Safe use of essential oils during pregnancy

Aromatherapy and the use of essential oils can be extremely beneficial during pregnancy, however it is important that they are used responsibly in order to reduce the potential for any adverse effects from these wonderfully natural products. Following these extra safety guidelines will help.

Reducing the %

Essential oils are extremely concentrated and need to be diluted before use.  Typical % inclusion rates for essential oils in aromatherapy blends varies between 1 to 5%. During pregnancy it is important to use lower % dilutions in the region of 1 to 2% - equal approximately 10 drops essential oil to 2 tablespoons of vegetable/base oil for body oils. In the bath add up to 8 drops of essential oil to the tub and mix well before getting in.

Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Use of essential oils should be restricted or avoided during the first trimester of pregnancy, but they have many wonderful uses in the last two trimesters and especially during labour.

The following list contains oils that should be avoided* during pregnancy:

  • Basil

  • Cedarwood

  • Cinnamon

  • Clary sage (OK during labour)

  • Clove

  • Cypress (OK after 5 months)

  • Fennel

  • Hyssop

  • Jasmine (OK during labour)

  • Juniper

  • Lemongrass

  • Myrrh

  • Parsley

  • Pennyroyal

  • Peppermint

  • Rosemary

  • Sweet marjoram

  • Thyme

*Note: Since it would be highly unethical to test on pregnant women, the list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy is based on knowledge of the general properties of each essential oil. For obvious reasons, during pregnancy it is recommended to avoid essential oils which are known to thin the blood or cause cramping or contractions. Used under proper dilution, most of these oils should not cause any problems during a healthy pregnancy, but it is always best to err on the side of caution.

If you are currently pregnant and have been using any of the "to be avoided" essential oils but are not experiencing any bleeding or cramping, then there most likely is nothing wrong. However, we strongly encourage you to consult your doctor or midwife and discontinue use of the "to be avoided" essential oils.

Recommended Oils for Pregnancy

Listed below are some of the benefits and therapeutic effects of the essential oils recommended for use during pregnancy:


Analgesic, antiseptic, antidepressant, uplifting, and refreshing. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.


Antiseptic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Soothes pain from muscular aches, headaches, toothaches and indigestion.

(OK after 5 months)

Antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent and diuretic. Helpful for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and swollen ankles.


Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Helpful with respiratory congestion.


Antiseptic, astringent, sedative, warming.

(OK after 3 months)

Antiseptic, antidepressant, astringent, refreshing, uplifting. Eases aching legs and is good for poor circulation.


Astringent, digestive aid, lymphatic stimulant. Helps with water retention.


Antiseptic, antibiotic, analgesic, antidepressant, healing, relaxing. Helps soothe aches and pains of pregnancy, encourages cell renewal and helps with fluid retention.


Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, stimulant, tonic. Useful as an inhalant for morning sickness and in massage for varicose veins.


Antiseptic, refreshing, tonic, mild relaxant. Can ease fluid retention in leg and ankle massages.


Antiseptic, antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, relaxing. Useful in pregnancy to promote healthy skin cell regeneration and for easing nervous tension.


Antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, nerve sedative. Eases confusion, indecision and apathy.


Antiseptic, antidepressant, sedative, refreshing, tonic. Helpful in dealing with pre or postpartum depression.


Antiseptic, sedative.


Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, sedative. Helpful for cystitis during pregnancy.


Antispasmodic, lymphatic stimulant, calming, sedative. Helps to prevent stretch marks.

Tea Tree

Antibiotic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, disinfectant. Can be used to treat thrush during pregnancy.

Ylang Ylang

Antiseptic, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, sedative, lowers blood pressure. Restorative when overworked or tense.

As always, use caution if you have allergies or a family history of allergies. If you think you may be allergic to an oil, do a patch test first.

This information has been provided with the best intentions possible. however it is the responsibility of the user to seek the professional medical advise from a doctor or midwife when considering which oils are suitable for their particular circumstance.