There are essential oils that are safe or breastfeeding and pregnancy. There is no doubt, some oils are safe and some are not. The more you use, the more you absorb, so don’t use essential oils every day during pregnancy. Reserve essential oil use for health support, such as relieving nausea, calming anxiety, or supporting sleep. By minimizing use, essential oils can be safely used in times of need.
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How to use essential oils
- Skin application – properly diluted – is a preferred method of use because the essential oils are slowly absorbed over time
- Diffusion is another preferred method of use because the amount absorbed is relatively small
- Steam inhalation is sometimes considered appropriate, but it should only be used for short periods of time
- Internal, rectal, or vaginal use is not recommended
- Absolutes and solvent-extracted oils should be avoided because they may have residues in them that could be harmful
What dilution is best for pregnant and breastfeeding mamas?
About 1% (3 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil) is recommended for whole body use while pregnant or breastfeeding, and no more than 4% (12 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil) is recommended for smaller areas. (Source: Essential Oil Safety) Many aromatherapists recommend using essential oils on an as-needed basis rather than routine daily use.
Safe oils for women during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Here is a list of essential oil that are safe for you at this time:
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – Bright, clean, uplifting citrus scent. Bergamot is phototoxic unless you purchase one that is filtered to be bergaptine-free. If not using bergaptine-free, a maximum dilution of 0.4% (about 5 drops in 4 tablespoons carrier oil) is recommended to avoid phototoxicity. (source: Essential Oil Safety)
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum) – Helpful for relaxing muscles
- Blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) -Also called Moroccan blue chamomile, this oil has skin soothing properties. Calming. May also promote feelings of being clear-headed when pollen counts are high.
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – Relaxing. Supports restful sleep. Also very useful in homemade bug spray.
- Cedarwood Atlas/Atlantica (Cedrus atlantica) – Calming. Helpful for relaxing muscles
- Cedarwood Virginian (Juniperus virginiana) – Lovely woodsy scent, relaxing and beneficial for skin. It’s also one of the recommended oils in my homemade vapor rub.
- Chamomile/German (Matricaria chamomilla L) – Relaxing, helpful for sleep, may support clear thinking when pollen counts are high
- Chamomile/Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) – Relaxing, helpful for sleep, helpful for relaxing muscles
- Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus) – Great addition to homemade bug spray. Can also be used to make outdoor citronella candles.
- Copaiba balsam (Copaifera officinalis) – Supports healthy respiratory function and helps relax muscles
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) – Can be helpful for soothing a mild upset tummy. Calms emotions.
- Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) – Supports healthy respiratory function. Thought to have an emotionally grounding effect during challenging experiences.
- Dill weed (Anethum graveolens) – Supports digestion and immune function.
- Fir needle (Abies sibirica) – Supports healthy respiratory function
- Frankincense carteri (Boswellia carteri) – Immune support, helpful for soothing cuts, bruises and other injuries, relaxing, also thought to promote youthful looking skin
- Frankincense frereana (Boswellia frereana) – Immune support, helpful for soothing cuts, bruises and other injuries, relaxing, also thought to promote youthful looking skin
Frankincense serrata (Boswellia serrata) – Calming, thought to promote youthful looking skin. Supports healthy respiratory function and digestion.
- Frankincense sacra (Boswellia sacra) -Calming, thought to promote youthful looking skin. Supports healthy respiratory function and digestion.
- Geranium bourbon (Pelargonium x asperum) – Very helpful in homemade tick spray, relaxes muscles
Ginger root CO2 extract (Zingiber officinalis) – Helpful for soothing symptoms associated with nausea and heartburn, supports overall digestion. Relaxes muscles.
- Grapefruit/Pink (Citrus x paradisi) – Uplifting. Can cause photosensitivity. Maximum recommended topical use is 4% (4 drops per teaspoon of carrier oil)
- Helichrysum italicum (Helichrysum italicum) – Considered one of the top oils for promoting youthful skin, helpful for scars, and supportive of the immune system. Rare and somewhat expensive.
- Juniper berry (Juniperus communis) – Calming, supports healthy respiratory function
- Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia)- Calming, helpful for soothing bug bites, sunburns, and other skin irritations. Relaxes muscles, helpful for sleep.Studies, including this one from 2016, have shown that when used properly, lavender is an excellent aromatherapy treatment that encourages relaxation, especially during labor and delivery — a stressful moment.
- Lemon/cold-pressed (Citrus x limon) – Mood lifting, supports immune function. Can cause photosensitivity (a heightened/abnormal reaction of the skin when exposed to light, especially sunlight). Maximum recommended topical use is 2% (12 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil)
- Lemon eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) – Mood lifting, supports healthy respiratory function, and can also be used in homemade bug spray
- Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) – Calming
- Marjoram/Sweet (Origanum majorana) – Relaxing, helpful for sleep.
- Neroli (Citrus x aurantium var.amara) – Often used in skincare products due to it’s ability to promote beautiful skin. Thought to be helpful for easing emotional tension.
- Orange, Blood (Citrus sinensis) – Mood lifting
- Orange, sweet (Citrus sinensis) – Mood lifting
- Patchouli (Pogostemon Cablin) – Thought to promote youthful skin. Great addition to men’s personal care products, like homemade deodorant or body wash.
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)–Supports digestion and relaxes muscles. Okay for pregnancy but avoid during breastfeeding because it may reduce milk supply.
- Petitgrain (Citrus x aurantium) – Thought to be beneficial for skin, especially oily skin.
- Pine (Pinus Sylvestris) – Supports healthy respiratory function and relaxes muscles
- Rosalina (Melaleuca ericifolia) – Supports healthy respiratory function (similar to eucalyptus), relaxes muscles
- Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora) – Mood lifting, soothing for minor scrapes and skin irritations.
- Sandalwood/Australian (Santalum Spicatum) – Calming, thought to be helpful for oily skin
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – Helpful for digestion. Maximum recommended topical use is 1.7% (about 10 drops in two tablespoons carrier oil)
- Spruce Black (Picea Mariana) – Supports healthy respiratory and immune function.
- Tangerine (Citrus reticulata) – Immune support. Bright, uplifting citrus scent
- Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – Immune support, helpful for cuts and scrapes. Also considered helpful for acne-prone skin.
- Thyme linalool (Thymus vulgaris)
- Vetiver (Vetivereria zizanoides) – Calming
- Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) – Relaxing. Helpful when you’re in de-stress mode.
Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding
- May chang, Litsea cubeba – Maximum recommended dilution is 0.8% (about 5 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Melissa, Melissa officinals – Calming and uplifting, supports immune function. Maximum recommended dilution is 0.9% (about 11 drops in 4 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Myrtle (honey), Maleleuca teretifolia – Maximum recommended dilution is 0.9% (about 11 drops in 4 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Myrtle (lemon), Backhousia citriodora – Maximum recommended dilution is 0.7% (about 4 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Nasturtium absolute, Tropaeolum majus – Maximum recommended dilution is 0.26% (about 3 drops in 4 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Tea tree (lemon-scented), Leptospermum peteronii – Maximum recommended dilution is 0.8% (about 5 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Thyme (lemon), Thymus lanuginosus var. citriodorum – Maximum recommended dilution is 3.7% (about 22 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Verbena (lemon), Aloysia citriodora – Maximum recommended dilution is 0.9% (about 11 drops in 4 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Basil (lemon), Ocimum x citriodorum – Maximum recommended dilution is 1.4% (about 17 drops in 4 tablespoons of carrier oil)
- Boswellia papyrifera – Maximum recommended dilution is 1.7% (about 10 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Champaca (orange) absolute, Michelia champaca – Maximum recommended dilution is 17.5% (about 105 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Lemon balm (Australian), Eucalyptus staigeriana – Maximum recommended dilution is 3.4% (about 41 drops in 4 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Lemon leaf, Citrus x limon – Maximum recommended dilution is 1.2% (about 7 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil)
- Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus – Uplifting, works well as an addition to homemade citronella candles. Maximum recommended dilution is 0.7% (about 4 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil).
Guidelines for using oils while pregnant
The first trimester is of course the most vulnerable, so avoid using essential oils during the first trimester. The first trimester is the most critical period during pregnancy, and any risk of exposing the fetus to a toxic substance should be avoided at all costs.
But in your second or third trimesters, keep the following safety protocols in mind when you’re using approved essential oils.
Don’t ingest essential oils
Even if you aren’t pregnant, essential oils aren’t meant to be taken orally unless under the direct supervision of an expert or physician. Many essential oils can pose toxicity risks when ingested — for you and potentially your baby.
Focus on aromatherapy
For the most part, medical experts agree that aromatherapy is a safer option for pregnant women as opposed to topical applications. This simply means that you should use your essential oils in a diffuser rather than applying them to your skin.
Lets mix it right
Regardless of whether you’re pregnant or not, if you do decide to use oils topically, you’ll need what’s known as a carrier oil to do so safely. This is because essential oils are very concentrated and can irritate skin when applied directly without being diluted.
Common carrier oils include:
- sweet almond
Pregnant women should always speak with their physician or homeopathic expert before attempting to use them topically.
Don’t exceed dosage recommendations
While there aren’t any studies showing that normal use of essential oils is dangerous, exceeding the recommended dosages can be — especially if you’re using them topically. Carefully dilute the oils.
Essential oils are a beautiful part of our lives. They are good. As a pregnant or breastfeeding or pregnant mama, you should be aware of what is safe and what is not. Thank you for stopping by today. I hope your breastfeeding journey is going very well. I wish you a safe pregnancy and breastfeeding experience. Please like or comment if you like.
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