Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings with it so much joy and excitement, but a lot of questions and confusion around what ingredients and product are off-limits.

One of the questions I am often asked is what essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy and what essential oils can be enjoyed and are actually helpful.

I created Edible Beauty skincare products for my patients who were wanting to conceive or who were already pregnant so all of the skincare products we make are safe during pregnancy.


Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy

Before I delve into the “off-limits” essential oil list, it is helpful to understand why these oils are not recommended. Firstly it is helpful to understand that essential oils are highly concentrated substances that can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Caution needs to be exercised as most information we have on the impact of essential oils is based on animal studies as it is hard (and undesirable) to study the side effects of herbs and essential oils during pregnancy. When it comes to side effects, the main risk of using essential oils during pregnancy is that they can be toxic to our unborn babies and cause what is known as “embryotoxicity”. This is based on an increased rate of cell death when the essential oils are studied on animals. Secondly, they can promote uterine contractions which are particularly risky.

The essential oils to stay away from during pregnancy include:

  • Aniseed
  • Basil
  • Caraway
  • Clary sage
  • Cinnamon
  • Fennel
  • Hyssop
  • Marjoram
  • Mugwort
  • Pennyroyal
  • Sage
  • Tansy
  • Thuja

The best pregnancy-safe essential oils


My favourite essential oils during pregnancy include ginger, lavender, peppermint and chamomile. They can safely be used to relieve aches and pains, nausea and help to promote restful sleep. Ensure that if you are using the oils directly on the skin they are diluted.

For nausea, ginger and peppermint are fantastic. Sniff directly from the bottle or use one to two drops on a tissue, pop it in your pocket and sniff it during the day.

To assist sleep, add chamomile or lavender to a spray bottle with water and mist pillows before sleep. Dilute the essential oils in the mist spray - the recommended ratio is 12 drops to 2 tablespoons of water.

To help to ease muscle aches use lavender, peppermint or chamomile essential oils. I love these mixed into magnesium cream. Use 12 drops to 2 tablespoons of cream or oil. Alternatively use a base such as almond or even olive oil to create a soothing body oil!


I hope you with this information you are able to enjoy the benefits of essential oils during pregnancy without questioning their side effects.  

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Anna Mitsios

Adv. Dip. Naturopathy. Adv. Dip. Nutrition. B.Com (Honours)

Anna’s career began in the corporate sector, where she specialised in corporate finance and private banking for over ten years working in Sydney and New York for a large Australian bank. Anna’s career change was sparked by her own health journey, following a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at 18 years of age. Her diagnosis triggered her intense study of botanicals and nutrition to manage auto-immune condition and assist others in attaining optimal health. Anna has been involved in the pursuit of herbal medicine and nutrition for over 15 years, with a focus on fertility, women’s and chidlren’s health. Anna’s naturopathy career has included working as a naturopath within a reputable natural fertility clinic in Sydney, within a pharmacy and health food store and running her own naturopathy practice. Anna is committed to creating products founded on naturopathic philosophies, using wildcrafted and exotic ingredients and encouraging her clients and people who use her skincare to nourish their skin, from the inside-out.

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