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. 
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. 
“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:
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.
If you’re interested in learning more about the basics, please explore our Guide to Essential Oils for further reading, infographics, and more.
 From “Exploring Aromatherapy – Safety Information,” naha.org
 From “Essential Oils,” fitpregnancy.com