The do’s and don’ts while waiting for Baby.
As we read absolutely anything and everything about essential oils during pregnancy: some sage advice and some very scary & total nonsense, we wanted to share not only our advice, but also the scientific knowledge of some PhD/certified in aromatherapy and pharmacists, as well as what is scientifically published.
These informations will hopefully help you figure out what essential oils you can use (unless any particular allergy of course) during your pregnancy, and what you should make sure to avoid.
Good news for Mom’s to Be:
In the skincare industry, the EU certification requires products to have no more then 2% of essential oils as active ingredients and fragrances combined. Meaning: if you buy a natural/botanical skincare product which is EU certified, you are in the clear.
The usual list of these essential oils according to aromatherapy/Doctors specialists (source D.Baudoux, Dr Penoel, Franchomme, non exhaustive list):
The safe zone
Are authorized topically, except around the belly as of the 12th week of pregnancy: Basil, Bergamot, Hô leaf, Chamomile, Cardamom, Virginia Cedarwood (watch out, other cedarwood essential oils should not be used, see the list below), Cista ladanifère, Lemon, Lime, Cumin, Black Spruce, Tarragon, Eucalyptus Smithii, Eucalyptus Fragonia (watch out, other eucalyptus essential oils are considered to be unsafe during pregnancy, check below), Geranium, Ginger, Helichrysum, Inula Fragrant, Noble Laurel, True Lavender, Lemongrass, Lentisque Pistachio, Mandarin, Marjoram, Niaouli, Orange, Petitgrain, Pine, Ravintsara, Rose, Tea tree, Ylang- ylang.
The unsafe zone
Essential oils which should never be used during the entire length of pregnancy (either because they contain cetones in big quantity which are neurotoxic or because they contain hormone):
Yarrow, Acorus calamus, Garlic, Ajowan, Dill, Green Anise, Angelica, Siam Wood, Ceylon Cinnamon (Leaf and Bark), Chinese Cinnamon, Caraway, Atlas Cedar, Himalayan Cedar, Turmeric, Cypress, Eucalyptus with cryptone, Eucalyptus globulus, Mentul eucalyptus, Juniper, Clove (nail and leaf except delivery), Katrafay, Lantana, Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint, Nard, Nutmeg, Compact and vulgar oregano, Palmarosa ( except for delivery), Parsley, Camphor Rosemary, Rosemary verbenone, Savory, Sage officinale, Tagetes, Thyme, Valerian India.
Throughout the pregnancy, it is not recommended to use essential oils orally without an expert advice, except lemon essential oil against nausea or liver fatigue (ginger essential oil is fine too).
The interview of an aromatherapist/ pharmacist and an obstetrician gynecologist:
-What are the 3 “key” essential oils that you recommend to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and what pain do they ease?
-D. F: Only 3! it’s not a lot. Let us mention tea tree to treat any mycosis, whatever its location, the ravintsara for its antiviral properties of any kind (colds, flu, herpes …), true lavender, true universal panacea, also great to take care of scrapes, injuries, insect bites, burns, dermatitis, as well as sleep disorders, hypertension …
Question asked to DF, pharmacist and aromatherapist as well as to the professor, BA: obstetrician gynaecologist and director of the University’s Chair of Phyto-Aromatherapy of the Faculty of Medicine Paris:
Why do doctors who are not trained in aromatherapy tend to say that all essential oils are banned during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Answer: Doctors specialised in Aromatherapy obviously know that certain essential oils taken under certain conditions are perfectly compatible with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. Those who support the opposite do not know essential oils: aromatherapy training is an optional specialisation after studies just like any other specialty. Is a pediatrician ever asked about his expertise in geriatrics? It’s the same for aromatherapy. Consult with a Doctor specialized in the concerned field.
Therefore we wanted to share some scientific publications showing the uses and effectiveness of essential oils during pregnancy, for example as a potent antibiotic: The activity of commercial antimicrobials, and essential oils Olea europaea on Streptococcus agalactiae isolated from pregnant women.
Or another publication underlining the effectiveness of Rose essential oil on pregnancy anxiety and labor pain: Effects of aromatherapy with Rosa damascena on nulliparous women’s pain and anxiety of labor during first stage of labor.
Effects of Aromatherapy Massage on Pregnant Women’s Stress and Immune Function using a lavender essential oil blend. This study presented evidence that aromatherapy massage could significantly decrease stress and enhance immune function in pregnant women. The findings can guide clinicians or midwives in providing aromatherapy massage to women throughout the pregnancy.
Now that we have shared the opinion of trained specialists regarding aromatherapy during pregnancy:
The precautions of use for essential oils are already underlined in the article above, however we also want to draw attention to some mysterious claims in the cosmetic field:
Is using nailpolish safe during pregnancy?
France, who has studied osteopathy and aromatherapy, is well aware of the potential risks associated with prolonged exposure to certain neurotoxic substances during pregnancy, and has therefore made a thorough research on the substances used in women’s daily lives, not to mention the medical care field.
Now what’s the deal with nail polish and nail polish removers?
It should be noted that solvents are composed of acetone or methylcetones. In short, the substances that are declared as toxic in essential oils, become uncontrolled and unregulated for pregnant woman when using nail polish or nail polish removers.
A nail polish contains: formaldehyde (recognized as highly toxic), toluene (regular exposure can damage the nervous system) and finally acetone.
A team of Specialists in the Obstetric and Pediatric fields says: “In case of prolonged exposure and large amounts of acetone, there is a (low) risk of developmental problems and birth defects. “. The use of these beauty products is not a problem.
Our point of view is that if certain essential oils are banned during pregnancy because they naturally contain the above chemicals, the same should apply for nailpolish and nail polish removes.
Conclusion in the topic of aromatherapy during pregnancy:
Our advice based on our readings and studies (which is not a medical advice nor a prescription) would be to use only the safest 3 essential oils (true lavender, Tea tree and ravintsara ) during your pregnancy. Use the essential oils of the safety list above in diffusion and inhalation only.
Always seek professional advise for a more personalised wellbeing and health guide.
We hope that this post will help you relax as well as lessen any potential anxiety and worry. You know the saying, knowledge is power!