Are Essential Oils Safe During Pregnancy?


We love them because they smell amazing and some even have therapeutic benefits. But are essential oils safe during pregnancy?

There are tons of issues you’ll experience while pregnant that can be remedied with essential oils. But, with a developing child inside you, it's fair to wonder what effects they could have on them.

We will cover everything you need to know, and answer the question, “are essential oils safe during pregnancy?”

Using Essential Oils During Your Pregnancy

We have rather limited research as to how essential oils affect pregnancy, but we know one thing for sure - it all depends on the type of essential oils, how you use the oils, and the amount of oils being used.

Certain oils should still be avoided altogether until after birth, but others can be used even while pregnant. 

This is great news, especially if you struggle with pregnancy and sleep! Certain essential oils are great for helping combat this all to common issue, including:

  • Ylang ylang
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender

Which Other Types Essential Oils are Safe During Pregnancy?

On top of those three, there are tons of other essential oils you may be able to benefit from throughout your second and third trimesters, including:

  • Bergamot 
  • Roman chamomile 
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Geranium 
  • Ginger 
  • Grapefruit 
  • Lemon 
  • Lemongrass 
  • Lime 
  • Mandarin 
  • Neroli 
  • Patchouli 
  • Petitgrain 
  • Rose Otto 
  • Rosewood 
  • Sandalwood 
  • Sweet orange 
  • Tea tree 

What Else Can Essential Oils Help With Throughout Your Pregnancy?

On top of improving sleep, essential oils can help with a few other common ailments expecting mothers experience.

To combat stretch marks, try mixing 2-3 drops of concentrated lavender oil with jojoba or coconut oil. Do this a few times daily.

You can also ease the symptoms of morning sickness by diffusing or inhaling sweet orange or mandarin oil. If you experience a sudden bout of nausea, give it a try!

Got swollen feet and ankles? Don’t sweat it! Just massage 3 drops of lavender or geranium oil mixed with a carrier into the affected area a few times as needed.

Which Essential Oils are NOT Safe During Pregnancy?

As we previously mentioned, certain essential oils should be avoided like the plague throughout your pregnancy. These are safe to use after your pregnancy, but even in the second and third trimester, these can cause contractions, developmental issues, and even miscarriage.

  • Arnica (homeopathic is fine) 
  • Basil 
  • Birch (sweet) 
  • Bitter almond 
  • Boldo leaf 
  • Broom
  • Buchu 
  • Calamus 
  • Camphor (brown or yellow)
  • Cassia 
  • Cedarwood/thuja 
  • Chervil 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Clary sage 
  • Clove (bud, leaf or stem) 
  • Coriander 
  • Costus 
  • Deertongue 
  • Elecampane 
  • Fennel 
  • Horseradish 
  • Hyssop 
  • Jaborandi leaf 
  • Juniper berry 
  • Melilotus 
  • Mugwort 
  • Mustard 
  • Nutmeg 
  • Origanum 
  • Parsley (large doses)
  • Pennyroyal 
  • Pine (dwarf) 
  • Rosemary 
  • Rue 
  • Sassafras 
  • Savin 
  • Savory (summer) 
  • Tansy 
  • Thyme red (large doses) 
  • Tonka 
  • Wintergreen 
  • Wormwood

Yes, that is a huge list, but you need to check the ingredients in any essential oil supplement you apply to your skin or diffuse and make sure none of these are included.

How to Safely Use Essential Oils During Pregnancy

There are a few different ways you can get the benefits of essential oils during your pregnancy, such as inhalation or topical use.

Essential oil diffusers are probably the most common, because not only do they provide therapeutic delivery of the oil, they make the room smell great! 

Another great option is to apply the essential oil topically. You can apply the oils to your feet, reflex points, your back, or wherever is giving you grief. When applying to your skin, you’ll need to use a diluent - also referred to as a carrier oil. Common carrier oils are coconut, jojoba, olive, or almond oil. Applying at full strength could cause issues with your skin, such as irritation or rash, or worse.

As a general rule of thumb, a one percent dilution is recommend for use during pregnancy. This means 1 drop of essential oil for every ~100 drops of carrier oil or lotion.

(Note: At 8 Sheep Organics, we dilute our lotions to 0.7% of the our lotions by weight, so moms can safely enjoy a noticeable, but mildly scented lotion.)

Do Not Ingest

We’ve said it twice, and we’ll say it one more time. Do not ingest essential oils while pregnant. You can use essential oils internally normally, but during pregnancy, this can cause complications. There isn’t a ton of research into why, or how this happens, but its better to be safe than sorry. 

The Source of Your Essential Oils Matter!

A huge mistake people make when shopping for essential oils, regardless of if they are pregnant or not, is buying from a cheap, unregulated source. Stick to reputable brands, and verify the oils are completely unadulterated.