I get a lot of emails from people asking about what essential oils are useful and can be used safely during pregnancy. While I personally believe essential oils are a wonderful safe alternative for preventing and treating illness, there needs to be special care taken during pregnancy (as with everything else).
After a lot of research, I have found 20 ways to use essential oils safely during pregnancy. However, it must be pointed out that we don’t recommend any essential oils during pregnancy unless they are 100% pure therapeutic grade oils. We use and recommend Essentials by Jillee for that reason.
- Apply 3-5 drops of Peppermint, Ginger, or Fennel on abdomen or on the bottom of feet. Some may find relief simply by opening the bottle and inhaling for relief, or applying a small amount under the nose.
- 2 drops of Peppermint to a shot glass of almond milk for instant relief of heartburn!
- Another option, if you can tolerate it, is to add three drops of Peppermint essential oil in a glass of water and sip throughout the day.
- Massage Lavender, Sandalwood or Ginger combined with fractionated coconut oil onto abdomen.
- Put 3 to 5 drops of Fennel, Ginger or Peppermint into a capsule
- 1 to 2 drops each Ginger and Lemon, mixed into water with honey or stevia.
- Peppermint: a drop under the tongue, rubbed on abdomen or rubbed on the bottoms of your feet.
- Put 3 drops of Grapefruit or Peppermint essential oil into a diffuser by your bed. You may find that waking up to these scents helps reduce nausea
Sleeplessness & Insomnia
- Apply Slumber blend or Lavender to the bottom of feet (if you can still reach them, if not ask your hubby). You can also diffuse it, or put a few drops in a spray bottle of water to mist your linens.
- Another great combination is Patchouli and Slumber blend for more severe cases of sleeplessness.
Lower Back & Leg Pain
- Relax in a warm bath with no more than two or three drops of Lavender or Ylang Ylang essential oils may help to ease your muscle pain. However, Lavender oil should be used only occasionally in your first trimester, as it may stimulate contractions.
- Rubbing a few drops of Geranium on the painful location with a carrier oil is helpful as well.
Swelling & Water Retention
- Put 3-5 drops of Grapefruit, Lemon and/or Lime into every glass of water and drink. (3-4 quarts a day.)
- You can also use 3-5 drops of Geranium, Ginger, Lemon and Lavender in a roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil and roll on ankles and feet a few times a day especially at the end of the day. Massage feet and ankles in a upward movement toward the heart.
- Combine 4 drops each Helichrysum, Lavender, Frankincense, and liquid from 6 Vitamin E capsules in an ounce of organic coconut oil, store in a small jar. Massage over abdomen, breasts & thighs every morning and night after the first trimester.
- Add 1 drop each of Cypress, Lavender and Marjoram and 5 drops Geranium to 1 Tbs organic coconut oil and apply to the area with hemorrhoids or you can do this and then soak in a sitz bath.
- Put a few drops of Tea Tree, Lavender & about 2 Tbs of bath salts into a warm sitz bath and soak for about 10 minutes.
Speed Up/Induce Labor
- Clary Sage is considered a uterine tonic so shouldn’t be used until you are due. Place a drop on ankle reflex points and diffuse along with Myrrh during labor.
- To promote overall calm, and peacefulness in the delivery room, apply Relaxation blend topically, over heart and back of neck. Diffuse Lavender.
- Use a few drops of Peppermint and/or Muscle Relief Blend and massage back and apply pressure. This will relieve some of the discomfort, especially with a posterior baby.
- You can use Lavender and/or Clary Sage and put in with 2 tablespoons of bath salts and soak in bath.
- Mix 5 drops of Clary Sage and 2 drops of Geranium with 2 Tbs of carrier oil. Massage hourly onto the perineal area.
- 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Frankincense with carrier oil to calm and help with discomfort. Apply directly on lower abdomen.
Pain and Inflammation
- Add 10 drops Lavender and 10 drops Frankincense to a bowl of alcohol-free Witch Hazel. Soak feminine pads in this solution then freeze for soothing healing during postpartum recovery.
- Put 1-2 drops each of Cypress, Geranium, Clary Sage, and Helichrysum in a base of fractionated coconut oil. Apply each time you use the restroom.
- Add 2 drops of Cypress and 2 drops of Lavender to warm sitz bath and soak for 10-15 min. Repeat up to 3x a day.
- Disperse 5-7 drops of essential oils in the diffuser 3x a day (either Lemon, Sweet Orange, Bliss Blend, Clary Sage or Bergamot).
- Mix 6 drops of either Sweet Orange, Geranium, Relaxation blend or Frankincense with 1 Tbs of carrier oil and massage neck, shoulders and feet. Repeat up to 3 times daily.
Many people have asked for a list of essential oils to avoid while pregnant, but there are so many opinions out there about what can and can’t be used. Instead I will conclude with these cautions from some respected authors on the subject:
Kathy Keville & Mandy Green, authors of Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art:
Be cautious about using essential oils during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Even oils that are generally safe during this time may be too stimulating for women who are prone to miscarriage.
The following partial list of essential oils gives the prevailing wisdom in years past on how essential oils may be used during pregnancy (please be aware that some are very sensitive and may experience a reaction to the mildest of oils and a skin test should be used):
- Those oils ok to use: Bergamot, Coriander, Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Ylang Ylang
- Oils that for some would be better used with a carrier oil or diluted in other ways: Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Helichrysum, Lemongrass, Marjoram, Tea Tree, Myrrh, Oregano, Peppermint, Roman Chamomile.
- Consult a physician before using these oils: Basil, Cassia, Cinnamon bark, Clary Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Vetiver, Wintergreen, White Fir.
- Additionally it is noted that Peppermint used during the latter part of pregnancy or after child birth can limit milk production in some mothers.
Dr. David Hill, author of Nature’s Living Energy:
You will find warnings everywhere about which oils you should and should not use during pregnancy. These previously were very valid concerns because of the impurities that were so prevalent in the oils available and the threat that they posed to a developing fetus. But [with the purity of oils that are now available] it is no longer an issue.
He has also given these points of advice:
- Stay away from Clary Sage if you were threatening or had tendency to early labor.
- Pay attention to your body on dosages as you may need more oil because of increased weight or less oil because your body was at a place of heightened sensitivity.
- Peppermint used during the latter part of pregnancy or after childbirth can limit milk production in some mothers.
- Ylang Ylang with Clary Sage may be used during childbirth and to stimulate uterine contractions. Ylang Ylang is very powerful and only very small amount are needed.
I hope this sheds some light on the use of essential oils and pregnancy. If you are unsure if an oil can be used, please refer it to your licensed medical practitioner for his or her advice and directions.
Once again, during pregnancy and any other time, I recommend using only 100% PURE Therapeutic Grade Oils.