The use of essential oils have been shown to be safe and very helpful throughout pregnancy.  They have been used for over 25 years by midwives, doulas, nurses, and mothers-to-be and have shown no harmful effects on mother and baby and they smell bloody brilliant!

Saying this, not all essential oils can be used as some will have adverse effects on the growing foetus and you. Before I go through which are safe/to be avoided I will share the basics of essential oil usage during pregnancy:

  • Never use in the 1st trimester, only 2nd and 3rd.
  • Do not ingest while pregnant or nursing
  • Always dilute with a carrier oil i.e sweet almond or grapeseed oil and is best not to exceed 1% dilution (6 drops of essential oil to 30ml carrier oil)
  • Do not use every day – best to use the oils when you need them such as for back ache, nausea, muscle spasms etc
  • Do not add to birthing pool – the oils sit on the water rather than mix in so could cause irritation, burns or other problems from accidental ingestion to either you or baby
  • Avoid absolutes – They can contain trace of solvent (which is used in production) so could cause adverse reactions on the skin
  • Check the essential oil brand you are buying from to make sure they are pure and unadulterated. Adulterated/diluted essential oils are much less effective.

Safe essential oils during pregnancy & nursing

  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) – Do not use on skin before going out in the sun, you will burn!
  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • Chamomile, German/Roman (Chamaemelum nobile, Matricaria recutita)
  • Copaiba (Copaifera langsdorfii, Copaifera officinalis)
  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
  • Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
  • Fir Needle (Abies albaAbies sachalinensis, Abies sibirica)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia carteri, Boswellia frereana, Boswellia neglecta, Boswellia rivae, Boswellia sacra, Boswellia serrata)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
  • Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) – Do not use on skin before going in the sun, you will burn!
  • Juniper berry (Juniperus communis)
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • Lavender, Spike (Lavandula latifolia)
  • Lemon (Citrus x limon) –Do not use on skin before going in the sun, you will burn!
  • Lime (Citrus x aurantifolia) –Do not use on skin before going in the sun, you will burn!
  • Marjoram, Sweet (Marjorana hortensis)
  • Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
  • Neroli (Citrus x aurantium)
  • Orange, Sweet (Citrus sinensis)
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
  • Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium)
  • Pine, Scots  (Pinus sylvestris)
  • Rose, Otto (Rosa damascena) – Safe in the 3rd trimester
  • Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
  • Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
  • Spruce, Norway (Picea abies)
  • Tangerine (Citrus reticulata)
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Thyme ct linalool (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) – This has a very strong smell, your super powered pregnancy nose may find this too much to handle!


Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy & nursing

  • Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Anise, Star (Illicium verum)
  • Araucaria (Neocallitropsis pancheri)
  • Artemisia (Artemisia vestita)
  • Atractylis (Atractylylodes lancea)
  • Lemon Basil (Ocimum x citriodorum)
  • Birch (Betula lenta)
  • Black Seed (Nigella sativa)
  • Buchu (Agathosma betulinaAgathosma crenulata)
  • Calamint (Calamintha nepeta)
  • Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
  • Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)
  • Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia)
  • Chaste Tree (Vitex ugnus castus)
  • Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum)
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) – Avoid during pregnancy as can bring on contractions.  That said it can be useful to bring on labour if you are late.
  • Cypress, blue (Callitris intratopica)
  • Dill Seed (Anethum graveolens)
  • Dill Seed, Indian  (Anethus sowa)
  • Eucalyptus, ALL (Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus plenissima, Eucalyptus kochii, Eucalyptus polybractea, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus autraliana, Eucalyptus phellandra, Eucalyptus smithi)
  • Fennel, bitter and sweet (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)
  • Frankincense (Boswellia papyrifer)
  • Genipi (Artemisia genepi)
  • Hibawood (Thujopsis dolobratta)
  • Ho Leaf (Cinnamomum camphora)
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
  • Lanyuna (Artemisia afra)
  • Lavender, French/Spanish  (Lavandula stoechas)
  • Lemon Balm, Australian  (Eucalyptus staigeriana)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus Diffusing is ok but little rather than often
  • May Chang Litsea cubeba
  • Mugwort (Artemisia arborescens, Artemisia vulgaris)
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
  • Myrtle Backhousia anisata)
  • Myrtle, Honey (Melaleuca teretifolia)  
  • Myrtle, Lemon (Backhousia citriodora)
  • Nutmeg (Mysristica fragrans)
  • Oregano (Origanum onites, Origanum smyrnaeum, Origanum vulgare, etc.)
  • Parsley, Leaf/Seed (Petroslinum sativum)
  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
  • Plectranthus (Plectranthus fruticosus)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)
  • Sage, Dalmatian (Salvia officinalis)
  • Sage, Spanish (Salvia lavandulaefolia)
  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
  • Tea Tree, Lemon (Leptospermum petersonii)
  • Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
  • Thyme, Lemon (Thymus x citriodorus)
  • Verbena, Lemon  (Aloysia triphylla)
  • Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, Achillea nobilis)
  • Zeodary (Curcuma sedoaria)

My favourite essential oil brands:

Quinessence Aromatherapy


Neal’s Yard


There are so many great uses for essential oils during pregnancy and I have found them very helpful during my own. In further posts I will share aromatherapeutic mxitures that are great for common pregnancy symptoms.

In the meantime if you have any questions or would like recommendations I am here to help! And go ahead and bookmark this page as a reference to keep checking back to.


Laura x

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