Essential Oils to Avoid during Pregnancy

Once you conceive, suggestions and warnings pour in from every direction. While some of them may not be so practicable, most of these cautions have some merit to them, as even a seemingly normal thing like drinking a cup of herbal tea may be potentially harmful during this time. Use of essential oils is one such matter, where you need to consider their benefits as well as risks in detail. Some essential oils can work miracles for various common pregnancy ailments, while others may prove potentially life threatening.

Risks of Using Essential Oils while Pregnant

The components and properties of a herb are present in a highly concentrated state in its essential oil [1]. For example, producing 1 pound of pure lavender oil requires over 250 pounds of the herb [2]. So, one drop of lavender oil will have the same properties and effects as 20-25 cups of lavender tea. Due to this reason, experts often recommend using some carrier oil, such as coconut or almond oil, along with essential oils in aromatherapy, especially during the early stages of your baby’s development [3].

In fact, it is commonly advised to avoid these oils altogether during the first trimester [4], as over 80% of all miscarriages occur within the first 12-13 weeks [5].

Following is a list of the essential oils never considered safe for pregnant women, along with their possible negative effects:

Common Essential Oils Not Safe for Pregnancy

Nutmeg May have mild hallucinogenic effects, [6] and interact with pain medications during labor [4]
Basil May contribute to abnormal cell development and also lead to premature contractions [4,7]
Common sage May cause bleeding in the uterus [4]
Juniper berry [8], arnica [9], cinnamon, clary sage [10], jasmine [11], rosemary, clove [9], thyme [12] May stimulate blood flow to the uterus, leading to untimely labor and contractions
Camphor Studies have shown serious side effects of camphor poisoning, including fetal death; topical application can be harmful as it passes the placenta [13, 14]
Sweet birch [15, 16] May interfere with normal development of your baby [17]
Hyssop Contains pinocamphone [18], a chemical with convulsant properties that may lead to a miscarriage [19]
Fennel [7] Believed to cross the placenta, making it potentially harmful to your child [20]; additionally, fennel is a phytoestrogen that may interfere with the hormonal functions of your body [21]
Wintergreen May lead to skin irritation; also possibly harmful for your unborn baby [22]
Rose, Sage May cause bleeding in the uterus [4]
Pennyroyal May damage your kidneys and liver, while also cause early contractions and miscarriage [23, 25]
Wormwood Should be avoided both for aromatherapy and oral use as it is believed to contain thujone, a compound possibly harmful for the fetus [24]

Additionally, it is often recommended to avoid lemongrass, aniseed, laurel, lemon, mustard, myrrh, oregano, and pine due to the limited data available about their safety in pregnant women [4, 12].

References:

  1. http://www.liveoakacupuncture.com/three-reasons-to-consider-diluting-essential-oils/
  2. http://neatoilessentials.com/distilling-quality-essential-oils/
  3. https://wellnessmama.com/26519/risks-essential-oils/
  4. http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x536449/is-it-safe-to-use-essential-oils-while-im-pregnant
  5. http://www.babycenter.com/0_miscarriage-signs-causes-and-treatment_252.bc
  6. http://www.bonappetit.com/trends/article/foods-that-make-you-hallucinate
  7. http://salvenaturals.com/blog/?p=100
  8. http://articles.mercola.com/herbal-oils/juniper-berry-oil.aspx
  9. https://www.fitpregnancy.com/gear/maternity-fashion/essential-oils
  10. https://www.youngliving.com/blog/pregnancy-and-essential-oils-a-guest-post-by-dr-lindsey-elmore/
  11. https://www.thedabblist.com/7-essential-oils-to-facilitate-labor-naturally/
  12. https://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/essential-oils-in-pregnancy-which-essential-oils-are-safe-to-use/
  13. https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+37
  14. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-709-camphor.aspx?activeingredientid=709&
  15. https://naha.org/?/explore-aromatherapy/safety/
  16. http://www.thehippyhomemaker.com/using-essential-oils-safely-for-pregnant-nursing-mamas/
  17. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-birch-essential-oil.html
  18. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=rGQps9fQX1YC&pg=PA208&lpg=PA208&dq=Pinocamphone+pregnancy&source=bl&ots=Bo3vMzl5i5&sig=P7yW6Lveuu5IykPs09EGSRJiLvc&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjI8b2VhJTSAhUiR48KHaceDe4Q6AEILjAD#v=onepage&q=Pinocamphone%20pregnancy&f=false, https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-hyssop-essential-oil.html
  19. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-258-hyssop.aspx?activeingredientid=258&activeingredientname=hyssop
  20. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-311-fennel.aspx?activeingredientid=311&activeingredientname=fennel
  21. http://www.livinglibations.com/default/pregnancy_and_essential_oils
  22. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-783-wintergreen.aspx?activeingredientid=783&activeingredientname=wintergreen
  23. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-480-pennyroyal.aspx?activeingredientid=480&activeingredientname=pennyroyal
  24. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-729-wormwood.aspx?activeingredientid=729
  25. https://www.drugs.com/mtm/pennyroyal.html
Editorial Team
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: