils that have hormone like actions.

Essential oils that may demonstrate hormone like actions are aniseed, basil, cypress, Roman Chamomile, fennel, geranium, nutmeg, and clary sage (Tisserand  recently questioned clary sage's hormonal activity) shall be avoided.

However, some of these oils are suggested for certain conditions by experts like Wormood, Battaglia and Cooksley. For example, Roman Chamomile and geranium shall be avoided in the first trimester but can be used later on in the pregnancy. This include using the oils in a diffuser. Clary Sage is an uterine tonic, and Battaglia lists it as one of the oils to use for the delivery room.

Cypress oil is also recommended by Worwood and Battaglia for certain conditions. I feel it is best to leave cypress alone, unless you are following a recipe or recommendation by someone who knows their oils.

You will come across different suggestions of what is suitable or not for pregnancy once you read more sources. I prefer to take a more conservative approach when I share advice. 

Here is some suggestions regarding what oils to use or not to use.  If the essential oil is not mentioned here, it is probably best to  avoid unless suggested by a professional.

My List of  Oils  to Use 
Tangerine, mandarin, grapefruit, geranium (avoid first trimester), Roman Chamomile (avoid first trimester), jasmine, lavender, lemon, neroli, orange, patchouli, sandalwood, bergamot, ylang ylang (According to Cooksley and Worwood).

Use With Caution
According to Cooksley caraway, cypress, juniper, lavender,  rose, rosemary (avoid first trimester) and peppermint ( avoid first trimester) can be used with caution.

Oils to Avoid
Cinnamon, basil, black pepper, bay leaf, anise, clove bud and leaf, ginger, oregano, Immortelle (Helichrysum), elecampane, citronella, fennel bitter, birch, Cedarwood Atlas, marjoram, lemon balm, hyssop, clary sage, myrrh, pennyroyal, sage, rue, parsley seed, camphor, bay leaf, garlic, pine, Rose Attar, wintergreen, thyme, tansy, sassafras, wormwood, mugwort, cypress, thuja, pennyroyal and nutmeg.

As always, you want to check out my safety page to make sure of the safety and contraindications. There are certain conditions where some oils shouldn't be used. Also, check with your physician to make sure aromatherapy is safe for you.

Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. AlsoRead this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide. 


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

This post is linked up to:
  Eco-Kids Tuesday

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