Pregnancy Supplements: What’s Safe to Take and What’s Not

Pregnancy is one of those times in life when you definitely want to pay attention to your nutrition and vitamin intake. You may find yourself experiencing symptoms you’ve never had before and you may be suffering from a lack of energy. For me, it was really important that I add some specific supplements to my routine during pregnancy and postpartum and I felt so much better thanks to some specific high quality supplements during pregnancy.

Why take supplements during pregnancy?

Taking supplements during pregnancy serves two main purposes—supporting your own health and ensuring proper fetal growth for your baby. Your baby needs specific vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in order to grow and you are much more likely to become depleted in certain areas during pregnancy and postpartum. Ideally, we could all get the proper nutrients from the food we eat but it can be hard to maintain a well-rounded diet when you’re experiencing morning sickness or nausea or you just aren’t the best about eating your veggies! In order to feel your best and know that your baby is getting what they need, there are a few things to keep in mind. Of course, you should always talk to your care provider when taking new vitamins and supplements. 

10 supplements that are safe to take during pregnancy

1. Prenatal vitamins

All women of childbearing age should be taking a prenatal vitamin. It’s important to be taking a prenatal vitamin before you even become pregnant because your body needs certain vitamins in the very early stages of pregnancy, namely folate. There are many different varieties of prenatal vitamins and most only require one pill per day. Experiment with different ones if you find that yours is upsetting your tummy.

2. Folate

Folate or Folic acid is a B vitamin that is extremely important for fetal development and taking it before you get pregnant and in early pregnancy has been proven to prevent birth defects in your babies brain, called neural tube defects. There is also evidence folate can reduce the risk of heart defects and cleft lip/palate. You should be taking at least 600mcg of folic acid well before you become pregnant. If you are pregnant and haven’t been taking folate, start immediately. Your prenatal may have this amount already in it.

MTHFR is a gene mutation that affects the way your body processes folate. Most people don’t even know they have this gene even though it’s estimated that 40% of individuals do. For moms with MTHFR, it’s important to take a prenatal vitamin that uses methylfolate instead of synthetic folic acid.

young living super B

3. Vitamin D

Vitamin D affects your body’s nerves, muscles, and immune system. It is also important in helping your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is crucial in the development of your baby’s bones and teeth. During pregnancy, you need 600 IU of vitamin D each day. During postpartum, and if you are breastfeeding, you should actually up your Vitamin D intake to 6400 IU or be giving your baby a Vitamin D supplement. Here’s a postpartum multivitamin called Lactation One that has 6400 IU of Vitamin D.

4. Fish Oil

Fish Oil is a great source of DHA which stands for docosahexaenoic acid. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is super important for your babies brain and eye development. During pregnancy, you need 200 milligrams of DHA and not all prenatal vitamins have DHA, so you may need to add a separate DHA supplement. Many women prefer to take a DHA supplement derived from algae instead of Fish Oil due to concerns with mercury.

5. Calcium

Your baby is going to need calcium to grow and if you aren’t getting enough calcium daily, your body will take it from your bones and give it to your baby. Sounds fun, right?! Luckily, most prenatals will have the recommended 1,000 milligrams of calcium. Other good sources of calcium include dairy, broccoli and kale and fortified orange juice.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium and is important during pregnancy. While magnesium serves the purpose of relaxing your muscles, calcium causes them to contract. There is research that shows that taking magnesium during pregnancy can prevent premature labor caused by uterine contractions. Magnesium also plays a part in growing your baby’s teeth and bones. In my personal experience, taking a magnesium supplement before bed helped with my charley horses and leg cramps. My favorite magnesium and calcium supplement is called Super Cal Plus.

7. Iodine

Iodine is a mineral crucial to your baby’s developing nervous system and is used to make thyroid hormones. During pregnancy, you need 220 micrograms of iodine every day. Iodine isn’t always included in prenatal vitamins so be sure to check the label and consider adding an iodine supplement. Iodine is also found in iodized salt, dairy, fortified cereal, and bread as well as fish.

8. Probiotics

Probiotics help your digestive system work properly. They are comprised of the good bacterias that help gut health. They can be particularly helpful if you are prone to yeast infections as many women are during pregnancy. My favorite probiotic is called Life 9 from Young Living.


9. Iron

Iron is a very important mineral during pregnancy and something many women end up being deficient in. I personally bordered on anemic with all three of my pregnancies and needed to add an iron supplement in addition to the iron in my prenatal vitamin. In fact, your blood volume increases so much during pregnancy and your baby is busy making their own blood, that you need twice as much iron when you’re pregnant!  Most prenatals will have the recommended amount of 27 milligrams of iron but if you are finding that your energy is low or that you’re frequently dizzy, you should get your iron levels checked and consider adding another supplement or upping your intake of iron-rich foods. My favorite supplement is a plant-derived iron called Floradix.

10. Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is found in green vegetables but can also be taken as a supplement. Chlorophyll has similar properties to hemoglobin which essential to your blood cells and carries oxygen through your body. My midwife recommended I take Chlorophyll at the same time as my iron supplement as they work well together. I currently take a supplement called Multigreens which is a chlorophyll formula made from spirulina, alfalfa sprouts, barley grass, bee pollen, eleuthero and Pacific kelp.

young living multigreens

3 supplements to avoid during pregnancy

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A is actually really important for fetal eye development but the problems occur when too much Vitamin A is consumed as your body will store excess amounts in your liver and can cause liver damage or birth defects for your baby. Your prenatal vitamin will have the right amount of vitamin A in it and you shouldn’t consume any additional Vitamin A supplements.

2. Black and Blue Cohosh

These herbs are often found in the form of a tincture and are used by many midwives to augment labor when a woman is past her due date or has premature rupture of membranes. I’ve personally done a black and blue cohosh regime for two out of my three births. Since these herbs can cause uterine contractions, they should not be used during pregnancy as they could lead to early labor. If using them to augment labor, only do so under the supervision of your care provider.

3. Dong Quai

Dong Quai is a very popular herb in Chinese medicine and similarly to black and blue cohosh, can cause uterine contraction so should be avoided while pregnant.

Here are some other herbs to avoid in pregnancy:

  • Saw Palmetto
  • Goldenseal
  • Passion Flower
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Pennyroyal
  • Ephedra
  • Yohimbe
  • Pay D’ Arco

Take the following precautions when taking supplements during your pregnancy

Inform your care provider

It is always a good idea to talk to your doctor or midwife before taking any new supplements during pregnancy.

Start slow

When using supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to start with a small amount and see how your body reacts. You are likely dealing with many symptoms that you aren’t used to and while supplements can often help with these symptoms, you certainly don’t want to make any of them worse.

Read the labels

One thing to keep in mind is that herb and vitamin supplements often are not evaluated by the FDA the way prescription drugs are. Many times the labels will say “avoid use if pregnant or breastfeeding” even though your care provider may have recommended it. This is because there is no official testing done to prove that they are safe for pregnancy so the company is required to include that disclaimer. Another thing to keep in mind is that the quality and strength of supplements may vary between different products or brands.

3 places to buy pregnancy supplements

Local pharmacy

Your local pharmacy will have many of these supplements and vitamins. Most large box stores like Target or Walmart also carry many supplements these days.

Health food stores

Your local co-op or Whole Foods will have a very large selection of supplements and these will often be organic and of higher quality than ones you may find elsewhere.

Online through Young Living

I personally prefer to order the majority of my supplements through my wholesale membership with Young Living. I get 24% off everything I order and they have very high standards for quality control. Several of the supplements I mentioned above are from Young Living and you can find out more about getting your own wholesale membership here. I’d love to help you learn more!

Pregnancy is a time of many changes physically, emotionally and mentally. Some vitamins like your prenatal, folate and DHA are essential for your baby’s development. Other supplements mentioned here may give you more energy and make your pregnancy a little easier. Consult with your care provider and find the supplements that are going to be best for you.

The content shared on this site, is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment. It’s always best to check with a qualified health provider for questions you might have. Moreover, this information has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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.


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.