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Using Essential Oils Safely When Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Are you here because you're expecting!? Congratulations Momma!! You're going to be an amazing mother! I can't wait to hear about your new little one. =) You're in such an exciting season and I want to support you as you prepare for this wild new adventure, so let's chat a bit about essential oil safety during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. You already know essential oils can be incredible tools to support wellness, so today we're going to add a little SuperMom knowledge to that mind bank of yours. Ready to dive in?

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Let's start off easy with some basic guidelines for using essential oils safely when you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Generally, you'll want to run your aromatherapy choices by your midwife and an aromatherapist so they can guide you toward what is most appropriate for your specific pregnancy. While many essential oils can be used during pregnancy, some can be contraindicated based on different conditions or complications, so it's always best to check in with the professionals - your/your baby's safety comes first! Once you have the "okay" to use the oils you'd like to utilize, you'll want to follow these basic guidelines for application:

  • During your first trimester, it's best to avoid using essential oils. The exception to this rule is occasional use of a safe oil via inhalation, say - for morning sickness.
  • Limit topical use of essential oils to a maximum dilution of 1%. A 1% dilution is typically considered to be 5-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
  • Avoid using essential oils neat (undiluted) during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.
  • Avoid using essential oils daily / regularly.
  • Oral (ingestion), vaginal, and rectal applications are considered inappropriate uses of essential oils during pregnancy/breastfeeding and should be avoided.
  • It is recommended to limit your choices of essential oils for use during pregnancy/breastfeeding to those that have a history of low toxicity.
  • It is recommended to avoid using absolutes, solvent-extracted oils, poor quality oils and perfumes.
  • When breastfeeding, it is recommended to avoid using the essential oils that affect blood coagulation, such as Birch, Wintergreen, Garlic and Onion.

The graphic below highlights a list of essential oils that should be avoided altogether during pregnancy and when breastfeeding, as well as oils that are recommended for extremely restricted use only (should be under supervision/direction of a midwife and aromatherapist).

How have your used essential oils during pregnancy? Are you a midwife who uses herbal or aromatic therapies? I'd love to hear from you!

Much love,
Erin

Resources:

  1. Essential Oil Safety, Second Edition by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young
  2. Aromatherapy for Pregnancy and Childbirth by Margaret Fawcett
  3. Aromatherapy Certification Program

For educational purposes only. All photos and graphics are copyright Erin Stewart. May not be distributed, copied, or published without express prior written permission from me.