Baby Beware – Are Essential Oils Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

All Posts, Essential Oils

Words: Jana Holstein
Photo Credit: Alex Pasarelu

Essential oils are magical concoctions that have many therapeutic uses, but for pregnant women, it’s important to know the facts — especially if it could harm your baby.

The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) says that essential oils may cross the placental barrier and have the potential to affect the fetus. The amount that actually enters the mother’s skin is trivial and so the amount that reaches the placenta is miniscule if proper dilutions are being used. [1]

Even so, many experts recommend not using them in the first trimester. Essential oils could cause uterine contractions or adversely affect your baby in his early developmental stages, according to naturopath Jill Edwards, who specializes in prenatal care. [2]

“In the second and third trimesters, some essential oils are safe to use, as your baby is more developed,” Edwards adds. These include lavender, chamomile and ylang ylang, which calm, relax and aid sleep. Oils to be avoided include cinnamon, clove, rosemary and clary sage, all of which can cause contractions.

Essential oils that are safe for use in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy include:

  • Bergamot
  • Roman chamomile
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Neroli
  • Patchouli
  • Petitgrain
  • Rose Otto
  • Rosewood
  • Sandalwood
  • Sweet orange
  • Tea tree
  • Ylang ylang

It’s important to remember to always do your own research with products, especially when the safety of your baby is a factor. You can also consult your healthcare provider before using a product you’re unsure of. Essential oils can be very beneficial during pregnancy; it’s all just a matter of being cautious and aware.



Want more educational tips or to learn the benefits of specific ingredients?
Willow and Sage magazine offers recipe after recipe of natural bath and body products that are healthy for your skin and fun to make too!



Our Willow and Sage Botanicals are 100% pure and all-natural.  Our oils can be used to create a blend for aromatherapy, aiding in stress-relief, insomnia, headaches, anxiety and more. Or they can be used to create scents for your bath and body projects which are wonderful relaxers for those achy muscles and tired feet. Remember to choose scents safe for your little one and to always dilute before applying them to your skin.


Lemon Essential Oil                                     Lavender Essential Oil                                    Grapefruit Essential Oil


If you’re interested in learning more about the basics, please explore our Guide to Essential Oils for further reading, infographics, and more.



[1] From “Exploring Aromatherapy – Safety Information,”

[2] From “Essential Oils,”

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12 thoughts on “Baby Beware – Are Essential Oils Safe to Use During Pregnancy?”

  1. What a wonderfully informative and supportive blog post about using essential oils during pregnancy! Your attention to detail and emphasis on safety precautions truly set this post apart. I appreciate how you highlighted the benefits of certain oils while also addressing potential concerns. This post is a reassuring guide for navigating the world of essential oils during such a special and sensitive time

  2. During the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, it’s recommended to use gentle herbs and light citrus oils if you want to inhale essential oils. Citrus oils can boost your mood and make you feel better. It’s important to choose oils that make you feel good. Using essential oils during pregnancy can improve your mood and help you stay calm, which is important for both you and your baby. Take some time to relax and enjoy the soothing effects of essential oils. Otherwise, your article is exceptionally well-explained and highly informative.

  3. Tip from a studying herbalist: please do not use eucalyptus during pregnancy! Some essential oils are high in ketones, and should be avoided in pregnancy! That would include Hyssop and Sage oils as well, but I didn’t see those on the list. Eucalyptus radiata is lower in ketones than other eucalyptus varieties, but I would still not recommend.

  4. I have a question regarding using lemongrass, included in your above list of “safe for pregnancy” oils. I have found a few sources that warn against using lemongrass during pregnancy, due to its ability to stimulate uterine contractions, and also to possibly cause birth defects. I definitely wouldn’t take it internally during pregnancy- and that should probably be on your list. But, what are your thoughts about diffusing it?


    1. Hi Shira,

      Thank you for visiting our blog! We always recommend consulting your health professional on specific ingredients you may have concerns about.

      – The Willow and Sage Team 🌿

  5. Using these essential oils during pregnancy can be best option as these are safe and provide real and lasting results. I like this article so much. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello! While we aim to supply as much research and inspiration as we can, so readers can make better, informed decisions, we are not medical practitioners; therefore we cannot give medical advice. We encourage you to consult with your doctor on this topic 🙂

  6. I used sage essential oil before I knew it was harmful. Should I go to my Ob for check up? Will it cause bleeding?
    It was in my hair serum.