Using essential oils can be one of the most therapeutic things you can do, particularly if you’re going through a tough time physically or emotionally. For instance, adding a few drops of grapefruit or orange to a diffuser can give you a boost of energy or ease feelings of sickness and nausea.
And what better time to use these wonderful oils than pregnancy, right? Well…not quite.
Certain essential oils are especially notorious for causing problems for pregnant women. Needless to say, these are best to avoid. The following list spotlights some of the most common offenders. But always check with an aromatherapist before using any essential oil to understand the side effects and any interactions they may have with specific medications!
Peppermint is probably one of my all-time favorite oils to use because it’s so invigorating, but unfortunately, this oil can bring on menstruation. Avoid using it in late pregnancy, or if you easily get skin irritations.
2) Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is used by midwives as a therapy to help reduce the length of labor. There are currently limited studies on adverse effects of using this oil.
3) Rosemary Oil
This herb is said to boost menstrual flow and in certain circumstances cause a miscarriage. Since the essential oil is a concentrated form of the herb, it’s best to steer clear of it.
4) Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage oil is sometimes used in the last days of a pregnancy to strengthen contractions. Because of this, it’s best to avoid its use throughout the early and middle stages of the pregnancy.
5) Basil Oil
Basil oil contains high amounts of estragole, a compound that can cause uterine contractions. Pregnant women are advised against using it.
6) Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon could stimulate menstruation (called the emmenagogue effect) and even increase the risk of miscarriage if it’s in high enough quantity. Because essential oils are so concentrated, it’s best to steer clear of cinnamon all together.
7) Thyme Oil
Thyme is another herb-based oil that is not suggested for use by pregnant women due to potentially stimulates menstrual flow. While additional research is needed on these findings, it may be best to exercise caution.
8) Fennel Oil
Like basil oil, fennel oil contains estragole and can stimulate menstrual flow.
9) Clove Oil
Clove oil has been found to slow the clotting of blood in some cases. This, in turn, could cause more bleeding during birth, especially if you are using other blood medications.
Some other oils with possible negative effects include juniper, nutmeg, chamomile, myrrh, parsley, sage, wintergreen, white fir, wild ginger, wild marjoram, and sandalwood. Oregano, jasmine, aniseed, camphor, jasmine, and mustard are other commonly available oils that are not recommended during pregnancy because they can either trigger contractions or be toxic to the growing fetus.
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