Essential oils are a wonderful and natural remedy to incorporate into many areas of your life. However, they are potent due to the fact that they are highly concentrated versions of the substances they come from, and therefore should be used only in moderation during pregnancy. In fact, there are some essential oils that should not be used at all.
As with anything else you expose yourself and your baby to during pregnancy, gather information so that you can make a good choice for your situation. For the essential oils that are considered acceptable, always be sure to use pure, high-quality, preferably organic essential oils from a reputable source. Use only one drop at a time, and be sure to dilute in a carrier oil if applying topically.
Here are a few essential oils to stay away from when pregnant. This list is not extensive, and you should research carefully any essential oil that you plan to use. Many of these should also be avoided during breastfeeding, as the baby is thought to be exposed to whatever their nursing mother is exposed to.
Essential Oils That Are Uterine Stimulants
- Rosemary essential oil is a uterine stimulant which may cause contractions, and should be avoided during pregnancy. It can induce menstruation and cause your baby’s fetal sac fluid to become depleted because of its diuretic tendencies. It also has the potential to raise blood pressure.
- Clary sage is another essential oil that can stimulate the uterus, and although it can be used safely during labor by a midwife or other individual who is trained in aromatherapy, it should not be used before your baby’s due date.
- Peppermint essential oil can encourage menstruation and should be used sparingly during pregnancy, and it should be not used around newborns as it may cause respiratory issues for them.
- Citronella is another oil which can stimulate contractions, and deserves special mention due to its popularity as an effective bug repellent.
- Cinnamon leaf and jasmine essential oils are ones that may stimulate contractions, as are the lesser known aniseed, angelica, cumin, thyme and laurel oils.
Essential Oils That May Cause Other Health Issues during Pregnancy
- Sage and rose essential oils may cause uterine bleeding, and should therefore be avoided during pregnancy.
- Basil oil is thought to put unborn babies at risk for abnormal cell development and should be avoided for obvious reasons.
- Juniper can have negative repercussions on the kidneys when used by pregnant women.
- Nutmeg is an essential oil that is not safe to use because it may interact with drugs used at birth for the purpose of pain relief, and the combination may cause hallucinations.
Essential oils can be a wonderful addition to a healthy pregnancy, and in many cases are a preferable choice in comparison to the alternatives. You can add them to vinegar to make safer cleaning products for your home so that you are not exposed to the many chemicals in on-the-shelf products. You can also use them to help yourself relax, and they can be used for first aid and many other things.
They are potent though, and need to be used with knowledge and caution. With a little information about which oils to use and which to avoid, you will be able to find the ones that are safe and right for you and your growing baby.