Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Essential oils have a wonderful scent and certain medicinal properties. However, one has to be doubly careful when using such products during pregnancy, as they could have some detrimental effects on the body. Some essential oils can cross through the placenta and get access to the fetus, some mimic the effects of hormones, while some can cause early labor by stimulating uterine contractions. Some of the oils are simply toxic in nature for adults or fetus. Here the article will try to figure out all the essential oils to avoid during pregnancy.

What Essential Oils Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?

1. When to Avoid All Essential Oil

There are some circumstances when you should stay away from any essential oils. If any of the following are applicable to you, you should not use oils:

  • Have any history of miscarriage
  • Have had any instance of vaginal bleeding during the pregnancy
  • Have epilepsy or heart problems
  • Ÿ Have diabetes or diseases related to liver, kidney and thyroid or any blood clotting disorders

NOTE: You should always consult your doctor or midwife before you use any type of essential oil.

2. Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Basil: Basil oil is said to lead to abnormal cell development
  • Juniper Berry: This oil can have a detrimental effect on the kidneys.
  • Sage and Rose: These oils may cause uterine bleeding.
  • Nutmeg: It can cause hallucinogenic effects and can also cause reaction with pain medicines administered during labor.
  • Peppermint, Rosemary and Eucalyptus: These oils can cause high blood pressure, and the rosemary oil can also lead to uterine contractions. Eucalyptus should never be taken internally, as it can be toxic.
  • Clary Sage and Jasmine: Contractions can be caused as a side effect of this oil. Sometimes, a trained mid-wife may use clary sage to induce labor, yet, you are suggested to do it on your won, as higher quantity can cause strong contractions.
  • Lavender: Although lavender oil is used to regulate periods, its usage during pregnancy is not very clear. However, it is best avoided during the first trimester and can be used from the 4th month onwards.
  • Cinnamon Oil: Warm in nature, cinnamon oil is an emmenagogue, which means that it induces contractions. Also, this oil is a dermal toxin, causing irritation on you. If high doses are taken, it can cause convulsions.
  • Fennel Oil: Fennel oil contains something known as Trans Anethole, which is an organic substance. When this substance is used in high amounts, it can act like a narcotic.
  • Roman & German Chamomile: Although both oils are effective in dealing with emotional imbalances and treating skin conditions, they are stimulants to the uterine, which results in contractions and uterine bleeding.
  • Wintergreen: Wintergreen is not recommended to be ingested or even applied topically. It can cause negative effects on pregnant women, young children and lactating women, and those who have liver or kidney disorders.
  • More Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Essential Oils

Why to Avoid

Balsamite, Ho leaf & Lavandula Stoechas

They contain camphor, which acts as a neurotoxin & can cause convulsions.


It contains Pinocamphone, which is a toxin, a neurotoxin and a convulsant.

Indian Dill Seed, Parsley Leaf & Parsley Seed

They contain Apiol which is also a toxin, and can cause abortion and is toxic to the fetus.

Juniperus Pfitzeriana, Plectranthus, Sage & Savin

They contain Sabinyl acetate, which can cause abortion.

Annual Wormwood & Lavender cotton

Both contain Artemisia Ketone, which can act as a toxin and a neurotoxin.


It contains Safrole, which will be a possible carcinogen.

Oakmoss &Treemoss

They contains Thujone which is a neurotoxin and can act as a convulsant


It contains Perilla ketone, which can be potentially toxic.


As a longtime used folk abortifacient combined with certain clinical trials, rue oil can toxic and should be avoid.

What to Consider for Essential Oil Use in Pregnancy

Besides knowing the essential oils to avoid during pregnancy, it is also important to know various precautions before using them. Some of them are given below:

1. Check the Quality of the Essential Oil

If the essential oil being used is adulterated, it can increase the chances of getting an adverse response. For this reason, it is very important to get a pure and genuine essential oil which is from an authentic source.

2. Be Aware of Chemical Composition

The components present in the essential oil can have different effects on the body. If the oil contains rich amount of aldehydes or phenols, it can cause some skin irritations, therefore you should dilute such oil before using. The concentrations in which they are diluted would be quite low or they can be mixed with other essential oils, so that their irritant effects get mitigated

3. Apply Essential Oil in Safe Ways

There are various ways of using essential oils, they can be applied on the skin, diffused, inhaled or even taken orally. However, it is important to consider the safety measures before using them. Inhalation is relatively the safest way of using essential oils. It can be used through aromatherapy massage or vaporization. However, if you are exposed for more than an hour, it can lead to headaches, nausea, lethargy and vertigo.

4. Correct Dosage or Dilution Level

Most essential oils used for aromatherapy are diluted to 1-5% and do not pose risk at such concentrations. When you try to increase the dilution level, the person's sensitivity, the topical area to be applied with oil, the oil's nature should be taken into consider, regarding on the risky rate and effects of essential oil.

5. Consider Skin Integrity

If the skin is broken, damaged or inflamed, it becomes more permeable to essential oils and can have more reactions. Applying undiluted oil on such skin can be very dangerous, and worsen the skin condition. It can also cause more amount of oil to get absorbed by the body.

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