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Aromatherapy essential oils in a pipette on a quartz crystal

Your guide to using Essential Oils during pregnancy

During pregnancy it can feel overwhelming, with so much new information to learn and absorb. That is why we have put together this guide on using Essential Oils during pregnancy, to help you make an informed decision on the products you choose to use during this time. 

What are essential oils?

"Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that retain the natural smell and flavour, or “essence,” of their source." Essential oils are found in your favourite skincare products, or used in aromatherapy, they are often blended with carrier oils for use on the skin.

While essential oils can help ease and alleviate the likes of nausea, aches and anxiety, it is important that these are used with caution in pregnancy.

Are essential oils safe for pregnancy?

Some essential oils can be used safely during pregnancy - it is important to consider the method, type of oil, product quality and stage of your pregnancy.

Firstly, we suggest that you avoid using any essential oils during the first trimester and wait until the second or third trimester. This is the most critical time during pregnancy, when your little one is developing their brain and spinal cord. Be sure to check the ingredients in your beauty products. Any essential oils can be absorbed through the skin and could affect your baby. Therefore, you should take all measures to avoid any risk of exposing the foetus to harmful toxins. It's important to note that overall research is limited in this space, if you are unsure, it's important you speak to your GP, midwife, or healthcare provider.

Review the types of oils contained in your products - some pure essential oils can be metabolised and release harmful compounds. We have listed some of the most common essential oils you could consider and essential oils to avoid below.

When it comes to your skincare and cosmetics, we recommend that you check the ingredients list. Avoid oils and products which contain synthetic ingredients and research the quality of the products first. Always keep in mind that essential oils are incredibly potent and should be used sparingly.

Remember to always do a patch test

At any stage during pregnancy, we recommend you always do a patch test before trying a new beauty product/cosmetic, or essential oil.


The use of aromatherapy is becoming increasingly popular, with more people wanting to use natural, essential oils in their daily wellbeing routine. Generally, during pregnancy it is best to inhale essential oils, adding a few drops to a diffuser.

If opting for an aromatherapy massage, ensure the massage therapist is a trained specialist in dealing with pregnant women.

Keep in mind that during pregnancy, some women can experience an increase in sensitivity to smell and find aromatherapy overwhelming. It's best to limit your exposure and start with a very low dilution.

Applying essential oils topically

It is best to avoid using any topical products containing essential oils during the first trimester. It is also important to ensure that they are at the right concentrations – safe essential oils must be diluted by a carrier oil, such as almond oil, before being applied to the skin. This will dilute the concentration of the potent oil, but also help avoid skin irritation.

Do not ingest essential oils during pregnancy.

Do not swallow essential oils. If ingested when pregnant, this could be harmful to your baby.

Some of the common essential oils that are safe for use (after the first trimester):

  • Lavender Oil
  • Rose Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Chamomile Oil
  • Lemon Oil
  • Tea Tree
  • Grapefruit Oil
  • Ginger Oil

Essential oils should be diluted before being applied to the skin. You could even add a few drops to a diffuser. Do not exceed the recommended dosage and only use for short periods of time.

Carrier Oils to use:

  • Jojoba Oil
  • Almond Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Apricot Oil

Oils to avoid:

The following oils may have a toxicity risk:

  • Aniseed
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Wormwood
  • Rue
  • Mugwort
  • Oak mass
  • Tarragon
  • Birch
  • Hyssop
  • Camphor
  • Parsley
  • Pennyroyal
  • Tansy
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. For The Creators has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.

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