Are Essential Oils Safe During Pregnancy?

Essential oils are becoming more and more popular for use in pregnancy, birth, and early babyhood. But are they safe? Do they work? And which oils do you use for what?

We address all of these frequently asked questions and more in this blog article.

Are essential oils safe during pregnancy?

First, let's address the elephant in the room. Are oils safe?

To make a very long story short, YES, essential oils are safe for use in pregnancy and beyond. But of course, there are some exceptions to that rule. We'll break those down in a minute. But in our humble opinion, and despite the sensationalized blog posts you may read online, essential oils are overall extremely safe to use during pregnancy and yes, even on children.

Ultimately you need to make your own decisions but in general, if you are an overall healthy person and you listen to your body, you should be able to use essential oils safely and without worry during pregnancy and beyond.

That being said, there are some general guidelines to be aware of when using essential oils while pregnant and here they are:

Safety Tips for Essential Oils Use in Pregnancy:

START OUT SLOW

If you are brand new to essential oils, start slow. Just start by introducing 1 drop of oil to the bottom of your feet and tune in to see how your body reacts. Increase usage slowly over the next few weeks. Essential oils are strong substances that can create a significant (positive) change in the body, but if you’re brand new you want to avoid too much change too fast.

DILUTE.

In general, I recommend to always dilute with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, etc. This will help it absorb more gently into the skin. When you become more comfortable with essential oils you can try applying them “neat” (undiluted).

PHOTOSENSITIVITY.

Never put a citrus oil (lemon, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, bergamot, etc.) onto skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight within the next 12- 48 hours. This can cause a severe sunburn.

QUALITY COUNTS!

As with most thing in life, you get what you pay for. Always use a good quality, therapeutic grade essential oil. It is estimated that 94-96% of oils on the market today are adulterated (diluted or mixed with synthetic chemicals…yuck!). Unfortunately, even though a label might say “100% Pure Therapeutic Grade” it doesn’t have to really mean it actually is 100% pure or therapeutic grade.

There is very little regulation regarding essential oil labeling so it’s essential (pun!) to trust the source of your essential oils. For us at High Country Doulas, we use and trust Young Living Essential Oils. We use these oils on ourselves and on our own families, and these guys are LEGIT!

SOME WOMEN CHOOSE TO AVOID EXCESSIVE USE OF THE FOLLOWING OILS DURING PREGNANCY:

  • Clary Sage, Sage, Idaho Tansy, Hyssop, Fennel, Wintergreen, Myrrh, Nutmeg & Cinnamon

OILS THAT ARE PRETTY UNIVERSALLY REGARDED AS SAFE FOR USE IN PREGNANCY INCLUDE:

  • Peppermint (but may decrease milk flow in postpartum), Lavender, Lemon, Thieves, Peace & Calming, Gentle Babies, Cedarwood, Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit,  Sandalwood, Orange, Ylang Ylang.

It is important to listen to your body because our bodies are smart and know what’s up!  So take these tips into consideration as you are using essential oils and always listen to your body!

Remember, a very small amount goes a very long way. It is also very helpful to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or Young Living’s V-6 oil if you are applying them topically. I just use a small bit of carrier oil and a drop or two of essential oil in the palm of my hand to make it super easy.

Popular recipes and blends during pregnancy

HAPPY TUMMY RECIPES:

  • Peppermint Vitality - Add a drop directly to your tongue or put the oil in your water/tea and drink. or put in capsules.
  • DiGize Essential Oil Blend (from the Young Living Premium Starter Kit) 

IMMUNITY BOOST:

  • Apply Thieves Essential Oil (from the Young Living Premium Starter Kit) to your feet on put in your diffuser.
  • Sleep next to a diffuser with Oregano, Thieves, and Rosemary essential oil

HAPPY HIPS:

  • Rub Copaiba, Peppermint, and Idaho Balsam Fir essential oil over hips mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.

MOOD SWINGS:

  • Frankincense Essential Oil - rub over your ears and wrist and/or place in your diffuser.
  • Stress Away Blend (from the Young Living Premium Starter Kit) 
  • Citrus oils like orange, grapefruit, lemon, bergamot. try mixing with some lavender. 

STRETCH MARK DEFENSE:

  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 4 tbls of cocoa butter, 4 tsps sweet almond oil, 6-8 drops each of Frankincense, Lavender, and Young Living's Gentle Babies blend.

BETTER SLEEP:

  • Mix 3 drops Lavender, 3 drops Cedarwood, and 1 drop Vetiver Essential oils into your diffuser at night
  • Peace and Calming blend from Young Living

HEARTBURN:

  • Mix Peppermint, Digize, and a carrier oil of your choosing 
  • Rub over stomach around lower abdomen 

HELPFUL OILS FOR LABOR & BIRTH:

  • Avoid lavender during early labor (can slow down early labor)
  • Clary Sage and Myrrh (strengthen contractions and stimulate the uterus) - apply to inner ankles and on lower abdomen
  • Jasmine- inhale aromatically to encourage labor to start
  • Wintergreen for relaxing muscles in labor
  • Stress Away blend from Young Living - apply to neck and/or diffuser
  • Valor blend from Young Living for courage and balanced emotions - put a drop on your heart and wrist or in your diffuser