Pregnancy is an exciting time as a couple prepares to welcome a new baby into this world. Even though pregnancy is such a natural process, it seems like a miracle is happening inside the mother as a baby forms and develops. However, even though such happiness and joy can be associated with this time of life, the mother may find that it is accompanied by some physical difficulties. Because a pregnant woman’s options for medical drugs are limited, essential oils are often a relief during times when prescriptions cannot be given. Many oils are safe to use during pregnancy, especially when diluted with a carrier oil. In this post, we will discuss what oils to use for common ailments experienced during pregnancy and motherhood as well as safety data for oils to avoid during this time.
The information on this page is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be used to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness, or injury. Seek professional medical attention for any disease, illness, or injury.
When using essential oils while pregnant, it is usually best to dilute the pure essential oil with a carrier oil. A good rule of thumb is to dilute 1–2 drops of essential oil with 1/2–1 tsp. of carrier oil. For newborns and infants, dilute 1–2 drops in 2 Tbs. of carrier oil. If the oils are used in a bath, always use a bath gel base as a dispersing agent for the oils. Common carrier oils include fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, vegetable oil, or almond oil.
Essential Oil Uses During Pregnancy and Motherhood
Anxiety/Tension: Lavender, ylang ylang, melissa, or myrrh. Diffuse the oil, or dilute the oil and rub it on back of neck, temples, chest, shoulders, back, or reflex points on the feet.
Breasts: Lavender (soothes), geranium (soothes), Roman chamomile (sore nipples), or fennel (tones). (Caution: Fennel should not be used for more than 10 days, as it will excessively increase flow through the urinary tract.) Add 3–5 drops to 1Tbs. carrier oil, and massage on location.
Delivery: Lavender (stimulates circulation, calming, antiseptic) or clary sage. Add 3–5 drops to 1 Tbs. carrier oil, and massage on hips, bottoms of feet, or abdomen.
Avoid Episiotomy: Geranium. Add 5–10 drops to 1/2 tsp. olive oil, and massage on perineum.
Diffuse: Calming Blend or Joyful Blend.
Uterus: Clary sage. Apply 1–3 drops around the ankles to help tone the uterus.
Transition: Basil. Dilute as recommended, and apply 1–2 drops to temples or abdomen.
Early Labor: Lavender. Gently apply 1–3 drops on stomach or on heart area to help stop.
Energy: Combine 2 drops Roman chamomile, 2 drops geranium, and 2 drops lavender in 2 tsp. carrier oil, and massage into the skin.
Hemorrhaging: Helichrysum. Apply 1–3 drops on lower back to help prevent hemorrhaging.
High Blood Pressure: Ylang ylang, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, clary sage, or lemon. Diffuse; or dilute as recommended, and apply on location, on reflex points on feet and hands, and over heart. (Note: Avoid rosemary, thyme, and possibly peppermint.) Bath: Place 3 drops ylang ylang in bathwater, and bathe in the evening twice a week. Blend: Combine 5 drops gernaium, 8 drops lemongrass, and 3 drops lavender in 1 oz. carrier oil. Rub over heart and on reflex points on left foot and hand.
Labor (During): Clary sage (may combine with fennel). Apply 3 drops around ankles or on abdomen.
Labor (Post): Lavender or geranium. Dilute as recommended, and apply 1–3 drops on abdomen, ankles, or bottoms of feet.
Lactation (Milk Production): Clary sage (start production), fennel or basil (increase production), peppermint (decrease production). Dilute as recommended, and apply 1–2 drops on breasts. Apply peppermint with a cold compress to help reduce production. (Caution: Fennel should not be used for more than 10 days, as it will excessively increase flow through the urinary tract.)
Mastitis (Breast Infection): Lavender. Dilute as recommended, and apply 1–2 drops on breasts.
Miscarriage (After): Frankincense, grapefruit, geranium, lavender, or Roman chamomile. Dilute 5–6 drops in 1 Tbs. carrier oil, and massage on back, legs, and arms. Add 3–4 drops to warm bathwater, and bathe.
Morning Sickness: Ginger or peppermint. Dilute, and apply 1–3 drops on ears, down jaw bone, and on reflex points on the feet. Place 1–3 drops of ginger in empty capsule with 1–3 drops of olive oil; swallow capsule. Diffuse into the air, inhale directly from bottle, or apply oil to hands, tissue, or cotton ball, and inhale.
Placenta: Basil (to help retain). Dilute, and apply 1–2 drops on lower abdomen and on reflex points on the feet.
Postpartum Depression: Joyful Blend, lemon, lavender, frankincense, clary sage, geranium, grapefruit, bergamot, Grounding Blend, myrrh, or orange. Diffuse; or dilute and apply 1–2 drops to temple or forehead. Add 5–10 drops to 1 Tbs. carrier oil, and use as massage oil. Add 1–3 drops to warm bathwater, and bathe.
Preeclampsia (see also High Blood Pressure above): Cypress. Diffuse; or dilute 1:1 in carrier oil, and apply 1–2 drops on bottoms of feet and on abdomen.
Self Love: Joyful Blend. Diffuse into the air or wear as perfume.
For more information on the use of essential oils and aromatherapy for pregnancy and motherhood, please click here.
The information above is an abridgment from the Modern Essentials “Personal Usage Guide” section by AromaTools®. This information has been designed to help educate the reader in regard to the subject matter covered. This information is provided with the understanding that the publisher, the authors, and AromaTools®, LLC, are not liable for the misconception or misuse of the information provided. It is not provided in order to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any disease, illness, or injured condition of the body. The authors, publisher, and AromaTools®, LLC, shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this information. The information presented is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Anyone suffering from any disease, illness, or injury should consult a qualified healthcare professional.
Pregnancy Safety Data
It is very difficult to compile a list of oils and products to be avoided during pregnancy. Each aromatologist has a different opinion. We feel that an oil that is unsafe is an oil that has been adulterated or one that is used improperly. Oils that are diluted and applied externally and in moderation should not create a problem. This list is a compilation of the safety data contained in aromatherapy books written by the following authors: Ann Berwick, Julia Lawless, Shirley & Len Price, Jeanne Rose, Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young, and Tony Balacs.
Avoid During Pregnancy
- Single Oils: Basil, birch, calamus, cassia, cinnamon bark, hyssop, Idaho tansy, laurel, lavandin, mountain savory, mugwort, rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon, wintergreen.
Use Cautiously During Pregnancy
- Single Oils: Angelica, cedarwood, chamomile (German/blue), cistus, citronella, clary sage, clove bud, cumin (black), cypress, davana, fennel, laurel, marjoram, mountain savory, myrrh, nutmeg, oregano, peppermint, rose, spearmint, vetiver, yarrow.
For more information on which oils are safe to use during pregnancy and under what conditions, refer to the Essential Oils & Blends Quick Usage Chart at the back of Modern Essentials by AromaTools®.
For more information about general essential oil safety, see Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.