Pregnancy is a time when you experience a lot of new symptoms, your body acts in inexplicable ways, and there is little you can do about it. If you are a fan of essential oils, you might think that the solution to the constant headaches and back pains might be your favorite oil. But did you know that there are several essential oils to avoid during pregnancy?
You’d be surprised to learn that some of the oils that you find relaxing will have an unwanted effect if you’re pregnant. So, I compiled a list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy to help you avoid any unpleasant side effects.
List of Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy
While there are oils that can be quite calming during pregnancy, there are some other essential oils that can have the opposite effect. Furthermore, there are oils that can even induce contractions (such as thuja and myrrh), and it’s best to stay away from them in order to avoid any complications. So, here are 56 essential oils to avoid during pregnancy:
Toxic Essential Oils
• Bitter almond — toxic (contains cyanide).
• Boldo leaves — can cause convulsions and it’s extremely toxic.
• Buchu — diuretic, could potentially cause liver damage.
• Calamus — can cause convulsions and hallucinations.
• Camphor — can cause convulsions, toxic.
• Fennel (bitter) — it is toxic, can cause a spontaneous abortion.
• Horseradish — it is toxic.
• Jaborandi leaf — it is toxic.
• Mugwort — quite dangerous, it is considered a neurotoxin.
• Mustard — it is toxic, it can cause inflammation.
• Nightshade — it is toxic.
• Pennyroyal — it is extremely toxic, can damage the liver and lungs (even in small doses).
• Rue — it is toxic, can burn and irritate the skin.
• Sassafras — it is toxic, can be lethal.
• Savin — it is toxic.
• Savory — can cause a toxic reaction.
• Southernwood — it is toxic.
• Tansy — it is toxic, can be lethal.
• Turmeric — it is toxic.
• Wintergreen — it is toxic, can be lethal.
• Wormseed — it is toxic.
• Wormwood — it is toxic.
Essential Oils that Irritate the Skin
• Aniseed — it slows down circulation and the high anethole content can cause dermatitis.
• Basil — could possibly cause irritations.
• Bay — can cause skin irritation.
• Birch — can cause irritations during pregnancy.
• Black pepper — it can cause sensitive skin.
• Cassia — it’s a dermal irritant, can cause sensitive skin.
• Clove — can cause skin irritation.
• Cumin — can cause skin irritation.
• Elecampane — can cause sensitive skin.
• Lemongrass — can cause skin irritation.
• Lemon verbena — can cause skin irritation.
• Melissa (lemon balm essential oil) — can irritate very sensitive skin.
• Oregano — can cause irritation.
• Pine — can cause irritation or allergic skin reactions.
• Tagetes (French marigold) — can cause skin irritation, has emmenagogue properties (stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area and the uterus).
Emmenagogue Essential Oils
• Cedarwood — has emmenagogue properties.
• Cinnamon — has emmenagogue properties and it can irritate skin.
• Clary sage — has emmenagogue properties and can induce headaches.
• Damask rose — has emmenagogue properties, tones the uterus, has a laxative effect.
• Fennel (sweet) — can have a narcotic effect and contains high levels of trans-anethole, has emmenagogue properties.
• Hyssop — has emmenagogue properties and can be toxic.
• Jasmine — has emmenagogue properties.
• Juniper, juniper berry — it can stimulate the uterine muscle, has emmenagogue properties.
• Marjoram (sweet) — has emmenagogue properties.
• Myrrh — it can stimulate the uterine muscle, has emmenagogue properties.
• Nutmeg — it can stimulate contractions, has emmenagogue properties.
• Parsley seed — has emmenagogue properties.
• Peppermint — has emmenagogue properties, can stop milk flow.
• Rosemary — has emmenagogue properties.
• Sage — has emmenagogue properties, it is somewhat toxic.
• Tea tree — can cause skin irritation, contact dermatitis.
• Thuja — it can stimulate uterine contractions and cause a spontaneous abortion.
• Thyme — it can stimulate secretory systems.
These are a few of my suggested essential oils to avoid during pregnancy. Keep in mind that if you are normally allergic or sensitive to a specific essential oil, you should avoid it at all costs.
5 Essential Oils That Are Safe to Use During Pregnancy
Don’t worry; not all essential oils are toxic, irritant, or emmenagogic. Some oils will even help relieve pain, relax you, and combat morning sickness. These are 5 oils that are safe to use during pregnancy:
• Camomile — works against an upset stomach, relaxing.
• Frankincense — relaxing, helps relieve muscle pain.
• Ginger — helps with morning sickness and nausea.
• Geranium — helps with irritation and swelling.
• Lavender — relaxing, helps you get a good night’s sleep, relieves nausea.
While these oils are safe to use during pregnancy, you should still consult your obstetrician or gynecologist before buying any of them. Keep in mind that during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy, you should avoid using any essential oils. The reason for that is that they could cause uterine contractions.
The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists’ Pregnancy Guidelines has an extremely useful list of essential oils that could help with various pregnancy ailments. There’s additional information about the correct use of oils during pregnancy, so make sure you take a look.
Consult With Your OB-GYN
While there are quite a few essential oils to avoid during pregnancy, there are still some really beneficial ones that can help relieve pain, stress, and morning sickness. However, always consult with your medical professional before using any of them, as pregnancy is unique to each woman.
While a certain essential oil could benefit a friend or acquaintance, it might not have the same effect on you. So, make sure that you follow whatever medical advice you receive.
Essential oils and aromatherapy have many benefits, but since everyone’s body is unique, you should be extra careful before using them. Check if they are safe to use, and remember to stay away from the 56 essential oils to avoid during pregnancy that I listed above.