Essential Oils for Pregnancy and Young Children

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The treatment of specific conditions and disease using 100% pure essential oils is known as aromatherapy.

Today, essentials oils are used for a plethora of things like reducing depression and anxiety, increasing energy, inhibiting hair loss, improving short-term memory, and relieving chronic itching from the skin conditions like eczema. (as well as a host of non-medical uses such as for cleaning and use with pets).

Ancient cultures used essential oils for their medicinal and healing qualities in addition to their pleasing fragrances.

In modern times, essential oils are still used as alternatives or augmentation elements to pharmaceutical drugs. There are over 150 essential oils and all of them have a purpose.

Essential Oils for Pregnancy and Young Children pin

Safety When Using Essential Oils

  • Always store pure essential oils where children and pets cannot access them
  • Stay out of the sun or tanning booth for up to 24-hours after using photosensitive oils
  • It’s recommended not to use the same oils daily for weeks on end
  • Use caution when using essential oils around those who have previously not been exposed to them
  • Unless specified, never use full-strength essential oils directly on skin
  • If using on skin for the first time, do a patch test first to test for any adverse effects
  • Check safety information for oils you plan to use
  • Never ever put essential oils near or into the eyes
    Special Note: Olbas oil is not safe to use in the eye and can cause cornea burns and blindness
  • Never ingest essential oils unless you have expert advice or knowledge to do so
  • Have good ventilation when using essential oils
  • Always consult a healthcare professional when using essential oils around women who are pregnant
  • Keep essential oils away from extreme heat sources such as flames, fire, candles, cigarettes, gas stoves, fireplaces as they are extremely combustible

Using Essential Oils When Pregnant and Breastfeeding

Mothers-to-be are often thrilled when learning they are having a baby. Some women go through their 9-months with no problems while others experience morning sickness and a host of other problems such as swollen feet, ankles, and low back pain.

If wondering if you can use pure essential oils during this time, the answer is that it depends.

Some oils are safe to use as lotions for a soothing massage and others can be used safely using a diffuser. Some oils however are unsafe to use as they might cause contractions or other complications.

Oils to Stay Away From During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Essential OilLatin Name
AngelicaAngelica archangelica
AniseedPimpinella anisum
Basil CT. (chemotype) estragoleOcimum basilicum
BirchBetula lenta
CamphorCinnamomum camphora
CinnamonCinnamomum verum
CitronellaCymbopogon nardus
CloveSyzygium aromaticum
CuminNigella sativa
HyssopHyssopus officinalis
Juniper BerryJuniperus communis
LaurelLaurus nobilis
MugwortArtemisia vulgaris
NutmegMyristica fragrans
Parsley seed or leafPetroselinum sativum
PennyroyalMentha pulegium
Rose Hip Seed OilRosa rubiginosa/Rosa canina
RosemaryRosmarinus officinalis
SageSalvia officinalis
TansyTanacetum vulgare
TarragonArtemisia dracunculus
ThujaThuja occidentalis
ThymeThymus vulgaris
WintergreenGaultheria procumbens
WormwoodArtemisia absinthium

Some of these essential oils can have adverse effects when pregnant. Cumin and clary sage or sage can cause contractions; basil can cause baby’s cells to development abnormally; sage and rose can cause uterus bleeding; juniper berry can cause kidney problems; nutmeg can have adverse reactions psychologically with any pain medication that might be given when you are in labor.

Others to avoid are fennel, wintergreen, Idaho tansy or hyssop, and any blends containing these essential oils. Stay away from supplements or herbs with these included in them.

Always consult your gynecologist if you plan to use essential oils when pregnant.

Essential oils that seem to be safe are cardamom, German and Roman chamomile, frankincense, geranium, ginger, neroli, patchouli, petitgrain, rosewood, rose, sandalwood, and other nontoxic essential oils.

Notes on Using Essential Oils When Pregnant

  • Always consult a healthcare professional if you plan to use essential oils when pregnant
  • During the first trimester (3-months) do not use any essential oils by any method
  • Always dilute pure essential oils with carrier oils such as sunflower or fractionated coconut oil if using while pregnant
  • While pregnant one’s sense of smell is generally greater now so be cautious
  • Never ingest essential oils and use diluted oils for skin application
  • If using directly on skin, do a spot test first by putting the oil on the inside of your elbow or forearm. Leave for 24 hours and do not get that area wet. If you experience any swelling, itching, redness, or soreness, wash the oil off immediately and do not use further

Essential Oils for Specific Pregnancy Woes

You would think mother nature would be extra gentle with us at this time. Having some of these miseries myself for the first 3-months of my own pregnancy I know how maddening they can be. If experiencing any of these problems or conditions, try these remedies.

  • Morning Sickness and Nausea
    Traditional Medicinals Ginger Aid Tea BoxWhat you can do, aside from saltines and chamomile tea, is keep a cotton ball or hanky with a few drops of ginger and spearmint essential oils around where you can smell it. These oils will help to reduce the terrible heartburn you feel as your baby grows and pushes up against your stomach.Another recommendation is a hot cup of ginger tea with honey. I used and stuck with Traditional Medicinals organic tea.Through the night, using citrus such as grapefruit, lemon, or sweet orange in a diffuser might help you feel better when getting up in the morning
  • Trouble Sleeping
    I recommend using a maternity pillow for the comfort and support it lends when trying to fall asleep.Lavender is a great essential oil to use in aiding sleep because of its relaxing qualities. Other comforting oils to use in a diffuser at bedtime that are restful are chamomile, sandalwood and bergamot. Some women like the fragrance of sweet marjoram as well.As mentioned before, if you’re experiencing any nausea when waking up in the mornings, citrus is the way to go.
  • Lower Back Pain at the Tailbone
    Carrying around the baby’s added weight plus your own certainly puts stress on the tummy and spine, especially the lower end of the spine.The best thing for this pain is to get a massage (could be just a partner rubbing) on the the legs, shoulder and back muscles with lavender, chamomile or sweet marjoram. Black pepper essential oil will work as well.I’d recommend using a blend for this or a pure oil diluted with a carrier oil for its spreadability.
  • Sciatica Nerve Agony
    This pain does not happen very often when pregnant, but can be agonizing.Should you feel a pain in either or both legs running from your back through your buttocks, down the inner thigh to the knee, it may be sciatica. This happens from weight on your lower spine where the disks are compressed sitting on the biggest nerve in your body.Use a carrier oil with lavender, chamomile, cypress, sweet marjoram, or thyme. Gentle exercises will help, then a warm bath.It’s advised to consult your doctor if you experience sciatica nerve pain.
  • Cramping and Swelling of Legs, Ankles, and Feet
    As my pregnancy was getting toward the end, my ankles and feet would swell. Eclampsia was ruled out by my doctor, but the swelling persisted.If you are experiencing this, elevate your feet higher than your heart. Have your partner rub your swollen areas with a blend of cypress and grapefruit oils mixed with a spreadable carrier oil.To increase blood circulation, mix black pepper and ginger oils with a carrier oil and massage into your legs, ankles, and feet.
  • Tiredness and Fatigue
    When you are exhausted, tired, and weary, use spearmint, lime, sweet orange, or grapefruit in a diffuser as an energy boost.
  • Dealing With Stress and Anxiety
    With all the hormones changing in your body it’s hard to feel centered and on top of everything. Your emotions will swing and sometimes you might feel blue.Lavender, chamomile, sweet orange, neroli, geranium, or ylang-ylang essential oils will help to stabilize and sooth these emotional swings.
  • Stretch Marks
    stretch marks on stomachTo prevent and relieve stretch marks, keep your skin moisturized each day. This will help to prevent the macrophage skin fibers from stretching and breaking. Body butters are good, and so are essential oils mixed with a spreadable carrier oil.Use chamomile or sweet orange with about 6 teaspoons of rosehip as the carrier oil. Have your partner gently massage this preparation over your breasts, belly, back, thighs, and buttocks where stretch marks appear most often. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer and can be used as a carrier oil for this as well.

Essential Oils Safety Tips for Children and Babies

baby sleeping on a quilt with a knitted hat on

Children’s skin is softer and more sensitive and delicate than adult skin, so be careful with them.

Young children can be exposed to essential oils safely, but it’s recommended to always dilute with a carrier oil if using on skin, or dilute with water if using in a diffuser. Diluting the oils avoids reactions such and irritation from photosensitivity (sun exposure) on the skin.

Some brands of essential oils can be bought pre-diluted with a carrier oil for babies and young children. Young Living makes a few oils for babies and children such as SleepyIze, RutaVaLa, Gentle Baby, and Peace & Calming where you can add one or two drops of these oils to a fourth of a cup carrier oil such as coconut, olive, avocado, or sunflowerto rub on the bottoms of their feet. These are often called roller type pre-blendeds.

READ MORE: Essential Oils that are Safe for Babies and Children

Carrier Oils

carrier oils infographic showing different types of carrier oils

As a lot of the recommendations here talk about mixing pure essential oils with a carrier oil, I’ll talk a little about carrier oils, what they are, and how to mix them with pure oils.

What are Carrier Oils?

Carrier oils are oils that mix with pure essential oils to help spread onto the skin for healing. Typically they are produced from the oily part of a seed or a nut.

Most carrier oils can be used alone or combined with other essential oils. A lot of carrier oils contain natural compounds that will safeguard the skin’s natural oil (lipids) and help hydrate it to stay healthy and glowing. Most natural carrier oils will absorb into the skin without leaving any film or residue on the skins surface.

There are synthetic carrier oils, which use added chemical compounds to replicate the feel of a natural carrer oil, but it’s recommended to stay away from these synthetic oils.

Mixing Guidelines for Essential Oil and Carrier Oils

Applying essential oils topically can be hard, and in some cases dangerous if you don’t use a carrier oil such as olive or coconut oil to help spread it around and absorb into the skin. The smooth flow of a carrier oils helps the essential oil spread evenly over the skin you are applying it to. Here are some guidelines for mixing essential oils the right amount to carrier oil.
Diluting essential oils mixing chart

Best Carrier Oils for Beginners, Intermediaries, and Advanced Users

For healthy glowing skin try some of  these carrier oils.

  • Argan Oil

    Argan Oil has a lot of vitamin E, a fat-soluble compound which will help soften your skin and is great to fight skin aging. It will tighten skin, is not oily, and absorbs into pores nicely.

  • Avocado Oil

    Avocado Oil contains vitamins A, D, and E, and omega-3 fatty acids to be a complete moisturizer. It will calm inflammation with its substantial number of antioxidants and high steroilins (plant fats), and helps to heal sun damage, brown aging spots, eczema, and discolorations. Plant fats from avocados also help boost the immune system.

  • Evening Primrose Oil

    Evening Primrose Oil happens to be right for most types of skin with its high amount of the fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid to dissolve sebum that clogs pores. This oil fights acne by reducing tissue inflammation, irritation, redness, and soreness. This oil is used to treat skin contaminations known as “impurities”, and is used on older skin to improve elasticity, cell structure, lessen wrinkles, dryness, and helps heal psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema conditions.

  • Jojoba Oil

    Jojoba Oil is a great moisturizer for dry, normal, and oily skin types. This oil is similar in structure to the skin’s sebum (the fatty lubricant from the sebaceous glands of the skin) which helps it absorb and dissolve it. Jojoba oil reduces inflammation, and feels light on the face.

  • Olive Oil

    Olive Oil is famous in the kitchen with cooks because of its fatty acids. It has a high concentration of triglyceride esters and oleic acid (the most abundant fatty acid in human adipose or fat tissue). Being heavy, it dries slower than most carrier oils. Be sure to buy only 100% pure unadulterated olive oils as a carrier oil.

  • Rose Hip Oil

    Rose Hip Oil is a great carrier oil for dry skin, mature skin nurturing, and to replenish and renew all skin types to a more youthful appearance. It seems to enhance elasticity, firm up tissue, and is wonderful for reducing scar tissue, redness from irritation, and swelling. Try rose hip seed oil for its rejuvenating and revitalizing potential.

  • Tamanu Oil

    Tamanu Oil is full of fatty acids which fight acne, and are effective against bacteria and unwanted oxidants. It will heal inflamed and irritated skin, scars, stretch marks, sunburns, and most skin irritations.

READ MORE: Best Essential Oils for Your Skin

Final Thoughts

Pregnancy is a journey in itself, and essential oils can be a great aid in that journey if used correctly. again, be sure to consult your doctor before using essential oils if pregnant.


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No Medical Advice

IMPORTANT: We wrote this article to be helpful with educational and informational purposes only. The information in this article is not meant to convey medical advice and does not constitute the practice of medicine. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, qualified medical advice from a professional. See our full medical disclosure for more.