Essential oils during pregnancy: how and which ones to use?

For thousands of years, people seeking natural remedies have used essential oils as a natural treatment for ailments. Even though they are natural and can relieve nausea, anxiety or even headaches, they are not always recommended for pregnant women . What essential oils are allowed during pregnancy? and those prohibited?

What is an essential oil ?

First, essential oils are a category of evaporated aromatic oils derived from plants . In their host plant, oils are responsible for the plant's characteristic odor, attract beneficial organisms, and repel harmful parasites. Additionally, they help the plant reproduce, regenerate and heal.

Next, the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians are considered the first humans to harness the many capabilities of essential oils. These ancient people developed the techniques used by distillation and pressing. They used essential oils because of their healing and medicinal properties, for cosmetic purposes. Additionally, they used them to facilitate spiritual meditation and relaxation.

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Can we use essential oils during pregnancy?

It is not recommended to use essential oils during the first 3 months of pregnancy . Indeed, they can potentially cause uterine contractions or harm the baby's development. More research needs to be done on the subject, but prevention is always better than cure.

Pregnant women should also avoid aromatherapy products and treatments during the first trimester . Indeed, essential oils are the main ingredients used in aromatherapy.

Essential oils prohibited throughout pregnancy

Yarrow, Acore calamus, Garlic, Ajowan, Dill, Green anise, Angelica, Mugwort, Siamese wood, Ceylon cinnamon (leaf and bark), Chinese cinnamon, Caraway, Atlas cedar, Himalayan cedar, Turmeric, Cypress, Cryptone Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus, Menthol Eucalyptus, Juniper, Clove (nail and leaf except childbirth), Hyssop, Katrafay, Lantana, Stoechade lavender, Field mint, Spearmint, Peppermint, Pennyroyal, Spikenard, Nutmeg, Compact and common oregano, Palmarosa (except childbirth), Parsley, Camphor rosemary, Verbenone rosemary, Savory, Officinal sage, Marigold, Thuya, Linalool thyme, Thymol thyme, Saturated thyme, Indian valerian, Rod gold, Zédoaire...

Essential oils authorized from the 4th month of pregnancy

The use of certain essential oils, for external use only , is possible from the 4th month of pregnancy with prior agreement from a health professional.

Here is a non-exhaustive list from the second trimester:

Linalool basil, Bergamot (with or without furocoumarins), Ho wood, German chamomile, Roman chamomile, Cardamom, Virginia cedar, Ladaniferous cistus, Lemon, Lime, Black spruce, Lemon eucalyptus, Radiated eucalyptus, Eucalyptus smithii, Fragonia, Bourbon geranium, Egyptian geranium, Ginger, Iary, Fragrant inula, Kunzea, Noble laurel, Fine lavender, Pistachio mastic, Mandarin, Shell marjoram, Thujanol marjoram, Niaouli, Orange, Blood orange, Petitgrain bigarade, Laricio pine, Maritime pine, Scots pine, Hemlock, Ravintsara, Rhododendron, Rosalina, Tea tree.

Some advice if you decide to use essential oils from the 4th month of pregnancy:

  • Always read and follow the instructions for use before use (such as dosage)
  • Never take essential oils orally throughout pregnancy (unless otherwise advised by medical professionals)
  • Application to the skin is still preferred (although avoiding the application of essential oils to the stomach)
  • Inhalation via a diffuser or tissue of certain essential oils is possible

Furthermore, if you want to apply an essential oil to your skin, make sure to mix them in a carrier oil. Additionally, test a small area of ​​your skin for sensitivity before general use.

Essential oils while breastfeeding

Like pregnancy, breastfeeding requires a lot of effort on the body. While breastfeeding, the goal is to maintain a strong, healthy body that will support a healthy newborn.

While the body changes significantly during pregnancy, these changes do not stop when the baby is born. Your body will continue to change as you adjust to postpartum life. You should discuss the use of essential oils with your doctor before using them during pregnancy.

Again, your doctor is the best source of advice when it comes to your body, your baby, and any special concerns you may have.

Risks during pregnancy or breastfeeding

Some people may have an allergic reaction or skin irritation after using essential oils. You are more likely to have a bad reaction if you have atopic dermatitis.

Finally, if you have a red, itchy rash or hives after using it, contact your doctor. These symptoms are often signs of an allergic reaction.

Additionally, many essential oils are specifically dangerous during pregnancy, either because they can cause complications .

How to find quality essential oils?

Here are some tips for finding a quality essential oil:

  • Check the label. A good quality oil will include the plant's Latin name, ingredient information, and purity.
  • Research the company . Buy products from reputable aromatherapy companies that have an established reputation and a few years of experience in the industry.
  • Avoid scented oils . Look for essential oils in pure form that contain 100% essential oil, with no additives or fillers.

Anti-stretch mark treatments without essential oils

Laboratoires Téane have chosen not to use essential oils in its formulas so that you can use them safely from the first month of pregnancy and during breastfeeding.

First of all, for the prevention of stretch marks, we recommend that you use the 1st Stretch Mark Treatment Cream from the first stages of pregnancy. From the second trimester, you will need to combine the First Treatment Stretch Mark Cream with the Generous Soothing Oil to improve the elasticity of the skin.

To repair the skin and reduce stretch marks, we recommend SOS Stretch Marks Balm . It contains natural and patented active ingredients for pregnancy stretch marks. Then, to firm the skin after childbirth, you should add Fresh Firming Milk to your skincare routine.

Also discover our mother-to-be box, a box dedicated to pregnant women . It contains a selection of certified organic products formulated without essential oils.

Bibliography and further reading

  • Aromazone, thematic file, essential oils and pregnancy , available here .
  • Murkoff E. Heidi and Mazel Sharon. (2009) What to Expect When You're Expecting. (What to Expect When You're Expecting a Baby) ( 4th edition) New York: Workman Publishing.
  • Roger W Harms. (2004) Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy ( 1st edition) New York: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Photo credit: pixabay .

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