The 12 Best Essential Oils for Pregnant Women

February 12, 2020

I love essential oils. After a long day, putting a few drops in the diffuser or a bath can be a fabulous way to relax. But there are times when certain medical conditions can make you stop and wonder if you can take advantage of the benefits of essential oils. For example, what if you’re pregnant? Sometimes there’s confusion around whether or not pregnant women should use certain essential oils because they may adversely affect the developing fetus. It’s true that there are definitely some essential oils to avoid during pregnancy. But there are also some essential oils that are OK to use while you’re pregnant. In fact, using certain essential oils can be a great way to treat yourself and practice some self-care! And self-care is especially important while growing that beautiful life inside of you!

So, let’s talk about the best essential oils for pregnant women and how best to use them. And, as always, remember to check with your healthcare provider before starting any new health regimen.


Essential Oils for Pregnant Women: Which Essential Oils Are Safe to Use During Pregnancy?

I remember my pregnancies well. I remember the nausea, the sore back, and especially the constant worry that everything would be OK. At times, I was so anxious about becoming a mother and all of the restrictions placed on me that I almost fell over when I was told I couldn’t take a hot bath! Finding any way to incorporate some relaxation was key.

Essential oils can truly be a lovely way to relax during your pregnancy, when used properly. Be sure to use oils that are 100 percent therapeutic grade. If you plan to use them on your skin, do a test patch first to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction. Also, keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to dilute them by blending the oil with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, almond oil, or even coconut oil.

Research shows that the oils listed below are safe essential oils for pregnant women to use topically or in a diffuser. [1, 2] In fact, many can help relieve common complaints during pregnancy, including trouble sleeping, nausea, muscle aches, and hemorrhoids. [3] Just remember that you shouldn’t use any essential oils internally while pregnant without a consulting with your physician.

Pregnancy and Essential Oils: 12 Best Essential Oils for Pregnancy

Here are the 12 best essential oils for use while pregnant. To know how best to use essential oils during pregnancy, take a look at the top pregnancy-related uses below.

1. Bergamot

2. Chamomile

3. Cypress

4. Eucalyptus

5. Frankincense

6. Geranium

7. Ginger

8. Lavender

9. Mandarin or Orange

10. Peppermint

11. Tea Tree

12. Ylang-Ylang


Relaxation and sleep

Essential oils can be a gentle way to help you relax and get a good night’s sleep if you’re struggling with insomnia. You can apply these oils topically to your wrists with a carrier oil  or under your nose after blending with a carrier oil. You can also put a few drops of essential oils in the bath the shower right before bedtime (Note: Avoid high-temperature baths if you are pregnant. It is advised to not let your body temperature rise above 101 degrees, as it may cause harm to the fetus, especially in the first trimester. So always take a warm bath, but not a hot one that makes you sweat!). You can also put a few drops of any of these in your essential oil diffuser. Try experimenting by blending the oils together to personalize your aromatherapy session or shower!

By the way, you’ll notice that lavender essential oil is an especially versatile oil. I’d say if you only buy one essential oil to use during your pregnancy, lavender is the way to go! A little tip? Lavender is also amazing to diffuse in kids’ rooms to help them sleep!

The best essential oils for relaxation and sleep:

  • Bergamot
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Mandarin or Orange
  • Ylang-ylang



I vividly remember experiencing nausea during pregnancy, especially while driving. If you’re also experiencing this unfortunate side effect, I have some good news to share: Essential oils can help! To use these essential oils to help with morning sickness or other digestive distress, blend them with a carrier oil and apply topically to your abdomen or wrists. You can also diffuse them or inhale the scent from the bottle, or a cotton ball soaked in the oil.

The best essential oils for nausea and morning sickness:


Muscle aches

Back pain, sore muscles, and general achiness is common during pregnancy, especially in the later months. Blend these oils with a carrier oil and apply to the affected area or sprinkle a few drops in the shower or a lukewarm bath for some stress-relief and relaxation.

The best essential oils for muscle aches:

  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Ylang-ylang



We don’t want to talk about it, but hemorrhoids are an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. Luckily, essential oils work well for this purpose! Blend a few drops of one or more of these oils with a carrier oil or aloe vera gel and apply to the affected area using a cotton ball.

The best essential oils for hemorrhoids:

  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Tea tree


Pregnancy and Essential Oils: Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Now that I’ve shared with you some of the best essential oils for pregnant women, I want to share with you some important information on essential oil safety during pregnancy. Using essential oils during pregnancy is a highly debated topic in large part because studies are limited. Because essential oils are natural and they are used so widely, it can be easy to forget that there are some essential oils not safe for pregnancy. [4]

While it’s unlikely that diffusing certain oils or putting a few drops in the bath or shower will cause harm, to be on the safe side and eliminate any need for worry, most doctors advise avoiding essential oils during the first trimester. Personally, I used gentle, safe essential oils during my pregnancies in my diffuser and diluted with a carrier oil in massage oils. I would recommend not taking any orally without a doctor’s supervision.

Some essential oils are known to cause uterine contractions that may lead to miscarriage, particularly pennyroyal and mugwort. [5, 6]

Similar claims have been made about some other oils including cinnamon, clary sage, oregano and rosemary. However, it usually requires a large amount of these oils to cause a miscarriage. [7, 8, 9]

Also keep in mind that some oils, such as mugwort, wormwood, and pennyroyal essential oils can cause strong reactions no matter when you use them. In fact, pennyroyal can be deadly. While these are oils that are not commonly used, I feel that it’s still important to be aware of the risks.

For more information on both safe essential oils for pregnant women and essential oils to avoid during pregnancyvisit the website for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

If you have any questions about using an essential oil during pregnancy, either ask your holistic healthcare practitioner for guidance or just don’t use it.


Essential oils for pregnant women - Dr. Pingel


Essential oils for pregnant women - Dr. Pingel


Key Takeaways

  • Review my list above for safe essential oils for pregnant women to diffuse or use topically when blended with a carrier oil such as coconut, olive, jojoba, or almond oil.
  • Always do a skin test patch with an essential oil to make sure you don’t have an allergic reaction or skin irritation. And, as always, be sure to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil first.
  • There’s a lot of debate around pregnancy and essential oils to avoid while pregnant.
  • If you have any doubts about an essential oil, don’t use it.


You might also enjoy: Top 4 Breathing Exercises to Relieve Stress

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