The World of Pregnancy

Essential Oils To Avoid During Pregnancy

Aromatherapy can be quite beneficial during pregnancy and helps reduce some of the sufferings and troubles that often women experience during the 9 months of pregnancy.

Essential Oils To Avoid During Pregnancy

However, there are some compounds from these essential oils that have similar components with hormones due to their molecular structure, and although there aren`t solid evidence of the effects of estrogen oils, it`s rather prudent to avoid anethole-rich oils like fennel and anise during pregnancy.

Essential oils have a high concentration of substances extracted from plants. They are strong, so it`s important to use the prudently while pregnant. They also contain chemicals that can be absorbed by your organism.

Essential oils can be diluted with massage-based oil or put in a vaporizer to inhale them. Once they reach our body, they function the same way as drugs or medications. – Read more!

Because the molecules from essential oils are very small, there`s the possibility for them to pass through the placenta and reach the baby`s circulation.

There are too many studies that could say what effects essential oils could have on a developing fetus. The studies that were made by now were only on animals and they have different results. However, your baby may be in danger if you use large amounts of essential oil.

Aromatherapy & Pregnancy

According to a study performed by scientists from the United States, aromatherapy makes us feel better, but it doesn`t heal us from any illness. Researchers from the Ohio State University chose 2 particularly popular aromas used in aromatherapy – lavender and lemon – and conducted a series of tests to find out more about their efficacy.

The study has showed that both lavender and lemon seemed to really improve mood, but nothing more. The study was later published in the Psychoneuroendocrinology journal. Thus, it was found that both these flavors have no effect when it comes to stimulating immunity, controlling pain or wound healing. In some experiments, even distilled water showed more positive effects.

Read more on Stretch Marks While Pregnant: What Are They & How to Prevent Them?

However, there are a lot of future mommies who use aromatherapy and find it useful in relieving pregnancy symptoms. These signs include back pain, nausea or swollen ankles.

If you want to us aromatherapy oils, you may also want to take some measures of precaution:

  • Use only 1 or 2 drops of essential oil at a session.
  • Dilute the essential oil by mixing the drops with at least one teaspoon (5 ml) of the base oil before using it for massage. Sweet almond oil or grape seed oil can be used as an oil base as well.
  • You can add oil drops to a vaporizer, but don`t let it burn for more than 10 or 15 minutes per hour. If you leave it too long, the smell can cause you nausea as it may become too strong.
  • You may be best to start using essential oils only after you passed the first trimester of pregnancy. If you use them during the first trimester of pregnancy, always consult an aromatherapist who is specialized in pregnancy.

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Here`s the list of known essential oils which might interfere in one way or another with the period of pregnancy, but without guaranteeing or sustaining the safety of oils that aren`t included in this list:

Essential Oils Negative Effects
Agathosma or buchu Dangerous for the liver
Anise Rich in anetol
Angelica (Ruscus aculeatus) Emmenagogue
Fir tree Possible irritant
Basil Possible irritant
Deer Basin (Mentha pulegium) Toxic
Calapar (Tenacetum vulgare) Toxic
Camphor Toxic
Cassia / cinnamon Sensitizes the skin
Thyme Might cause toxicity
Cloves Sensitizes the skin
Fennel Rich in anetol
Leaves of Boldea boldus Toxic
Leaves of jaborandi (pilocarpus) Toxic
Sage leaves Emmenagogue
Horseradish Toxic
Big grass Sensitizes the skin
Grass of India (lemongrass) Possible irritant
Jasmine Emmenagogue
Juniper Emmenagogue
Hyssop Might cause toxicity
Mint Emmenagogue
Lemon Possible irritant
Cedar wood Emmenagogue
Marjoram Emmenagogue
Melissa (India’s indigenous grass oil) Possible irritant
Birch Possible irritant
Almonds Toxic
Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) Toxic
Chamomile Emmenagogue
Mustard Toxic
Nutmeg Sensitizes the skin
Calamus Toxic
Oregano Sensitizes the skin
Wormwood Toxic
Wintergreen (Pyrola minor) Toxic
Pine Sensitizes the skin
Black pepper Sensitizes the skin
Rosemary Emmenagogue
Route (Ruta graveolens) Toxic
Sage Stuffed touton content
Sassafras Toxic
Cinnamon Sensitizes the skin and emmenagogue
Seeds of parsley Rich in apiol
Myrrh Emmenagogue
Tamaita (Chenopodium sp.) Toxic
Lime Possible irritant
Rose Emmenagogue
Tuia Toxic
Nettle Toxic

You should be very cautious when choosing essential oils to use during pregnancy. Some plants can have very negative effects on the pregnancy or the baby, and sometimes can even lead to pregnancy loss. For instance, the use of laxatives, alkaloid-containing species or plant active substances. – More info!

Don`t Use Any Type of Oil If

  • You have a history of miscarriage.
  • You have experienced vaginal bleeding during this pregnancy.
  • You suffer from epilepsy.
  • You experience heart issues.
  • You have diabetes, thyroid issues, liver or kidney disease or blood clotting issues.
  • You suffer of high blood pressure.

Are All Essential Oils Flammable?

Each essential oil`s flash point is different in its own way. A lot of common oils, like lavender, citrus or tea tree oils are classed Class 3 flammable liquids, because their flash point is of 50° – 60° C.

Toxic Effects on the Pregnancy

The reproductive system is complex and there are various chemicals that act against it with positive and toxic effects alike. The most common toxic effects of these chemical substances are:

  • Embryotoxicity – Toxic structural effects on the development of the embryo (the 3 months of pregnancy). Potential embryotoxic flavor components: beta-elements, beta-eudesmol, camphor, furanodiene, thymoquinone.
  • Fetotoxicity – Functional toxic effects on the fetal development (from the month 4 of pregnancy. Potential embryotoxic flavor components: camphor, trans-anethole, thymoquinone.
  • Teratology – Toxic effects developed during the embryonic period, which produce abnormalities to the newborn. Flavor components with teratogenic potential: citral, methyl salicylate, octyl acetate, sabinyl acetate.
  • Neurotoxicity – Toxic effects on the fetal central nervous system. Flavor components with neurotoxic potential: camphor, pinocamphone, thujone.
  • Miscarriage – The loss of pregnancy. Flavor potential with abortion potential: sabinyl acetate, trans-anethole.

To Remember!

  • During the first trimester, essential oils shouldn`t be used if they aren`t recommended by a specialist.
  • Certain essential oils that are allowed during pregnancy may still cause nausea due to their strong odor. – Click on this page!
  • Most vegetal oils are allowed during pregnancy and breastfeeding, but there are still some exceptions.
  • During pregnancy, massage on the abdomen isn`t allowed. However, it is allowed to perform gentle movements using vegetal oils.
  • After birth, it`s not allowed to apply essential oils on the breasts or the axial area during breastfeeding.
  • Massage and drainage are only allowed on the back and lower limbs.
Image courtesy of beautyglimpse.com
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