Essential Oils During Pregnancy
This is a heated topic to say the least! While essential oils have been used for centuries during pregnancy, there is very little scientific data to show whether or not they are safe for mother and her developing baby. Suggestions are made for their use based off of tradition and anecdotal evidence.Oftentimes, research is initiated because of these reasons, so to say that they don’t hold merit would be shortsighted. However, because pregnancy is a sensitive time for both the mother and her developing baby, it is challenging to make recommendations based on these alone. Unfortunately, research during the unique time of pregnancy is complicated and often ethically deterred. To top it off, it is extremely expensive and because you cannot patent a natural product, there is very little motivation for people or companies to embark upon it for the use of essential oils. So for the foreseeable future, it is likely that we will have to rely upon tradition, anecdotal evidence, what we know about essential oil use during non-pregnant times and caution to help guide us.
When you begin the process of trying to figure out which oils are considered safe and which aren’t, you will likely come across a lot of conflicting information. Experts in the field often disagree, sometimes violently so. It can be overwhelming and confusing to say the least. I cannot claim that I am an expert. I can say that I have read a lot and have a pretty good understanding of essential oils as well as pregnancy. I feel safe using them on myself (even while I was pregnant), my children and my breastfeeding clients. I believe in herbal medicine and try to raise my family as holistically as possible. My suggestion is to use what I write here as a jumping off point, consult with other knowledgeable people, including your health care team and do what you feel most comfortable with.
From what I have gathered and being cautious in my approach, the Essential Oils that I have found to be Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) during pregnancy are:
|Benzoin||Jasmine||Orange (Wild, Sweet)|
|Geranium||Sweet Marjoram||Tea Tree (Melaleuca)|
Some of these oils do have a history of being emmenagogic or abortifacient and should therefore be avoided until near term. These oils are: