Once you conceive, suggestions and warnings pour in from every direction. While some may not be practicable, most of these cautions merit them, as even a seemingly normal thing like drinking a cup of herbal tea may be potentially harmful during this time. The use of essential oils is one such matter where you need to consider their benefits and risks in detail. Some essential oils can work miracles for various common pregnancy ailments, while others may prove potentially life-threatening.
Risks of Using Essential Oils while Pregnant
The components and properties of a herb are present in a highly concentrated state in its essential oil. For example, producing 1 pound of pure lavender oil requires over 250 pounds of the herb. So, one drop of lavender oil will have the same properties and effects as 20-25 cups of lavender tea. Due to this reason, experts often recommend using some carrier oil, such as coconut or almond oil, along with essential oils in aromatherapy, especially during the early stages of your baby’s development.
Avoiding these oils altogether during the first trimester is commonly advised, as over 80% of all miscarriages occur within the first 12-13 weeks.
Following is a list of the essential oils never considered safe for pregnant women, along with their possible negative effects:
Common Essential Oils Not Safe for Pregnancy
|Nutmeg||It may have mild hallucinogenic effects and interact with pain medications during labor|
|Basil||It may contribute to abnormal cell development and also lead to premature contractions|
|Common sage||May cause bleeding in the uterus|
|Juniper berry, arnica, cinnamon, clary sage, jasmine, rosemary, clove, thyme||May stimulate blood flow to the uterus, leading to untimely labor and contractions|
|Camphor||Studies have shown serious side effects of camphor poisoning, including fetal death; topical application can be harmful as it passes the placenta|
|Sweet birch||May interfere with the normal development of your baby|
|Hyssop||It contains Pinocamphone, a chemical with convulsant properties that may lead to a miscarriage|
|Fennel||Believed to cross the placenta, making it potentially harmful to your child; additionally, fennel is a phytoestrogen that may interfere with the hormonal functions of your body|
|Wintergreen||It may lead to skin irritation; also possibly harmful to your unborn baby|
|Rose, Sage||May cause bleeding in the uterus|
|Pennyroyal||May damage your kidneys and liver while also causing early contractions and miscarriage|
|Wormwood||It should be avoided both for aromatherapy and oral use as it is believed to contain thujone, a compound possibly harmful to the fetus|
Additionally, it is often recommended to avoid lemongrass, aniseed, laurel, lemon, mustard, myrrh, oregano, and pine due to the limited data available about their safety in pregnant women.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.