Essential Oils You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

The essential oils primer every expecting mom needs.

Often touted as a go-to remedy for many aches and ailments, essential oils have quickly become one of the most popular natural products for self-care and women’s health. But just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe during every stages of life. That’s especially true during pregnancy.

You can absolutely use essential oils safely when you are expecting. You just have to know which ones to use and how to use them. Equipped with the right information, essential oils can actually be a powerful wellness ally during your pregnancy (and beyond). But first, you need to know which ones to avoid, as some of them have been linked to birth defects and miscarriage. But no need to worry, we’re here to give you the lowdown on what essential oils NOT to use when you’re expecting.

Here’s a list of 44 essential oils you should avoid during pregnancy and why you should avoid them. And if you’re trying to get pregnant or are breastfeeding, it’s a good idea to steer clear of these oils as well.

Oils that could damage our livers. This is especially true if you take them in large amount. That not only puts mama-to-be at risk, but also her unborn baby.

  1. Buchu ct diosphenol
  2. Buchcu ct pulegone
  3. Calamint

Oils that may prevent implantation. When you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it’s a smart move to avoid anything that might interfere with the embryo’s ability to attach to the uterus.

  1. Spanish Sage (possible teratogen)
  2. Anise/ Star Anise
  3. Fennel (sweet and Bitter)
  4. Myrtle/ Aniseed
  5. Wormwood
  6. Yarrow (possible teratogen)
  7. Carrot seed

Oils that can interfere with baby’s in vitro development. Substances that can cause malformation of an embryo are known as teratogens. The three oils below, along with other oils that are listed in other categories, are teratogens and should therefore not be used during pregnancy.

  1. Hibawood
  2. Sweet Birch
  3. Wintergreen

Oils that can induce miscarriages. The oils below are high in compounds that have been linked to miscarriage or have resulted in miscarriage when used in large amounts.

  1. Savin (possible teratogen)
  2. Juniper
  3. Pennyroyal
  4. Rue
  5. Parsley
  6. Indian Dill

Oils that are neurotoxic. These oils, like mercury and other neurotoxins, have the potential to damage a baby’s developing nervous system, including their nerves and brain.

  1. Aretemesia Vestita
  2. Genipi
  3. Mugwort
  4. Dalmatian Sage
  5. Tansy
  6. Thuja
  7. Western red cedar
  8. Wormwood (possible teratogen)
  9. Hyssop
  10. lanyana
  11. Ho Leaf ct camphor
  12. Feverfew
  13. Spanish Lavender
  14. Dalmatian Sage

Oils that can inhibit blood vessel formation. It’s incredibly important for blood vessels to form between mother and her placenta, and the placenta and her baby. Without these pathways, nutrients and oxygen can’t pass to the baby from mom. And waste can’t pass from the baby to be eliminated. The oils below may prevent those very important blood vessels from forming.

  1. Myrrh
  2. Costus
  3. Araucaria
  4. Black seed
  5. Atractylis
  6. Blue Cypress
  7. Zedoary

Oils that can be toxic to the baby. These essential oils may have any number of toxic effects on a developing baby. Though the oils of these three plants are thought to be unsafe during pregnancy, it’s perfectly safe to eat both cinnamon and oregano in normal amounts during pregnancy.

  1. Cassia
  2. Cinnamon bark (possible teratogen)
  3. Oregano

Oils that can alter our body’s hormonal balance. Some oils have the potential to balance hormones, which can be a good thing. But pregnant women are generally encouraged to avoid herbs or essential oils that may have an impact on their sex hormones. That is, unless their doctor tells them otherwise.

  1. Chasteberry (also known as vitex)
Kendra Tolbert

Kendra Tolbert

Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, CDN, CLC is a women’s health registered dietitian nutritionist. She helps women prepare for pregnancy, have healthy happy pregnancies, and bounce back after giving birth. You can find her over on Live Fertile, her women’s health and wellness website.

Comments {2}

  1. Chasteberry/vitex is actually good for fertility and to prevent MC in the first trimester. After two MC without it, I’m now on my second pregnancy with it and almost through the first trimester! I think it’s actually saved my babies! Always talk to your doc/midwife about what’s right for you, of course!

    FrankieJ
    1. Thanks for the tip, mama! And congrats on the pregnancy!

      Jessica Pallay

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