It can be incredibly confusing and overwhelming to know what essential oils are safe during pregnancy. If you’re anything like me, you want to use a natural belly oil that nourishes your skin during pregnancy, but without the risk of chemicals causing harm.
I’ve been where you are, going down rabbit holes of information trying to make sure I don’t use harmful products. So here, I’m sharing what you need to know. Of course, there is a lot more to it than this, but hopefully this will give you a good understanding of what essential oils are safe to use while pregnant.
According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), essential oils are safe for pregnancy and can be a highly beneficial option for mums-to-be who are experiencing nausea, headaches, fatigue, swelling, insomnia, anxiety, and other typical symptoms. However, each essential oil has different properties and benefits, so it’s important to understand which are safe to use, and which you need to be wary of.
Naturally, all our products focus on safety first and have factored in this research (and much, much more) when formulating our products.
Why do I need to consider what I put on my skin?
It’s estimated that substances with a molecular weight less than 1,000 can cross the blood stream. Since essential oil constituents have a molecular below 500, there is a common assumption that they are capable of crossing the placenta. Therefore, it’s very important that the chemical constituents that could enter the bloodstream from essential oils have a negligible toxicity level for both you and your baby.
Essential oils that are considered safe to use during pregnancy:
- Roman chamomile
- Rose Otto
- Sweet orange
- Tea tree
- Ylang ylang
Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy, or speak to a registered healthcare professional before using:
- Arnica (homeopathic is fine)
- Bitter almond
- Boldo leaf
- Camphor (brown or yellow)
- Clary sage
- Clove (bud, leaf or stem)
- Jaborandi leaf
- Juniper berry
- Parsley seed or leaf
- Pine (dwarf)
- Savory (summer)
- Thyme red (large doses)
As well as the oils themselves, there are multiple factors that influence whether they’re safe to use or not:
Quality of oil
Only use pure, authentic, and genuine essential oils, organic if possible.
Chemical composition of the oil
Some essential oils can cause skin reactions, so need to be more diluted than others before using them on your skin.
Method of application
This is about whether you’re diffusing/inhaling them, applying them on your skin or taking them internally. Each of these methods have different safety issues which need to be considered.
Most aromatherapy oil based blends will be between 1-5% dilutions, but this is recommended to be lower during pregnancy. The dilutions in our blends are always <1% to ensure safety.
Infants, toddlers, and young children are more sensitive to the potency of essential oils, so safe dilutions generally range from 0.5 - 2.5% depending on other factors. Certain essential oils should be avoided entirely, or only used in highly diluted form under the guidance of a knowledgeable professional. For example, special caution should be exercised with potentially toxic essential oils such as Birch and Wintergreen which are both high in methyl salicylate, Eucalyptus which is high in 1,8 cineole and Peppermint which is high in menthol.