The topic of essential oil use during pregnancy is a bit of a controversial issue, mainly because there haven’t been a lot of studies done on the topic. It is important to discuss usage with a medical professional experienced with essential oils and to be judicious with their use. Mild essential oils, such as Lavender and Frankincense may be used topically for healthy-looking skin during pregnancy.
Experts recommend not using essential oils in the first trimester as they can cause uterine contractions or adversely affect the fetus in the early developmental stages. There is evidence that essential oils can cross the placenta and get to the baby. In the second and third trimesters, some essential oils, like Lavender, Chamomile and Ylang Ylang, are safe to use, as the baby is more developed. These help you calm, relax and aid sleep. Oils to be avoided include cinnamon, clove, rosemary and clary sage, all of which can cause contractions.
When used properly, essential oils are safe for use during pregnancy and can help the expectant mother through all sorts of pregnancy symptoms, including nausea/vomiting, swelling of ankles and muscle spasms, insomnia, stress, and more.
Some essential oils that are safe for pregnancy during second and third trimesters are Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Neroli, Patchouli, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, Sweet Orange and Ylang Ylang.
Some essential oils to be avoided during pregnancy are Arnica (homeopathic is fine) - Basil - Birch (sweet) - Bitter almond Camphor (brown or yellow) - Cassia - Cedarwood/thuja, Cinnamon, Clary sage, Clove. Coriander, Fennel, Horseradish, Juniper Berry , Mustard, Nutmeg, Parsley, Pine, Rosemary, Tansy, Thyme, Wintergreen and there are many more so it is better to check before trying out an essential oil during pregnancy.
Essential oil use should be avoided in the first trimester. It is better to avoid absolutes and other solvent extracted essential oils. Ingestion should be avoided during pregnancy and while nursing. Less is more when pregnant and nursing - always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. It is better to run the diffuser for 10-15 minutes. Repeated intense daily use is not suggested and it may be a good idea to limit essential oils usage for when you really need it.