Talk about conflicting info! After a quick google search of “essential oils during pregnancy”, your brain might feel jumbled because you may find a list that has certain oils to avoid and then another list with some of those same oils recommended to use!
How is one supposed to navigate the confusion?
My most trusted resource on essential oils is the book “Gentle Babies” by Debra Raybern and I think she answers this question perfectly. She says,
“The difference is quality and common sense”.
Quality, Quality, Quality
I can’t begin to talk about essential oils during pregnancy without first stressing the importance that I am specifically talking about Young Living essential oils only. Quality matters! I wouldn’t recommend using essential oils from the grocery store, online, or even a health food store during pregnancy, or any other time really. If you want to truly experience all the benefits that essential oils have to offer, Young Living is the way to go.
That being said, just because Young Living’s are the purest essential oils doesn’t mean everything natural is safe. We must use common sense! With anything in pregnancy, I recommend going slow, testing the oils in small amounts at first, listening to your body and using everything in moderation.
In her book “Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice” Jane Buckle, PH.D., R.N., states, “There are no records of abnormal fetuses or aborted fetuses due to normal use of essential oils, either by inhalation, or topical application. There are no records of a few drops of essential oils taken by mouth causing any problems either.”
Now let’s dive into the oils to avoid/use with caution
Often the following are mentioned in aromatherapy guides as oils to avoid during pregnancy:
- basil, birch, cassia, cinnamon bark, hyssop, Idaho tansy, rosemary, sage, wintergreen, sage, clary sage, jasmine, fennel.
Oil Blends which contain above mentioned oils:
- Thieves, EndoFlex, En-R-Gee, Di-Gize, Melrose, Panaway, Joy, Dragon Time, ImmuPower…(this is not an extensive list.)
Honestly, a lot of the oils on this list are ones I rarely use anyways. But then again, two of the blends listed that contain some of those oils, Thieves and Digize, I personally use daily.
What oils I have been using and avoiding
I am not here to give recommendations of what to use or not use during your pregnancy, I’ve listed some great resources below for that. But I will share with you what I have personally used and avoided, and what has helped me during my pregnancy.
I have been avoiding almost all of the above mentioned oils, mainly because they are oils I rarely use anyways! The two exceptions are the blends Thieves and Digize which I use almost daily. Thieves contains cinnamon and rosemary from the list above, and Digize contains fennel.
This is my primary immune boosting and germ fighting oil blend. I rub it diluted on the bottom of my feet every night. Since most of my pregnancy is during the winter and flu season, staying healthy is of utmost importance to me. Personally I have weighed the risk of using a blend with some cinnamon and rosemary, as opposed to getting sick. And so far so good for not getting sick!
I also used Thieves internally for a week via Young Living’s Inner Defense capsules, which is a pre-capsulated blend of Thieves and oregano oil. I used this to support my kidneys and bladder when fighting off a bladder infection which is very common during pregnancy.
This is the digestive support blend. I use it diluted rubbed on my abdomen every day to help prevent constipation. Constipation is a very real pregnancy side effect as the hormones slow down our digestive system. As much as that slowing down is a natural process, a pregnant lady still has to poop, and Digize can definitely help with that!
I used this oil blend (which contains wintergreen) when my hamstring was hurting me from an old injury, but have since switched to using Copaiba instead, since it has similar properties and has been helping just as much. I figured I’d try and not use all the oils on the avoid list ha!
Oils and oil blends that are specifically designed for women’s hormones
All of these I have been avoiding: singles such as clary sage and jasmine and blends such as Dragon Time, EndoFlex, Lady Sclareol, Joy and Sclaressense.
This is because pregnancy is a very unique time in a woman’s hormonal life and we typically want to just let our pregnancy hormones do their own thing. Now many of us still need emotional support during pregnancy because of the influx in hormones, but instead of reaching for most of the above which were my go to’s during PMS etc, I now try and reach for more calming oils like lavender, Peace and Calming, frankincense and Valor.
Now for the oils you CAN use, and there are SO many!
Don’t let a short list of oils to use caution with stop you from experiencing the powerful benefits of essential oils during pregnancy!
You can use oils such as:
- Bergamot, Cedarwood, Copaiba, Cypress, Balsam Fir, Frankincense, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), Neroli, Orange, Patchouli, Peppermint, Pine, Sandalwood, Spruce, Tangerine, Vetiver, and Ylang Ylang.
Safe Oil Blends:
- Citrus Fresh, Motivation, Peace & Calming, Present Time, Sacred Mountain, Valor… (Not an extensive list)
Here are just a few examples of how I have been using essential oils during my pregnancy:
- Some of my favorites to diffuse have been Lavender and Northern Light Black Spruce or Peace & Calming blend.
- Applying one drop of Bergamot or Present Time blend as a perfume.
- Applying Tranquil blend topically to fight pregnancy insomnia.
- Thankfully I didn’t have much nausea, but there were about two times where I had to go out on my balcony, get some fresh air, inhale my peppermint oil to get over a bout of nausea. Thankfully this helped it go away enough to get some more food in me to relieve the nausea completely.
- One drop of Lemon or Citrus Fresh blend in my water first thing in the morning to alkaline my body and jump start my digestive system.
- One drop of Eucalyptus or R.C. applied to my chest in the shower to clear my lungs and wake me up.
- Frankincense, lavender and Gentle Baby blend in my DIY belly butter.
And these are only the tip of the iceberg. The “Gentle Babies” book goes over oils for water retention, emotions, headaches, heartburn, hemorrhoids, etc.
The uses for high quality essential oils used with common sense during pregnancy are endless!
If you are in the states, get the Gentle Babies book here. If you are in the EU, reach out to me and I can mail you one from my stash.
A few other great posts for you to reference include:
Dr. Lindsay Elmore
High Country Doulas
Other Young Living products (some containing essential oils) that have helped me during my pregnancy:
This is a serum made of wild yams which is a natural progesterone support. It also contains the essential oils frankincense, peppermint and bergamot. I used this when trying to get pregnant to ensure good progesterone levels after ovulation, and I also used it throughout my first trimester as progesterone serums/creams are shown to help prevent miscarriages.
This is Young Living’s antioxidant drink made from Ningxia wolfberry puree, and essential oils such as orange, lemon and tangerine. I have been taking 2oz a day of this to boost my immune system and to get a nutrient infusion into my cells. It’s also a natural form of energy without sugar or caffeine, which helps for that first trimester tiredness and if you’re adjusting to only one cup of caffeine a day or none all together.
Young Living’s protein powder called Balance Complete in the EU and Pure Protein Complete in the States. I was very fortunate to never really have morning sickness during my first trimester, but there was one morning where I was in the middle of making a smoothie and started dry heaving. Thankfully my husband was still home and I had him finish off the smoothie and as soon as I drank it I felt completely better. Protein smoothies are a great way to get food down when it’s not very appetizing during the first trimester, and having an adequate amount of protein throughout the entire pregnancy is a known way to help prevent preeclampsia.
Probiotics are key not only to our digestion but also our immune systems. As much as I try to eat my kimchi and drink my kombucha and kefir, I can’t always daily, so I am so thankful for a probiotic supplement. It also helps relieve pregnancy induced constipation.
Leg cramps and slow digestion are some common pregnancy complaints. Thankfully magnesium is a trusted solution to these annoyances. Megacal is Young Living’s magnesium and calcium supplement that have helped me in both these areas! This also contains lemon essential oil.
B vitamins are very important during pregnancy, and Super B even contains folate which is essential during pregnancy! This also contains nutmeg essential oil which is great for adrenal support and energy.
This is Young Living’s fish oil supplement. D vitamins are helpful for pregnancy brain, which is totally a real thing! Plus during pregnancy you are building your baby’s brain and they need these healthy fats. This also contains the essential oils: spearmint, german chamomile and clove
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