Essential Oils For Pregnancy: What Oils to Use and Avoid

Pregnancy is one of those times in life when you are experiencing a lot of new symptoms and yet you are very limited in what you can do to help. Using essential oils is a great option because they are natural, plant-based and non-toxic but there are a few things you should know about using essential oils during pregnancy before you get started.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are aromatic, volatile liquids distilled from plant roots, seeds, flowers, leaves, trees or entire shrubs. Essential oils allow you to experience many daily benefits and be self-empowered in taking responsibility for your own health during pregnancy and beyond. Of course, essential oils are not a replacement for medical care and should be used as a complement to the care you receive from your doctor or midwife.

essential oils while pregnant

10 essential oils that are safe for you to use during pregnancy

I discovered essential oils during my most recent pregnancy and used them for everything including sleep support, skin support, immune support and the biggest, for me, emotional support.

Here are 10 essential oils that are safe for you to use during pregnancy:

1. Frankincense

Frankincense is a go-to oil for skin support during pregnancy. Skin can sometimes break out during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but just using one drop of frankincense in the palm of your hand mixed with moisturizer every morning and night can be extremely supportive. Frankincense is also great for emotional support and can help ease worries around pregnancy and birth.

frankincense pregnancy

2. Lavender

Lavender is the jack of all trades when it comes to essential oils and can be used for SO many things during pregnancy. It’s super relaxing and calming and great for sleep support. Simply diffuse it with Frankincense at night or roll on your wrists before bed. It’s also great for skin support and a great option in the summer months when the bugs are biting and you don’t want to use other chemicals on your skin. You will also find many great uses for Lavender once baby arrives. Many new Moms use lavender to create a homemade diaper balm and diffuse it along with a blend called Gentle Baby. If you’ve never smelled the Lavender from Young Living you are missing out! It is so much more potent than any other brands.

3. Digize

Digestion issues are pretty common during pregnancy and Digize is a great remedy for this. Create a roller with Digize and use it during your first trimester on your tummy when you’re experiencing morning sickness. Other women also use it during the third trimester to soothe the acidity experienced in their esophagus. Simply roll is on the area bothering you, such as your throat and chest. It’s not one of the most favorable smelling essential oils, but it can get the job done.

4. Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia)

Tea Tree is a great oil for skin support especially specific spots like blemishes and irritations. You can use Tea Tree (after your Frankincense moisturizer routine) on any spots that needed extra support.

5. Lemon

Lemon essential oil, like all citrus oils, is very uplifting and great to add to diffuser blends when you need that extra boost. Try using Lemon (and Citrus Fresh) in your water. Young Living’s vitality oils are safe to ingest and just one drop in your water can help increase your daily water intake which is super important during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

6. Cedarwood

Cedarwood essential oil is great for sleep support and calming nervous tension (aka when you can’t fall asleep at night because you’re thinking about all of the things!). Roll it on the bottoms of your feet right before bed. You can roll it on without diluting or you can make a roller ball with 25 drops Cedarwood and then fill with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil.

7. Thieves

Thieves Oil is a popular blend for immune support and sometimes you really need an extra boost for your immune system during pregnancy. Thieves contains Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary. Several of those oils are recommended to use with care and caution during pregnancy. Also ensure you dilute Thieves and use it in moderation, rather than daily. Thieves is also a great immune support. Try making a 10ml roller with just 10 drops of Thieves essential oil and coconut oil and apply it to the bottoms of your feet and spine when you feel the need for an immune boost.

8. Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil has so many great uses during pregnancy including helping with smell sensitivities. You can simply open the bottle and sniff it or diffuse it along with a citrus like lemon or orange. Try using it in the summer to cool you down. If you’ve ever been pregnant in the summer, you know how hard it can be to cool down sometimes and a drop of peppermint and lavender behind your ears can be extremely cooling. Peppermint is also great for head tension and a roller with 10 drops peppermint, 10 drops Lavender and 10 drops Frankincense is often called the “Hangover Roller”—obviously in pregnancy it serves a different purpose.

Note: Some people choose to avoid peppermint in late pregnancy because it can be used to reduce milk supply but I personally used it up until the end and had an abundant milk supply. Use your best judgment and consult your care provider.

9. Chamomile

There are two different versions of chamomile that are both wonderful and used for different purposes. Roman chamomile is extremely relaxing aromatically and great for sleep support and German Chamomile is fantastic for using on stretched skin after birth. Many women use German Chamomile on their perineum leading up to and after giving birth. It’s also in my favorite homemade diaper balm recipe.

10. Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang is a very special essential oil and exceptionally fragrant and refreshing. It’s extremely relaxing and a great oil for emotional support during and after pregnancy. It’s also found in the blend called Gentle Baby which is one of my favorite essential oil blends for pregnancy and baby.

7 essential oils that you should avoid during pregnancy

Historically, there are instances of non-therapeutic-grade (meaning synthetic, adulterated and/or of impure quality) essential oils having possibly caused problems during pregnancy. I only use Young Living oils and because of their Seed to Seal commitment. I have a few reference books that I trust as well and especially love Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children.

That being said, here is a list of a few oils that you should avoid or use with caution during pregnancy. There are certain blends that may contain small amounts of these oils that many women use (myself included) without issue. If you are concerned, always consult with your care provider and dilute, dilute, dilute. I’d also limit the oils that you ingest during pregnancy and definitely avoid ingesting any on this list.

1. Wintergreen

Wintergreen essential oil is high in methyl salicylate (the naturally occurring version of aspirin) and should be avoided during pregnancy and birth because of its blood thinning properties. Wintergreen is found in a few blends from Young Living like Panaway & Deep Relief and since it’s just one oil in a blend, many women choose to use it in moderation during pregnancy. Wintergreen should never be ingested.

2. Birch

Birch essential oil is also high in methyl salicylate and should be avoided in pregnancy and never ingested.

3. Hyssop

Hyssop essential oil is high in Pinocamphone which has the potential to stimulate contractions and should be avoided.

4. Clary Sage

clary sage pregnancy

Clary Sage is a great oil for increasing the intensity of contractions once labor has begun as well as inducing labor once a woman has reached her due date. In fact, my water broke within an hour of me diffusing Clary Sage next to my bed. For that reason, it should be avoided until you reach your due date. Other oils that have the same property that could assist contractions are Angelica, Juniper, Myrrh, and Fennel and they should be avoided during pregnancy.

5. Camphor

Camphor essential oil is an oil itself and it is also a constituent in other oils including Tansy, Spanish Lavender, Feverfew, Spanish Sage and Sage Lavender. Camphor oil is only recommended for use topically because it is toxic when ingested. There are no reports of Camphor oil causing harm when used topically in pregnancy but due to its toxicity internally, it is generally recommended to be avoided.

6. Cinnamon Bark

Cinnamon Bark essential oil, along with Clove and Cassia contains Eugenol which has blood thinning properties. While there are no actual accounts of these oils causing problems in pregnancy, if used in large amounts (as in drinking an entire bottle) they could cause harm. As always, use common sense and use oils in moderation.

7. Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil contains the constituent 1,8 cineol also known as Eucalyptol which is great for respiratory support but again, could cause problems in high doses. Rosemary oil should be used only as needed rather than in a daily diffuser blend of perfume.

Essential Oils and Pregnancy what to use and what to avoid

Take the following precautions when using essential oils during pregnancy

essential oils pregnancy

You’ve probably noticed a theme here and that is to use common sense, do your research and start small (aka dilute) when it comes to using essential oils.

Talk to Your Care Provider

During pregnancy, it’s always a good idea to run any concerns by your care provider. You can also seek the advice of an aromatherapist or a midwife or doula that have extensive experience using essential oils with pregnant women.

Dilute

If you’re new to essential oils, I recommend starting with diluting everything. You can dilute oils in a carrier oil like jojoba, avocado, grapeseed or coconut oil. A great starting point with dilution is a 1:8 ratio.

Avoid Ingesting Essential Oils

Ingesting essential oils is going to deliver the most intense effects of the oil to your body. So while certain oils are great for ingesting while not pregnant, a good general rule of thumb during pregnancy is to avoid ingesting. Also, many essential oils you find online or at the grocery store are NEVER indicated for taking internally. If you’re using Young Living, they denote their oils with the Vitality label if they are okay for ingesting.

Avoid Using Essential Oils Altogether if:

Your medical history indicates it

If you have a medical history that indicates you should avoid essential oils, please do not go against medical advice. This could include an allergy or history of certain reactions. Epilepsy is another indicator that is often referenced when it comes to avoiding essential oils.

Ready to start using Essential Oils?

essential oils in pregnancy

I had used several essential oils here and there before but I didn’t realize the difference in quality between many oils you find on the shelves or online versus Young Living oils. Did you know that the regulation around essential oils is pretty nonexistent so companies can claim to have a 100% pure essential oil when actually it’s packed with synthetics or diluted?

You can tell a difference right away when you smell Young Living essential oils and their Seed to Seal commitment was what really sold me on exclusively using their oils.

Once I started using Young Living essential oils during my most recent pregnancy, I was instantly hooked. I use oils every single day for emotional support, sleep support, immune support and skin support—to name a few!

The cool thing about Young Living is when you become a member you are joining a “team” and if you’re joining my team, you get access to so many amazing resources like private Facebook groups (we have one specifically for pregnancy, nursing, and babies!), ebooks, online courses and so much more!

If you want to join me, you can learn more about getting started here.

Babywearing with the Boppy ComfyFit Baby Carrier

This post was sponsored by Boppy and I received the Boppy ComfyFit Baby Carrier to review. As always, I only recommend products that I love and all thoughts and opinions are my own. #ad, #sponsored, #BoppyBabyCarrier, #NeverNotAMom

comfyfit carrier boppy

I’ve been a fan of babywearing ever since my daughter was born seven years ago but back then we just had one (kind of ugly) baby carrier. It got the job done but it wasn’t exactly exciting to wear. The babywearing industry has blown up in the last seven years and now there are so many options for all ages and stages of babyhood. I love babywearing our third baby, not only for the amazing snuggles but also because it frees up my hands to help my older two kiddos with whatever they need.

I recently got to try the Boppy ComfyFit Baby Carrier which was different that any baby carriers I’ve tried so far. The material is similar to yoga apparel with a little stretch but still really supportive. It’s kind of a hybrid between a structured carrier and a wrap which means it’s really pretty but also super easy to use. When we went as a family to a local outdoor restaurant, it was so nice to pop the baby into the Boppy ComfyFit when he started getting fussy on my husband’s lap.

babywearing

I love how easy it is to quickly put on, just one buckle in the back and then the straps are easy to grab, cross in the back and tie off with a double knot in the front. You can wear baby parent-facing or forward-facing but since Harvey is still under 6 months old, I’m keeping him facing me—soaking up all the baby cuddles while I can! It was so funny, I hadn’t had him in the carrier more than five minutes when a pregnant mama came up to me to ask how I liked the carrier because she had just ordered one for herself! You can find the Boppy carrier at BuyBuyBaby! I love how common babywearing is now and will really miss this stage when it’s over.

comfyfit carrier by boppy

boppy comfyfit carrier

kid friendly restaurant austin

Family of Five

Capturing Our Family at Home

We’re a couple months into our Year in the Life documentary photography package with Heather Gallagher and I’m in love with the most recent images. The package started with maternity photos, then birth photos and will culminate with Harvey’s 1st birthday. I just know this year is going to fly by (as they tend to do) and I’m so excited to have so many memories captured by Heather.

This most recent session was a more intentional family session with a few posed shots (kind of necessary to get all five of us in one frame!) but we were still in the comfort of our home where our kids were free to be themselves (for better or worse ha!). I’m not a fan of props or background setups for family photos and I NEVER buy the school photos because they just don’t truly capture my children.

Heather has such a great eye (and timing!) for snapping photographs that I will always cherish. Here are a few of my favorites from our most recent session. Heather is also offering a special discount for Birth Hour fans for anyone who books in January/February (including birth even if you aren’t due until later in the year!!). Such a great deal! Contact her via her website or Instagram for all the details!

Unique Baby Products We’re Trying For Baby #3

It’s amazing how many new products and innovative baby solutions have come onto the market since we had our first baby seven years ago.

5 S’s Soothing Smart Bassinet

snoo

When parents ask me what book to read to prepare for taking care of a newborn, I always recommend Happiest Baby on the Block (or even the dvd if you are too sleep deprived to read a book!). We used the 5 S’s (swaddle, side or stomach position, shush, swing, and sucktechnique with both of our kids and it was a life saver when they had an inconsolable evening! So when I saw the SNOO bassinet from Dr. Knapp who wrote the Happiest Baby on the Block at a baby show a couple of years ago (before we were ever expecting), I was intrigued. Yes at first glance, the straight jacket in a cradle was a little odd looking but learning more about the product and it’s intuitive design and then remembering how badly my arms and neck would hurt after doing the swinging/side position myself for hours on end, I was sold. This is a high ticket item but if you consider the price of a night nanny or you know, your sanity, it might be worth it. Some stores are also piloting a program for renting the SNOO for a monthly fee which I think is genius!

Swaddles with Different Positioning Options

I am all about swaddling and with our first two babies, we swaddles as long as humanly possible! I was excited to learn about a few new designs that give babies a little more freedom of movement while still leaving them feeling super secure. We’re excited to try these from Love2Dream.

Handy Changing Station Products

Skip Hop has this genius diaper caddy that has a touch light so you can see your supplies at night without turning on a bright light. I’m also super excited to use their changing pad that doesn’t require covers and can just be wiped clean. I remember going through like 5 covers a day sometimes and even just giving up and laying a towel down!

We are also using a diaper pail for the first time ever and I’m so excited. I love that this one can hold cloth or disposable diapers and can use regular trash bags or the handy tear-off refills that Dekor makes.

Eco-Friendly Teething Toys that Won’t Mold

We had the infamous giraffe toy with our first two but after seeing one too many of those cut open to reveal mold, I threw that thing away. I was excited to discover Oli & Carol Natural Rubber Toys which are not only non-toxic, handmade from natural rubber but there are no holes whatsoever so they won’t get bacteria build up in them even when using them as bath toys!

oli and carol

Teething Jewelry

I remember teething necklaces for moms being very new on the scene when I had my first two kids. Mostly handmade shops on Etsy and such and most weren’t really my style. I’m loving how some of the new designs look like jewelry I’d actually wear and this is one fun little item for me that I’m excited about! This brand also makes adorable teethers like this taco (every Austinite baby needs one) and this bubble tea!

Willow

This hands free and cord free wearable breast pump is another product that I remember seeing the first announcements about and being so excited that innovations around breastpumps were finally being taken into consideration. I will be working from home and won’t be pumping very often but when the Willow team reached out about sending me a pump to try, I knew I wanted to give it a go and can’t wait to report back to all of you!

Washable Rugs

lorena canals

Our whole house is wood flooring so I knew I wanted a rug to soften up the nursery both for sound control and coziness. We’ve had so many rugs get destroyed by our kids that I was hesitant about it though. I was super excited to try a rug that can be thrown in the washing machine from Lorena Canals AND I also found a small faux sheepskin rug that is also washable! Cozy but still super practical for a baby/toddler? Sign me up!

We also found a really cozy faux sheepskin run to layer on top of this rug that is also washable!! I’ve wanted to add a sheepskin accent rug to the room but couldn’t figure out how it would stay clean in a nursery that would eventually belong to a toddler! I was so excited to find these on Instagram and at a really affordable price point and with different size options/colors.

Breathable Crib Mattress

This is actually our first time owning a crib so I wasn’t really sure what the benefits were of the different mattress. I knew I wanted non-toxic and waterproof and this breathable mattress from Newton fit the bill with the added benefit of being super safe for baby. Even if they are sleeping face down (obviously not recommended), they can breathe easily. Read more on their website. 

Diaper Bag with a Mission

These custom made diaper bags are so beautiful and I love the mission behind the company to hire women who have various barriers to employment to make each bag by hand. Read more about the company and design your own bag!

better life bags

Born Into This Birth Conference in Austin, TX

Born Into This is a conference for birth workers and leaders interested in the intersection of social justice, technology and creativity. The conference is an invitation to engage in a public conversation, a call to accountability, and a way to make contact across our differences in service to the past, present, and future of the field and our lives, asking the fundamental question: What were we born into?

Born into This is coming back in 2019 on June 27 and June 28 in Austin Texas. We expect talks, conversations and workshops to be better then ever before. So mark you calendars and reach out to us if would like to get involved. We are currently confirming 2109’s sponsors and would love to hear from you. Follow along on Instagram for more info @bornintothis.co

The Women Behind Born Into This

born into this

Gina Giordano Bio

Gina has been a birth professional for over 12 years. She is co-founder and creative director of Doula Trainings International and the co-creator of the Born into This conference. Together with DTI’s international network of birth professionals and the advocates at Born into This, it’s Gina’s mission to bring awareness to all births, and to reproductive justice through innovative and creative work.

Tara Brooke Bio

Tara started working as a sexual health counselor in 2001, and found herself drawn to all things that had to do with reproduction.She is drawn to the energy manifested during major life transitions, a fascination that grew to define her career. Tara has worked with hundreds of new families in NYC and San Francisco as they transitioned from couple to parents. She is the co-founder and executive director of Doula Trainings International and the co-creator of the Born into This conference.

born into this

Babymoon Maternity Photos in Kauai

I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and did a solo maternity session while we were on our family vacation “babymoon” in Kauai. I was only 27 weeks along but had a pretty big belly already with this being baby number three and I love seeing this stage of my pregnancy captured on our trip. We have a family photo session coming up this weekend and I’m now 37 weeks aka moving much slower and feeling much bigger so it will definitely be a different vibe!

My photographer in Kauai was Mallory Francks who is so talented! She really specializes in creating moody and sensual images. Looking back, I kind of wish I had had Richard come to the session too because we don’t really have many intimate style couple images and Mallory is SO great about making you feel comfortable and giving direction for those of us who are not natural models! If you’re in Kauai for a babymoon or just on a trip with your honey, I’d highly recommend booking a couples session with her. Follow her on Instagram to see what I’m talking about!

All images by Mallory Francks Photography