Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Essential Oils to avoid during pregnancy
Mugwort should never be used during pregnancy.

I cringe when I hear pregnant women say that an essential oil is natural and therefore safe to use during pregnancy. Essential oils are very potent natural tools.  It can take close to 4000 pounds of a plant to equal 1 pound of an essential oil.  They work well and are natural, but they need to be respected for their potency; thoughtful consideration should be used before applying an essential oil to your skin, especially during pregnancy.

The following herbal oils have been linked to miscarriage or complications and should never be used by a pregnant woman in the form of essential oils. Thankfully, most of these essential oils are not among the oils most commonly used:

  • Angelica Oil
  • Bitter Almond Oil
  • Boldo Leaf Oil
  • Buchu Oil
  • Calamus Oil
  • Camphor Oil
  • Cedarwood Oil
  • Chamomile Oil
  • Clary Sage Oil
  • Fennel Oil
  • Ginger Oil
  • Horseraddish Oil
  • Hyssop Oil
  • Jasmine Oil
  • Lemon Oil
  • Marjoram Oil
  • Mugwort Oil
  • Parsley Seed Oil
  • Pennyroyal Oil
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Rue Oil
  • Sage Oil
  • Sassafras Oil
  • Savin Oil
  • Thuja Oil
  • Tansy Oil
  • Wormwood Oil

Other essential oils that are less dangerous but should still be avoided during pregnancy include:

  • Basil
  • Birch
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Melissa
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Pine
  • Thyme

This is not a complete list.

Neither of these lists are guaranteed complete.  A good rule of thumb is to make certain the essential oil you are about to put on your skin is safe before you do it, especially during pregnancy.

Some essential oils are abortifacient  (may cause miscarriage). Some are toxic to the baby. Some will just cause you significant irritation if you use them during pregnancy. One of the biggest mistakes newcomers to aromatherapy or essential oils make though, is assuming they are inherently safe and without side effects just because they are “herbal.”

Essential oils can be wonderful tools, but just as you would not pick up an OTC medication without checking if it was safe to use during pregnancy, precautions need to be taken to ensure safety with essential oils as well.

Always. Check. First.

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