How To Safely Use Essential Oils for Pregnancy

How To Safely Use Essential Oils for Pregnancy

Essential oils offer pregnant women a natural solution to many of their daily symptoms and uncomfortable issues they deal with. This is especially beneficial to pregnant women that are unable to take certain medications and are in need of an alternative. 

There are ways to safely use essential oils during your pregnancy and there are certain things you’ll want to be sure to avoid. We’ll get into which essential oils you can use while pregnant and the best methods for doing so, plus which oils you’ll want to avoid. It is a good idea to always consult your doctor before trying anything new during your pregnancy. 

Essential oils can cause reactions if used improperly or if you are sensitive to certain ones, so it is wise to take extra precautions when pregnant. That being said, here are some tried and true essential oils you can safely use and how to use them!

Safe Methods of Using Essential Oil for Pregnant Women 

First and foremost, never ingest essential oils while pregnant. Be sure that the essential oils you are using are therapeutic grade and held to the highest standard of purity. There are several safety concerns with using essential oils during pregnancy, including how they may interact with the fetus or with any prescribed medications you may be taking. 

To avoid these risks, don’t apply essential oils directly to your stomach, and always check with your doctor regarding any interactions your medications may have with other substances. Here are some safe methods for using essential oils while pregnant that will keep the risk of side effects low:

Start Slow

Pregnancy can increase your sense of smell and sensitivity, so be especially careful when using potent essential oils. Start with one drop and work your way up once you have monitored your body’s reaction to the essential oil. It’s always helpful to remember that less is more when dealing with essential oils—but especially when pregnant! Everyone is different and has different reactions. Learn to listen to your body and watch how it reacts. 

Diffusing Is the Best Option While Pregnant

The number one best and safest way to use essential oils during pregnancy is through aromatherapy. Diffusers distribute a fine mist into the air that’s made of water and essential oil. The scent of the oil then travels through the receptors in your nose, sending a message directly to the part of your brain that controls your emotions—the result is a real effect directly on your mood. Studies have even shown aromatherapy to be helpful in improving pain symptoms.

In addition to a diffuser, other great options for pregnant women include wearing diffuser jewelry and using a diffuser made for the car. A piece of diffuser jewelry is made from special materials that absorb the essential oil that you put onto it and release it back into the air throughout the day. 

If you’re having symptoms such as nausea or anxiety during your pregnancy, try blending a mix of peppermint and lavender onto your diffuser jewelry. Diffusers made for the car are usually placed over the air vent and distribute the scent of the oil throughout the entire vehicle. This may be a great option for down the road when your baby needs lavender to help soothe them to sleep in the backseat!

Inhaling Directly Can Be Beneficial

The second safest option is to inhale the essential oil if you do not have access to a diffuser. Simply dab a drop onto your palms and rub them together, then raise them to your nose in a cupped shape. This creates a sort of DIY diffuser with your own hands and allows you to inhale the comforting aromas of your oils. Remember, less is more!

Lather Up With a Soap

Another safe way to get the benefits of essential oils while pregnant is to use soaps infused with them. The other moisturizers in the soap combined with the water will keep the oils diluted and safe, while still allowing you to inhale their soothing aromas and reap the calming benefits. Try using a natural bar of soap infused with lavender for relaxing those tense pregnant muscles. 

The Safest Oils To Use While Pregnant

You should always check with your doctor before incorporating a new product into your routine when pregnant. With that said, these essential oils have the most research around them and are known to be the safest choices for managing symptoms, especially pain, related to pregnancy and labor. 


Many resources show that lavender continues to be the best and most popular choice when it comes to safe essential oils for pregnant women. The natural stress-relieving and anxiety-reducing effects of lavender are perfect when preparing for labor. 

Lavender is also known to help with managing and reducing pain, even through inhalation and aromatherapy. We say lavender is the absolute number one choice for comforting your pregnancy symptoms. Try diffusing it at night for extra help falling asleep, especially if you have trouble getting comfortable!


Peppermint is one of the top choices for many pregnant women when battling nausea and headaches. Peppermint essential oil is known to provide natural relief from small pains and gastrointestinal issues, making it a great option for when pregnancy requires restrictions from certain pharmaceutical pain medications. 

Another great thing about peppermint is that it makes a lovely combination when blended with lavender. The spicy mint scent mixes well with the herbal tones of lavender for a pregnancy-friendly and calming blend. 


A study done on women in labor showed a decreased level of anxiety in those that inhaled orange essential oil. The citrus scent of orange is a mood booster that can help you manage your stress and anxiety. The uplifting scent of orange blends well with lavender for the perfect blend to help you feel less anxious as you get ready for the birthing process.


Rose essential oil is found to be similar to lavender in its safety, pain-relieving ability, and decreasing anxiety. If you do not particularly enjoy the smell of lavender, rose essential oil makes a great alternative so you can still experience similar benefits. 


Chamomile is not just a tea, but an essential oil too. Chamomile is often mentioned by homeopathic practitioners as a safe option for pregnant women seeking relief through the use of essential oils. 

Chamomile has calming properties and makes a great addition to your nighttime diffuser blend to help you fall asleep. It is also known to help with fighting symptoms of anxiety, indigestion, and inflammation. 

Ylang Ylang

The sweet floral scent of ylang-ylang essential oil has been known to help relax and calm pregnant women. It is also said to help boost your mood, improve sleep quality, and help with symptoms of depression. Ylang ylang is a lovely scent that blends well with lavender, orange, and chamomile. Create your own relaxing pregnancy blend with these safe essential oils!

Quality and Purity Matters

Whichever essential oils you choose to start using in your routine—whether pregnant or not—always use pure, high-quality essential oils. This means never using ones with added fillers or mysterious sources. Aim to use therapeutic grade essential oils, preferably ones that are GC-MS tested

GC-MS tested refers to Gas Chromatography with Mass Spectrometry, which is a method of separating volatile compounds in natural products and identifying each component and their percentages. 

Essential Oils To Avoid While Pregnant

Studies show there are some essential oils that should be avoided while pregnant. This is because they have the potential to be toxic to the fetus (when used at high levels), may induce early contractions, can cross the placental barrier, or can interact with your hormones or medications in negative ways. 

It’s always the best option to play it safe and talk with your general doctor if you have concerns. Here are a few of the essential oils that should be avoided by pregnant women:

  • Basil
  • Birch
  • Cinnamon
  • Mugwort
  • Tarragon
  • Hyssop
  • Sage
  • Camphor
  • Parsley
  • Pennyroyal
  • Rosemary
  • Tansy
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

Summary on How Pregnant Women Can Safely Use Essential Oils

To summarize, there are some dos and don’ts you should know when using essential oils during your pregnancy. Be sure to see our list above of which essential oils should be avoided and always talk to your own doctor about any interactions with medications that you should be aware of. 

Diffusing the oils into the air is going to be the safest and best method for using essential oils while pregnant. Try to avoid applying them directly to your skin and you definitely don’t want to ingest them while pregnant. 

Start slow and remember that essential oils are potent due to their pure nature. Listen to your body and stick to the most researched essential oils for pregnant women, and you’ll be on your way to unlocking their soothing and stress-relieving powers—safely!


Aromatherapy: Is it worthwhile? | Mayo Clinic

Essential oils: A pain management alternative for labor and delivery | UTSW Med 

Essential oils and pregnancy | Mayo Clinic 

Peppermint oil in the acute treatment of tension-type headache | NCBI 

Maternal Reproductive Toxicity of Some Essential Oils and Their Constituents | NCBI 

The effect of aromatherapy by essential oil of orange on anxiety during labor: A randomized clinical trial | NCBI 

Exploring Aromatherapy | NAHA 

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