Essential oils are known for their health and wellness benefits. They are natural products that can be used for self-care and aromatherapy. However, despite their natural health benefits, some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy.
Essential oils work the same way as drugs or medicines once they are inside the body. According to research, there is a possibility that the very tiny essential oil molecules may cross the placenta and reach the circulation of the fetus. There is no concrete evidence on the exact effects of essential oils on pregnant women and developing babies. This is because studies only tested oils on animals and it is unethical to experiment on pregnant women. Precautions on the use of essential oils during pregnancy are based on the knowledge and available information about the properties of essential oils.
Many medications are off-limits for pregnant women. This is why essential oils are becoming popular with pregnant women as natural remedies with very few side effects. Many moms-to-be find using essential oils in aromatherapy helpful in easing backache, nausea, swollen ankles and other discomforts during pregnancy. However, there are essential oils that expecting women should definitely avoid.
As a general rule, pregnant women should not use essential oils in early pregnancy or during the first trimester. It is believed that essential oils could cause uterine contractions or dangerously affect the baby during the early developmental stages.
During the second and third trimester, the baby is more developed and some essential oils are already safe to use. The keyword is “SOME.” This simply means that there are still some essentials oils that should definitely be avoided by pregnant women
Here are some essential oils to avoid when pregnant:
Rosemary is thought to increase blood pressure and may cause contractions.
Sage and rose may cause bleeding in the uterus.
Nutmeg may have hallucinogenic effects.
Basil is believed to contribute to abnormal cell development.
Jasmine may trigger contractions.
Juniper berry may affect the kidneys.
Other suggested essential oils to avoid are cinnamon, lemongrass, myrrh, parsley, peppermint, and thyme because they can stimulate contractions.
In general, essential oils that are known to thin the blood, cause cramps or contractions should be avoided during pregnancy. Uterine contractions may result in a miscarriage of preterm labor.
There is still a long list of essential oils to avoid during pregnancy. Some may have adverse effects on pregnancy while others may cause birth defects. Although there are no clear scientific pieces of evidence, it is still better to be more cautious and careful during pregnancy. Furthermore, it is always a good idea to seek the advice of a doctor or midwife before using essential oils.
On the other hand, it is important to note that there are essential oils that are safe to use during the latter part of pregnancy. Pregnant women should be equipped with the right information and knowledge of the use of essential oils during pregnancy and we will be discussing that next.