Can essential oils
be used during pregnancy?
We used to advise not
at all in the first three months, and then maybe only quite prudently,
pointing to a long history of anecdotal reportage of safe use. However
various regulatory bodies concerned with the toxicological effects
of essential oils on both sides of the pond have pointed out that
detailed evidence of the effects of essential oils on human reproductive
toxicology is missing. We also know that foetal and infant detoxification
mechanisms are under-developed and we understand them poorly. It
would be the choice of (Safety Chair) therefore to err on the side
of extreme caution and not use essential oils during pregnancy,
although this policy might be considered rather extreme by some.
Are there any essential
oils or aromatherapy products that should not be used during pregnancy?
Turning the question around, these well diluted
oils arguably might have less potential for possible adverse effects:
chamomile oils, geranium, jasmine, lavender, neroli, patchouli,
sandalwood, ylang ylang.
Can essential oils be used during the birthing
Traditionally we have said that oils like lavender
can help relax mom by scenting the air, when used as a back rub
etc. However it has also been said that relaxants work counter to
the process of giving birth. We are unaware of any studies done
on the effect of oils such as lavender on the CNS (central nervous
system) of a new born baby - personally it wouldn't be our choice
(Safety chair) to administer psycho physiologically depressant substances
to a new born baby. But again, this attitude might be considered
extreme by some.
What about topical application of aromatherapy
blend to the skin of the perineum before giving birth?
Can essential oils be used for breast tenderness
Yes very dilute massage with chamomiles/lavender
Can essential oils be used during breast
feeding or if mastitis occurs?
Not during the process,
could interfere with baby sense of smell, finding mom, etc. For
mastitis, compresses with anti-inflammatory oils may be useful after
breastfeeding (only if your doctor agrees), but essential oil treatment
is no substitute for medication. It is important that the oils are
not used on the breasts when baby will come into contact.
I have heard that there are some essential
oils that can help to increase the production of breast milk. Is this
true? And if so, how would I apply the essential oils?
law stories have it that this is the case (especially with farm
and domesticated animals), but we know of no controlled clinical
studies which substantiate the claim in humans.
What essential oils
and or bases would be beneficial for stretch marks?
Cocoa butter has always been recommended, no oil will remove scars
yet there are scar formulas all over internet. Massage during pregnancy
will help reduce maybe….
Are there any essential oils that are useful
for constipation during pregnancy? How would the oils be applied?
Don’t use essential oils for constipation, but a fixed oil
massaged onto the abdomen may help
What essential oils are helpful for morning
sickness from nausea?
Traditionally peppermint and chamomile (Roman) have been taken as
a tea in traditional teabag form, not via essential oils in water.
Can essential oils be used in a full body
bath and or foot bath for edema and swelling?
are not recommended near end of pregnancy: foot baths might be used
I have heard that essential oils can be incorporated with a sitz
bath to aid in healing of hemorrhoids as well as soothing the perineum
after giving birth. If so, which essential oils would be useful?
Suggest cypress, sandalwood, and lavender.
Is aromatherapy useful for postpartum effects,
like fatigue, depression and not sleeping well?
now is the time to use them! Use lavender for sleeping, and uplifting
scents for fatigue and depression
Can I use essential oils on my baby for
Some authorities say that essential oil flavored
waters (e.g. gripe water) are not now recommended on safety grounds.
We would recommend you to find alternative cures. Very dilute lavender
could be used to massage cranky babies, and this may help relieve
some tension in mom and baby
I've read your site on essential oils but
is this for straight out of the bottle oils or is it safe to use skincare
products with the oils in them. Such as face cleansers, toners, moisturizers,
homemade real/castile soap. Are these safe for during pregnancy/nursing
since there not straight/full strength?
In fact essential
oils should not be used full strength on the skin. period. But I
see what you mean - you could regard the essential oil content of
these cosmetic products as coming 'prediluted'.
If you've read the Safety of Essential Oils Safety Data, and the
concerns about the Methyl Eugenol Content of Essential Oils articles
authored by myself, you will have some awareness of the issues involved.
Although we are exposed on a daily basis to small amounts of essential
oils & synthetic fragrance chemicals from many sources (e.g.
soaps & cosmetics, perfumes, household & cleaning materials,
space odorants, dental products, spiced food. medicated confectionary
(cough sweets), muscle rubs, bath & sauna products etc. etc.),
the direct application of fragranced products to the skin - even
when diluted as they generally are - can represent a higher potential
dose event per unit of body weight, than, say, breathing normally
for a while in a slightly fragranced environment such as a hotel
lobby room. Under our obligation of due diligence, we are therefore
extra cautious when giving safety advice to clients of aromatherapists
of child-bearing age, just because the potential dose of essential
oils from this type of exposure could be over and above that normally
encountered (although I should also say at this point that there
are even toxicological investigations being conducted presently
on indoor air quality, looking at the effect of background levels
of aroma chemicals from incense, air freshener perfumes etc etc.
on human health. So even background levels of fragrance in the home
are presently being considered for Health & Safety risks). The
advice about essential oils in our profession generally takes the
form that, if at all possible, avoid or minimise exposure to essential
oils in pregnancy, especially, some would say, in the first trimester.
I would think that this advice holds good for fragranced cosmetic
products also - and if it is seem by some as being over-cautious:
then so be it - personally, I would rather err on the side of caution
in this particular matter.
There are national guidelines for ingredients which can be safely
used in cosmetics, and these are under constant review by bodies
concerned with toxicological matters. Although the big names in
cosmetics will almost certainly be aware of, and abide by, these
regulations, it is a matter of conjecture as to whether smaller
cottage industries are always 'up to speed' with these issues. Further,
new regulations currently being introduced on both sides of the
pond require that data on many more heavily-used essential oils
is assembled for (amongst other things) any carcinogenic. mutagenic
and reproductive toxicological properties, as well as their potential
eco-toxicity. It probable that this data is incomplete in many respects,
or is missing, for many major essential oils, and it is almost certainly
missing for the more minor essential oils (say those produced at
production volumes of under 1 ton/annum). The bottom line is that
although up to now we (in aromatherapy) have assumed that certain
essential oils are probably safe to use in pregnancy in the (best-practice)
way that we recommend aromatherapists use them, it remains to be
seen whether this view will change when we eventually have this
In the meantime there is no reason why you should nor direct your
question about particular fragranced consumer items to the appropriate
cosmetics manufacturer - but make sure you are not 'fobbed off 'with
a 'public-relations' type answer, and that you get a proper appraisal
from the technical/regulatory department. In my experience, several
of the larger cosmetics companies have well-qualified, knowledgeable
staff who should be able to put any risk factor in context for you.