Aromatherapy During Pregnancy – Is it Safe, Methods and Oils to Avoid

6 min read

Written by Suma rp

Suma rp

Aromatherapy during pregnancy

A good scent can truly fill your mind with enthusiasm and joy. Imagine how lovely you’ll feel while inhaling the smell of lavender, grapefruit, or sandalwood through your diffuser. This is Aromatherapy – a research-approved way to ease pregnancy stress, morning sickness, anxiety, and so on. Aromatherapy during pregnancy is a good support for enjoying a soothing sleep.

The use of essential oils for healing is called aromatherapy, and it’s very easy to do. Simply open a bottle of essential oil from a good brand, and breathe in deeply. It’s one way to use it, you can also add a few drops of it to your body wash. The safe zone for aromatherapy lies ahead of the first three months of pregnancy.

In This Article

What is Aromatherapy?

A long and hectic day’s tension might urge you to unwind. Sometimes, you may have thought of relaxing comfortably in a lavender bubble bath or meditating in the presence of a fragrant candle. Whenever you try to use scents to loosen up, it’s called Aromatherapy.

Mostly, aromatherapy is done with essential oils extracted from plants. And then, they are mixed with massage oils, lotions, candles, diffusers, and so on and so forth.

Is Aromatherapy Safe During Pregnancy?

pregnant woman in lavender field

The first trimester is not a good time to benefit from the healing properties of essential oils. It can cause uterine contractions. The second and third trimesters offer a safe opportunity to start using essential oils. This is because your baby will have gone through their most tender development stages in the womb.

Why is Aromatherapy Practiced?

Aromatherapy increases the quality of life by helping you stay calm and stress-free. Here are a few reasons why aromatherapy is practiced.

1. Healing Effect

Aromatherapy is a play of scents and the hormones and neurochemicals in your brain. See, just as everything is made of molecules, so is its scent. For example, you smell the fragrance of a rose. The molecules travel through your nose and reach your olfactory receptors. Afterward, it reaches your brain – the brain responds by releasing certain hormones and neurochemicals. Thus, you feel a healing effect, or some other feeling depending on the type of fragrance.

2. Reduced Anxiety

A 2005 study published in the journal of physiology and behavior experimented with 200 patients who were waiting at a dentist’s office. Patients roamed around the waiting room, some smelled lavender and orange smells, while some patients listened to music, on the other hand, some just waited. The surprising results revealed that those who smelled lavender and orange scents expressed less anxiety, heightened calmness, and positive feelings. However, the experience of patients who listened to music or did nothing was not as positive as the previous group.

Such benefits have made aromatherapy a new buzzword. You can also take pleasure from the healing effects of these essential oils when you’re expecting a baby.

Choosing The Right Essential Oils For Aromatherapy During Pregnancy

essential oils chamomile

Essential oils get a green signal from the second trimester of pregnancy. Lavender, ylang-ylang, and chamomile are some of the most soothing essential oils during this phase. But don’t worry if your sense of smell is keener, and you want a vast menu of scents.

The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists (IFPA) has given a thumbs up to the following essential oils for aromatherapy during pregnancy

  • Benzoin
  • Black pepper
  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit
  • Sweet orange
  • Tea tree
  • Chamomile (German and Roman)
  • Frankincense
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Juniper
  • Geranium
  • Ylang-ylang
  • Sandalwood
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Rose otto
  • Mandarin
  • Neroli
  • Petitgrain

Precautions When Choosing Aromatherapy Oils During Pregnancy

Take a quick look below before purchasing any essential oil, and even afterward

  • A sign of good quality oil is the presence of its Latin name on the label, along with its ingredients list, and the location where it’s from.
  • Search for reputable aromatherapy companies on the web, which fit your smell preferences. These brands should be established for a few years already.
  • Essential oils smell very soothing but still, some brands put perfumes in them. Buy 100% pure essential oils.
  • If you’re planning to apply it on the skin, make sure to dilute it in a carrier oil.
  • Anyone can be allergic to any essential oil. So put these diluted oils in a small part of your skin. Wait for a few days, and go ahead if there are no allergic reactions. Do the same for inhaling. Put the oil in a small cotton ball, and breathe in.
  • It is strictly a big no to ingest essential oils.

Methods of Using Aromatherapy Oils During Pregnancy

woman inhaling essential oil during pregnancy

From making you catch better sleep to cast a spell on your headaches, aromatherapy oils are worthy of being a good friend in your daily life. Let’s jump into the easiest and most potent ways to use aromatherapy during pregnancy.

1. Essential Oils Into a Diffuser

Simply fill the diffuser with any essential oil, and with its heat, the aroma will fill every portion of your room.

2. Just Inhale

Open a bottle of pure essential oil, and breathe in deeply a few times. Do this whenever you need to uplift your mood throughout the day. But be careful, the undiluted oil can be harmful if it comes in contact with your skin. It’s always safe to get the opinion of your doctor before doing so. 

3. Essential Oils in a Shower

Put a few drops of aromatherapy oils into your body wash, shampoo, and conditioner. If you want to massage your body, dilute the essential oil with a good carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil.

When to Avoid Aromatherapy Oils During Pregnancy?

The best way would be to hold on to using aromatherapy for the first three months of pregnancy. The next two trimesters are risk-free. Although safe, you must consult your doctor before you start anything new during pregnancy. Because pregnancy is an extremely delicate phase and you need to be extra careful. 

Risks of Using Aromatherapy Oils During Pregnancy

Experts are still not sure of the safety of essential oils during pregnancy. If these oils are used on the skin, they may pass through the placenta and harm your growing baby. Some people claim that essential oils can prove toxic to your baby during pregnancy. However, using it in the right way and in the right quantity will not have any side effects. But, it is always important to talk to your doctor before using any aromatherapy essential oils during pregnancy. 

Aromatherapy Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

essential oil to avoid during pregnancy

Now that you are pregnant, dealing with a growing baby needs a lot of caution. Avoid these risky essential oils during pregnancy

  • Basil
  • Aniseed
  • Birch
  • Camphor
  • Clary Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Wormwood
  • Wintergreen
  • Peppermint
  • Oak Moss
  • Parley Seed or Leaf
  • Tansy
  • Thyme
  • Thuja
  • Rue
  • Pennyroyal
  • Mogwart
  • Hyssop

When to Consult The Doctor?

Every person’s body is different. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, talk it through with your doctor before you start using any aromatherapy oil. Your doctor will also advise you if the essential oil scent is healthy for you and your baby or not.

Aromatherapy during pregnancy should preferably stay out of your skin’s contact. Blend it with coconut oil, olive oil, etc if you still wish to apply it on your body. Follow all the mentioned precautions without missing anything, and keep away from essential oils for the first trimester.


1. What Essential Oils Should Be Avoided During Pregnancy?

Don’t use essential oils like clary sage, peppermint, and rosemary oils during pregnancy. They can cause uterine contractions, digestive disorders, and vomiting.

2. Is it OK to Smell Eucalyptus Oil When Pregnant?

Yes, it is ok to smell eucalyptus oil during pregnancy. But only after the first trimester has been completed.

3. What Scents Are Best During Pregnancy?

Prefer ginger, and cardamom during pregnancy to fight morning sickness and nausea. Prefer using sandalwood, lemon, and wild orange for uplifting your mood.

Read Also: Mind-Body Techniques During Pregnancy – Is it Safe and Top Benefits

Suma rp,M.Sc (Organic Chemistry) Rayalaseema University B.Sc (Biotechnology) Sri Krishna Devaraya University.

Suma is a passionate content writer with a strong keenness to understand the miracle of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Suma has successfully transitioned into a full-time content writer and a key contributor at Being The Parent. She leverages on her experimental background in chemistry and experience in writing to come up with well-researched content that helps parents struggling to deal with various medical conditions of their children.Read more.

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