Essential oils can be a soothing addition to your daily routine, whether you use them as a room fragrance or in lotions, bath salts or other products. While some essential oils may be reasonably safe for use during pregnancy, others should be avoided entirely. Knowing how and when to use essential oils safely and which oils to avoid can help you to relax and feel safe in the choices you make during your pregnancy.
While the safety of essential oils during pregnancy is somewhat unclear, experts agree that essential oils, particularly oils applied to the skin, should be avoided entirely during the first trimester of pregnancy. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy recommends a more cautious approach and advocates avoiding use of essential oils altogether during pregnancy. Speak to your health care provider or a qualified aromatherapist about your use of essential oils after the first trimester.
Essential oils that may be safer for use during pregnancy include chamomile, geranium, jasmine, lavender, neroli, ylang ylang, sandalwood and patchouli, according to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy. Tangerine, mandarin, lemon, grapefruit, ginger and bergamot are also acceptable during pregnancy. While these oils have a low risk of adverse effects, you should use any aromatherapy oil with caution during pregnancy.
According to the National Cancer Institute, fragrances have been shown to produce therapeutic psychological effects. Many of the essential oils used during pregnancy traditionally have a sedative, relaxing or refreshing effect on mood and mental state. These oils can also be used post-partum to help you relax or feel more energized. Used topically, some essential oils may have an antiseptic or analgesic effect, reports to NaturalBloom.com.
You can reduce the risks associated with aromatherapy during pregnancy by opting to use oils as a room fragrance rather than on the skin. Aroma lamps, light bulb rings or fan diffusers can be used with essential oils. Do use a smaller amount of the essential oils, even when opting for a safer oil, during pregnancy. You may find that your sense of smell is stronger, so use half as many drops of oil in your burner or diffuser while pregnant.
Some essential oils should be avoided entirely during pregnancy. These oils may act as blood thinners or induce cramping or contractions. Basil, cedarwood, clove, cypress, cinnamon, pennyroyal, camphor, parsley, peppermint, clary sage, wintergreen and a number of other essential oils should not be used during pregnancy, according to FitPregnancy.com. If you have concerns about essential oils or products containing them, you should speak to your obstetrician or holistic care provider about their safety.