When it comes to using essential oils in pregnancy, there is a lot of fear about what is safe to use or not.
These fears often come from using low quality products and lack of education. I wanted to give you some of this education so that you can better understand what oils you can and cannot use in pregnancy. Essential oils are such a beautiful way to provide natural comforts in pregnancy and beyond, so having the right oils and the right information is vital to doing that.
Firstly, OILS TO AVOID
(source the Essential Midwife, Stephanie Fritz)
There are two key oils you need to avoid using during pregnancy (or use with caution) are Clary Sage and Wintergreen. When it comes to breastfeeding, they key oil to use with caution is peppermint as this can reduce milk supply.
You will find warnings everywhere about which oils you should and should not use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. These were previously valid concerns because of the impurities that are prevalent in various brands of oils available and the subsequent threat they posed in pregnancy. But now that we enjoy the tested purity of dōTERRA oils it is no longer an issue.
It is dōTERRA’s sourcing and commitment to pure oils that makes them safe. Toxic oils are either harvested from the wrong species of plant, not distilled properly, harvested at the wrong season, tampered with, had chemicals and fillers added etc. This is the very reason we can use dōTERRA oils safely, because of their care and commitment to pure safe oils.
You may see mixed information out there in different books about oils and their safety in pregnancy and with your newborn. Please understand these books were written with all oil users in mind. They will be ultra conservative because their readers may not necessarily be dōTERRA users. The information I give in my book comes from personal experience in my own midwifery practice. dōTERRA has set a standard that reassures us we can use doTERRA oils with confidence in pregnancy.
During pregnancy, there is heightened sensitivity so we might use a less of the oils and always use them diluted for topical application, but they can still be used very effectively. Clary Sage essential oil is relaxing, calming and soothing. In general, women should not use it during pregnancy unless they have alot of experience with the oils, simply because there are so many oils that can accomplish the same thing that maybe aren’t quite as aggressive as that one is. After birth, Peppermint oil should be used minimally for lactating moms, but only a minor caution, it “may” decrease milk supply for some.
Other than that, oils are very well founded for pregnancy.
More science (from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy)
Read this great article on essential oil safety here – just scroll down to the section about pregnancy. Here is are two quotes from. it
“A common myth in aromatherapy is that massage oils containing essential oils such as Clary sage, rose or even rosemary can cause a miscarriage and hence should be avoided throughout pregnancy.” Authors such as Ron Guba, Kurt Schnaubelt, and Chrissie Wildwood have all pointed out that there have been ‘no recorded cases of miscarriage or birth defect resulting from aromatherapy massage using therapeutic applications of any essential oil.”
And some safety guidelines offered by Tissserand Balacs are
The following properly diluted essential oils appear to be safe for use during pregnancy: benzoin, bergamot, black pepper, chamomile (German & Roman), clary sage, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, ginger, grapefruit, juniper, lavender, lemon, mandarin, majoram (sweet), neroli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, orange (sweet), tea tree, ylang ylang.
And these recommendations do not factor in the purity of dōTERRA oils as mentioned by Stephanie Fritz earlier. All in all, you certainly need to make your own decisions and I encourage you to listen to your body , but most of all always dilute essential oils used during pregnancy.
with all that said, here are the oils I recommend and uses for them!
Now if you want to learn more about what essential oils are and why Im using doTERRA you can do there here. Otherwise, lets explore:
My top 7 oils for pregnancy
· DigestZen (a doTERRA custom blend)
· Balance (a doTERRA custom blend)
· Citrus oils (eg. Lemon, Wild Orange, Grapefruit)
· Frankincense or Copaiba
· Clary Calm (doTERRA blend)
· Lavender Peace (a doTERRA custom blend)
PLUS Lifelong Vitality supplements
Lets explore these 7 oils in more depth
This oil can support feelings of nausea and digestive discomforts – which can for many women continue through most of the pregnancy. Containing powerful oils peppermint, ginger, fennel, anise, coriander, tarragon, you often need only 1 drop of this blend to get a result! Read more on DigestZen here.
How to use – This oil can be diluted and applied topically to the area of discomfort eg stomach / intestines (like in the dōTERRA Touch range), but can also be added to your water or a hot water and taken like a digestive support tea. This oil can also be used on babies and young children so has a life span beyond pregnancy.
Balance (grounding blend)
This blend is a top seller for good reason – it smells like a fresh forest and helps to ground, calm and sooth emotions fast! If your feeling restless, uptight or worried about something this oil is brilliant. More on this awesome blend here.
How to use – apply topically diluted to places like the back of the neck, wrists and bottom of the feet for fast support. You can also diffuse this blend with a citrus oil like Wild Orange for a wonderful mood stabiliser which support the whole family.
When it comes to needing an emotional lift, Citrus oils are your friend and I honestly use them every day! These vibrant oils come from the rind of the fruit and have a very uplifting quality. Lemon is refreshing (and a great natural cleaner) while Wild Orange is fun and joyful. More on Wild orange here.
How to use – Lemon oil or grapefruit added to your water can support liver function. Topically, also apply citrus oils diluted to the feet or wrists for a range of health benefits and mood support. Diffuse citrus oils with nearly anything all day long eg. Lavender, Frankincense and wild orange makes a gorgeous daytime blend, or try Balance and Wild orange for a combination of grounded feelings and positivity. Lemon is great diffused with peppermint for uplifting focus and energy.
Frankincense is know as the King of oils, which means we can use him for nearly anything. Both Frank and Copaiba are oils which come from the resin of a tree, which means they have a very grounding soothing quality for both skin and emotions. These oils are also very gentle so can be used on babies once your bundle of joy has arrived! Read more about Frankincense here.
How to use – Diffuse for a calm atmosphere (lovely paired with Wild orange and Lavender), or dilute and apply topically to soothe skin irritations, prevent stretchmarks, and relax discomfort in the body. You can also add both of these oils to water to reduce inflammation in the body and support your cellular health.
Labour preparation – Preparing for labour (especially when using something like HypnoBirthing) involves daily mindfulness/ breathing practice (ask me for help with this!). Frankincense is known as a very spiritual oil and can help reconnect us with our divine nature.Apply 1 drop on the center of the forehead between the eyebrows and you will sink into meditation in no time. Make perineal support sprays and also use Frankincense /Copaiba with post natal support. Trust me this oil is amazing!!
Containing Clary Sage oil, many women are afraid to use this oil in pregnancy however The Essential midwife recommends using Clary Calm all throughout pregnancy to help maintain optimal hormone levels. You see hormones dictate the whole process of pregnancy, labour and birth, so keeping them at healthy levels can help reduce pregnancy discomforts and minimise the emotional ups and downs pregnancy usually brings.
*If you feel overly cautious, wait until the second trimester (13 weeks onwards) to use Clary Calm blend* Read more about Clary Calm here
How to use –Dilute the Clary Calm roller (I use 1/3 of it, topped up with carrier oil) and apply topically morning and night to the wrists, behind the ears, back of neck and lower belly. You can also apply it as needed for relief of hormonal related discomforts at anytime. You can also add a splash to your bath during pregnancy. This blend is a lovely smelling combination so many women like to use it daily with the added benefit of it doubling as a perfume!
Labour assistance – After 37 weeks gestation some women use this blend undiluted to encourage the uterus and give baby a nudge in the right direction. This blend helps to instil peace and balance during the last few weeks of pregnancy and especially during labour. During labour you can use this again and your brain will register the scent of this oil with peace and calmness. And after birth, rub it on belly to assist with birthing the placenta.
Sleep is important for us all, but in pregnancy and parenthood it becomes even more precious! Lavender is a common sleep oil, however I prefer to use Lavender Peace as it has additional oils added in like Cedarwood, Vetiver and Marjoram which are all soothing relaxing oils too. If getting enough sleep is real issue for you or your family, I also have a dedicated article all about essential oils for sleep here. Read more about Lavender Peace blend here.
How to use – Most often we diffuse this blend at night time, its our daily bedtime oil blend that is bubbling away in the ultrasonic diffuser in all bedrooms. You can also add Lavender Peace to your bath, make a sheet spray with it, or create a diluted topical roller to apply it for calming mod support during the day. This blend is also a great reducer of anxious feelings, and paired with Balance can make a wonderfully soothing daytime diffuser blend if you are feeling overwhelmed with planning or preparing for your baby to arrive in the third trimester.
Labour assistance and post natally – Diffuse with Balance during your labour and enjoy a tranquil environment both at home and hospital. After the birth, the sooner you begin diffusing this while breastfeeding, the better as the smell well begin to create a memory for your baby which is both relaxing and soothing. Try diffusing 10mins prior to putting bub to sleep and help them rest deeply too.
Lifelong Vitality supplements
These are doTERRAS premium supplement range which support the body with optimal nutrition of mum and baby. Get rid of Elevit and inferior chemist brands .. instead take supplements that are designed for maximum absorption into the body, for optimal cellular health and nourish your baby completely.
Lifelong vitality includes 3 bottles – one for cellular health, one for antioxidant support and one with Omegas plus essential oils added. Watch this short video on Lifelong vitality supplements here by natural health Dr Josh Axe.
How to use – If you aren’t taking supplements at present start on a ½ dose or consult your GP. Many women to take a full dose in pregnancy as recommended by the Essential midwife and their Dr.
This oil is a delightful soother as it brings relaxing qualities for both mood and skin support. Being a gentle oil this is lovely to have on-hand for when your baby arrives, so you can help with teething discomforts and much more. More on Roman Chamomile here.
How to use – Diffuse at bedtime for a relaxing sleep. Apply to skin to soothe bites and irritations. Make a bedtime roller
Mostly for its mood support qualities, this flowery oil offers soft feminine energy that is lovely diffused. Read more about Ylang Ylang oil.
How to use – Add few drops to your bath with Lavender Peace. Diffuse with Frankincense or a citrus oil for a pleasant uplifting an buoyant atmosphere. Dilute and blend for a natural perfume that is soft, subtle and toxin free.
Ice Blue (soothing blend)
While this oil blend contains Wintergreen so should be used with caution (very diluted in pregnancy) this is a great oil for sore muscles and pain management during labour. Many women get this for their partners as the powerful effect of this blend is undeniable, even to the most sceptical person! Read more about Ice Blue here.
How to use – Add 1 drop to your bath after the first trimester. Dilute and apply topically to the lower back during labour for effective pain relief that can be re-applied as often as you want.
AromaTouch (spa blend)
This blend combines deeply soothing oils to relax muscles, reduce discomfort and increase circulation. Often used by massage therapists this blend contains Peppermint, Cypress, Marjoram, Basil, Grapefruit, Lavender. Read more here.
How to use – dilute this blend and get hubby to give you a foot or leg massage to help with swollen legs in the third trimester. Dilute and use on the lower back or neck area as needed. Add some to your bath for circulation and added relaxation benefits. Add some to a foot soak. Diffuse with ylang ylang or citrus oils and enjoy as relaxing ‘day spa’ scents fill your home.
Keen to get some oils to support your pregnancy naturally?
I recommend the following kits / combos of oils as a pregnancy starter option . You can also contact me to chat further in person – I love to connect!
After you get your kit I will provide you with ongoing support, education and tips on how to use your oils so you won’t ever need to feel alone. I also welcome questions so feel free to get in touch!
About the author
Bree Taylor Molyneaux is a Brisbane based women’s self-care coach specialising in support for fertility, pregnancy + birth, motherhood + beyond. She is trained a HypnoBirthing® practitioner, clinical hypnotherapist and personal renewal facilitator with a passion for helping women bring more self-care into daily life.
Bree runs weekend retreats, offers a range of self-care classes + essential oil workshops and is available for private coaching. She also has a range of and hypnosis downloads available on iTunes. You can read more about Bree here.