Is congratulations in order for you or someone you know? This article is an important overview for the women and men oilers who are expecting a beautiful child to join their family within the next few months. It will also be beneficial for their loved ones who wish to learn more on how to support them in their wellness journey for a happy, healthy bundle of joy!
Last week, I began posting answers to common questions that I receive from my fellow oil lovers. This is in hopes that those who may have similar questions, but were too shy to reach out, may also benefit. I am also looking forward to learn more from those with their own experience on the topics covered who share their comments below!
This week is Question 2: Are Essential Oils Safe in Pregnancy?
I previously sent out an E-blast exclusively to my oil subscribers that some of you may remember on this subject, but I did not post it. I mentioned this blog, by Dr. Z, as a resource for a very comprehensive review of some of the clinical studies, as well as the historic uses, of natural medicines and essential oils in pregnancy.
In his article, Dr. Z discusses five myths regarding essential oils and safety for moms-to-be. These include:
- Myth 1: Essential Oils are Dangerous for Babies in Utero
- Myth #2: Peppermint is a Uterine Stimulant & Will Decrease Milk Supply
- Myth #3: Frankincense Stimulates Uterine Blood Flow, Can Cause Menstruation and Miscarriage
- Myth #4: Essential Oils are Harmful During Pregnancy
- Myth #5: Contact Your OB/GYN or Midwife Before You Can Use Essential Oils
Dr Z. does an excellent job reviewing the studies and I feel every parent-to-be should invest the time to read it. I will continue from here with my own resources and expand on some of Dr. Z’s points below.
More Uses for Essential Oils in Pregnancy
As the referenced article states, essential oils have been used in pregnancy safely in several studies. There were two other studies that examined the positive impact of essential oils in moms-to-be not mentioned that I found fascinating. These were:
- Effect of Lavender Cream with or without Foot-bath on Anxiety, Stress and Depression in Pregnancy: a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
- In this study, a 1.25% lavender essential oil was added to a base cream to determine the benefits on mood and stress response in a trial of 141 women 25-28 weeks of gestation. It was found that, “Lavender cream with foot-bath or alone can be used for pregnant women for reducing their stress, anxiety and depression.”
- Here is a link for dilution measurements.
- The Effect of Lemon Inhalation Aromatherapy on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Clinical Trial
- In this study, 100 pregnant women received either lemon essential oil or placebo to inhale it as soon as they felt nausea. It was found that, “Lemon scent can be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.:
- Many of you essential oilers may find it interesting that the researchers used lemon for nausea. This is because peppermint is usually the most famous essential oil for digestion. For example, here is great PDF reference for peppermint and digestive woes.
The Scare Behind Using Essential Oils in Pregnancy
Many who have been using essential oils are probably aware that there is a lot of contention around the use of essential oils in tiny and developing bodies. This centers around different viewpoints and schools of applications in aromatherapy. Rather than uniting oil users with the common love for plant medicine, there unfortunately is a divide that results in heated debates. This leads to confusion at best and panic at worse for many consumers.
Furthermore, studies that don’t take into account quality, standardization, common sense use (overdoses disguised as an intervention result), medication interactions, and dosages and dilution appropriate for children have resulted in some unnecessary bigtime scares and major media hype.
For those interested, please do read some of my blogs on my database on safety and/or listen to this 30 minute webinar that thoroughly reviews the hysteria surrounding the use of essential oils in children. It appears that many of these frightening claims have been re-cycled in the blog-o-sphere without an actual assessment of all of the above factors and cherry-picking findings.
Some Additional Resources for Parents-to-Be
That being said, there are still safety considerations that must be considered for use of essential oils in pregnancy.
Under “Pregnancy” in the desk reference, there is a list of recommended oils for pregnancy. These include: Geranium, German chamomile, neroli, sandalwood, rosewood, gentle baby, lavender, myrrh , rose.
In fact, geranium has a study for its use in labor to calm the new mamma which I didn’t mention above.
The list of essential oils to avoid includes: basil, calamus, clary sage, fennel, hyssop, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, tansy, tarragon. Dr. Z’s article lists some additional oils. These oils listed are based on theoretical potential to cause uterine contractions in humans or based on their potential to effect estrogen levels, which may not be founded when used in their synergistic and pure form.
Why Else Should You Use Essential Oils in Pregnancy??
Now that you have seen some evidence that essential oils can help to make pregnancy more comfortable, another major reason to use essential oils is that they are a lot safer option than slathering on toxic chemicals and personal care products filled with fragrances and endocrine disruptors. I wrote about this in a previous blog:
It is unlikely that synthetics and isolates can exhibit the same benefits as the synergism of essential oils. Furthermore, certain man-made chemicals can actually contribute to diseases including cancer, asthma, reproductive issues, and many other health challenges. In fact, a recent report in the Lancet estimated that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) contributed a significant financial burden to our healthcare pocketbooks. The abstract states:
The disease costs of EDCs were much higher in the USA than in Europe ($340 billion [2·33% of GDP] vs $217 billion [1·28%]). The difference was driven mainly by intelligence quotient (IQ) points loss and intellectual disability due to polybrominated diphenyl ethers (11 million IQ points lost and 43?000 cases costing $266 billion in the USA vs 873?000 IQ points lost and 3290 cases costing $12·6 billion in the European Union). Accounting for probability of causation, in the European Union, organophosphate pesticides were the largest contributor to costs associated with EDC exposure ($121 billion), whereas in the USA costs due to pesticides were much lower ($42 billion).
Lavender, lemon or lilac: Whatever the artificial aroma, more Americans are avoiding scented spaces and products, a new survey shows. Fragranced products such as soaps, candles and air fresheners cause more than one-third of U.S. adults to suffer ill health effects, including headaches, dizziness and breathing difficulties, researchers said. Surveying a nationally representative group of more than 1,100 Americans, the research team also found that more than 20 percent of people quickly leave a business place if they smell air fresheners or other scented products.
This article also states that essential oils can be boosted in their benefits when used in combination with other lifestyle approaches that are important for expecting parents.
Essential oils have the potential to protect us from microbes, pollution, and environmental contaminants as they also support our respiratory tract and calm our brain. They are a safe alternative to toxic chemicals and synthetics that could harm mom and baby.
Wait, There’s More!!!
There’s Another Reason to Use Essential Oils Early On…
Did you know that using essential oils in children could impact behavior based on their smell. I go into this more in depth here.
More Resources for Using Essential Oils in Pregnancy
- My Essential Oils Database under “Children and Safety” (4 articles including a webinar)
- A wonderful book for parents who are on a natural wellness path is “Gentle Babies” and can be found here.
For Safe Alternatives to Toxic Smells
- Use essential oils for safe perfume around your children.
- Consider making a DIY body lotion using only 3 ingredients: coconut oil, cocoa butter, and essential oils!
Thanks Pixabay for photos
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and quality and standardized. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. Please consult the original study for sources. This article is not specific for any essential oil company or brand.
This information is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime.