doTERRA, Essential Oils, Holistic Practices

Essential Oil Safety While Pregnant

Essential oils have become hot in the last few years. They’re cropping up in all sorts of ways, with a myriad of uses described in blogs, on websites, etc. Sometimes, the countless suggested uses are enough to have one’s head spinning, and it always seems that each suggestion is a harmless way to use the oils.


However, that’s not always the case. Some oils aren’t good for certain times of life. Take pregnancy. If the wrong oils are used while pregnant, it can cause toxicity during gestation of the baby. Certain constituents within the oils can cause more harm than good. Below are a few examples:


  • Camphor: while in the majority of cases, the babies were born safely, camphor seems to induce labor and toxicity buildup (within the mother, at the very least).
  • Sabinyl acetate: considered very dangerous to use while pregnant, this component crosses the placenta and induces abortion.
  • Salicylates: studies done with rats conclude that when given, these produce dose-dependent congenital abnormalities.


Although most of the studies mentioned in Essential Oil Safety are done on rats, there is some concern backed by evidence that certain oils pose risks–some of which are very serious–to unborn children. Below are two lists of contraindicated oils during pregnancy/lactation and those that should be used in limited quantities while pregnant and lactating.


Essential Oils to Avoid Throughout Pregnancy and Lactation

Anise                                              Hyssop (pinocaphone CT)

Anise (star)                                    Lanyana

Araucaria                                       Lavender (Spanish)

Artemisia vestita                            Mugwort (common, camphor/thujone CT)

Atractylis                                        Mugwort (great)

Birch (sweet)                                  Myrrh

Black seed                                      Myrtle (aniseed)

Buchu (diosphenol CT)                   Oregano

Buchu (pulegone CT)                     Parsley leaf

Calamint (lesser)                            Parsleyseed

Carrot seed                                    Pennyroyal

Cassia                                             Rue

Chaste tree                                    Sage (Dalmatian)

Cinnamon bark                               Sage (Spanish)

Costus                                            Savin

Cypress (blue)                                Tansy

Dill seed (Indian)                             Thuja

Fennel (bitter)                                 Western red ceder

Fennel (sweet)                                Wintergreen

Feverfew                                         Wormwood (all chemotypes)

Benipi                                               Wormwood (sea)

Hibawood                                         Wormwood (white)

Ho leaf (camphor CT)                       Yarrow (green)



Essential Oils to Restrict During Pregnancy and Lactation

Basil (lemon)                                    Myrtle (honey)

Boswellia papyrifera                        Myrtle (lemon)

Champaca (orange) absolute          Nastertium absolute

Lemon balm (Australian)                  Tea tree (lemon-scented)

Lemongrass                                      Thyme (lemon)

May chang                                        Verbena (lemon)



I should like to note, in closing, that essential oils are much more powerful than their whole food/plant counterparts. For example, one drop of peppermint oil is roughly 28 cups of peppermint tea. Therefore, just because an oil like cinnamon is contraindicated while pregnant doesn’t mean that you cannot still enjoy a little bit of cinnamon powder in some applesauce.



Tisserand, Robert and Young, Rodney. Essential Oil Safety, Second Ed. New York, NY, 2014; p. 147-163.


1 thought on “Essential Oil Safety While Pregnant”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s