What Essential Oils are Safe During Pregnancy and How to Use Them

essential oilEssential oils are what many people are turning to in order to ease their pain, ailments, clean, repel bugs, de-stress, etc. They are trying to be better to themselves with less man-made chemicals that can have nasty side effects and use something more natural.

Plenty of companies sell essential oils, but one thing you have to take into consideration is the purity of them and their safety, plus how to utilize them.

Some have reported side effects that they were not aware of because they weren’t using them correctly, had a brand that wasn’t safe, or it just didn’t’ agree with them.

So, when you get pregnant and have children, you want to continue your trend of being someone who is all natural and cures everything with an oil (people literally have said there’s an oil for that for ninety percent of ailments I have).

However, you must consider the safety of using oils on yourself when you are pregnant as to not incur negative effects on yourself or your baby if not necessary.

There are some considerations to have in your mind before you start, or continue, to use the oils when you are pregnant.

Know the Quality

When it comes to essential oils, you’ll want to ensure that what you are using is what it says it is, and also that it’s pure. Low-quality essential oils can be mixed with ingredients that can be harmful when used.

Below are some things that you might want to think about when it comes to purchasing your oils with regards to their quality only, later we’ll get to their safety while pregnant, but you have to start here.


They shouldn’t be cheap. Do not buy oils from the dollar store. Cheap oils most likely are not the real thing[1], they are more than likely imitations or sometimes not even close.

When thinking about cost you must take into consideration how the essential oils are produced. For companies to make one ounce (30 ml) of rose oil, for example, takes 250 pounds of rose blossoms.[2]

That’s a lot of roses for such a small amount. But in general, regardless of the oil that you are looking for, it takes a lot of something to make a small amount of the oil itself which means that it should never be cheap.


This is especially important as well. You’ll want to determine if you are getting what you are being told that you are getting and that it’s made with high-quality ingredients.

You’ll want to ensure that your oils are organic because if they aren’t the process of concentrating the oils to create them for use will also concentrate any pesticides that were being used as well.

While some may not list organic, they may state that they are unsprayed (meaning that they don’t spray their crops) or wildcrafted as well.[3]

Bottom line what to look for

The basics of what you should look for when it comes to finding the best quality essential oils will be a few things. The label should include its “botanical name, country of origin, distillation date and/or expiration date and the chemotype (if applicable).”[4]

Another thing to look for is if the distributor has run gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GM/MS) testing to test purity, and that the sellers are part of NAHA or another association.[5]

These are a few considerations to determine the safety of what you are using, and now that you know how to pick out high-quality products, you’ll want to use them safely as well. Let’s get into that.

Using Essential Oils Safely

Essential oils are generally safe for use when used correctly. They can have immense beneficial properties that can assist in a lot of ailments that people, especially pregnant women, might suffer from. But you’ll want to take a few precautions when using them.

Who should not use essential oils during pregnancy?

There are a select few that while essential oils are generally safe, should steer clear of them because they still aren’t scientifically proven and tested.

If you have a history of miscarriage, vaginal bleeding during the pregnancy, epilepsy, heart problems, diabetes, blood clotting issues, thyroid, liver or kidney disease.[6]

Those who fall into these categories should not be utilizing essential oils as they could cause other issues during pregnancy that you’ll want to avoid their use.

What oils should be avoided?

There are some oils that are safe, and some that should be banned during pregnancy. The following list is taken directly from The Hippy Homemaker[7] and is considered unsafe because they can be toxic to the baby.

This doesn’t mean you can diffuse them instead of using them topically, but you should steer clear of them at all times during the pregnancy and even nursing.

  • Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Anise, Star (Illicium verum)
  • Araucaria (Neocallitropsis pancheri)
  • Artemisia (Artemisia vestita)
  • Atractylis (Atractylylodes lancea)
  • Birch (Betula lenta)
  • Black Seed (Nigella sativa)
  • Buchu (Agathosma betulina, Agathosma crenulata)
  • Calamint (Calamintha nepeta)
  • Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
  • Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)
  • Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)
  • Chaste Tree (Vitex ugnus castus)
  • Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum)
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) – This should be avoided during pregnancy because it can bring on contractions, but it has been used quite effectively in the birthing room for just this purpose. It’s safe for use during labor (under the guidance of a doula or midwife) as well as postpartum.
  • Cypress, blue (Callitris intratopica)
  • Dill Seed (Anethum graveolens)
  • Dill Seed, Indian (Anethus sowa)
  • Eucalyptus, ALL (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithi)
  • Fennel, bitter and sweet (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
  • Genipi (Artemisia genepi)
  • Hibawood (Thujopsis dolobratta)
  • Ho Leaf (Cinnamomum camphora)
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
  • Lanyuna (Artemisia afra)
  • Lavender, French/Spanish (Lavandula stoechas)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
  • May Chang (Litsea cubeba)
  • Mugwort (Artemisia arborescens, Artemisia vulgaris)
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
  • Myrtle (Backhousia anisata)
  • Myrtle, Honey (Melaleuca teretifolia)
  • Myrtle, Lemon (Backhousia citriodora)
  • Nutmeg (Mysristica fragrans)
  • Oregano (Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, etc.)
  • Parsley, Leaf/Seed (Petroslinum sativum)
  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
  • Plectranthus (Plectranthus fruticosus)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)
  • Sage, Dalmatian (Salvia officinalis)
  • Sage, Spanish (Salvia lavandulaefolia)
  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
  • Tea Tree, Lemon (Leptospermum petersonii)
  • Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
  • Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, Achillea nobilis)
  • Zeodary (Curcuma sedoaria)

Further Considerations

If you do use oils during your pregnancy (not the ones on that long list above), just make sure you are using them right. You shouldn’t be ingesting them, and they should be used sparingly[8].

If you are going to use them make sure that they are being diluted which can be achieved by mixing them with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil. For every teaspoon of carrier oil, you should use 3-5 drops of the essential oils.[9]

In addition, when diffusing the oils, it should be done in 10-15 minute intervals and the same oils shouldn’t be used for extended periods of time (such as daily), only use them when you absolutely need to.[10]

Bottom Line

So, the bottom line is that they are safe, within reason. Use common sense and take the list of ones that you shouldn’t use seriously.

While essential oils are believed to be safe, they have not been clinically tested on humans, only animals and they have results that vary.[11]

If you would feel more comfortable, talk to your doctor or a trained aromatherapist to see what they deem safe for you.


  1. Linda Halcón, Ph.D., MPH, RN, RATC via the University of Minnesota. How Do I Determine the Quality of Essential Oils? [link]
  2. Sherilyn Siegmund-Roach, M.Sc., C.C.A. via The Herbal Academy. How to Choose High-Quality Essential Oils. [link]
  3. See above #2
  4. See above #2
  5. See above #2
  6. Denise Tiran via BabyCentre. Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils While I’m Pregnant?. [link]
  7. The Hippy Homemaker. Using Essential Oils Safely for Pregnant & Nursing Mamas. [link]
  8. See above #7
  9. Wellness Mama. Risks and Dangers of Essential Oils. [link]
  10. See above #6
  11. See above #6
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