People get very concerned about the use of aromatherapy and essential oils during pregnancy. Some, including some aromatherapists, even advise not to use any essential oils at all. I personally think that is a bit extreme, and also a great pity, as many essential oils can be quite useful in helping the prospective mum through this time.

There are a number of reasons that the area of aromatherapy and pregnancy has become the subject of so much concern. And often people are left not knowing what, if anything they can use.

Lists of essential oils noted as "Not to use in Pregnancy" can be dauntingly extensive, and may include essential oils that are always toxic (and should never be used even when not pregnant) or which should be used with caution, or essential oils that are usually safe, but may not be during pregnancy. Additionally some oils may be useful at certain stages of pregnancy but not others. It is no wonder people get confused!

For examples of essential oils in each of these categories, see my article Aromatherapy in Pregnancy

Why do some oils become a risk during pregnancy? Some of these oils are emmenogogues and have a stimulating effect on the uterus. Some affect the hormones or have too strong an effect on a particular organ or system of the body. We also do not yet know to what extent oils used by the mother may affect the developing foetus, so any oils which may be too strong for the child should be avoided.

However under the guidance of a qualified aromatherapist, great benefits can be gained by using some essential oils during pregnancy. Bear in mind the following :-

- Only use true essential oils. Not fragrance or synthetic oils.

- Never take essential oils internally.

- Always, dilute essential oils before applying them to the skin. Never apply them neat to the skin.

- Adapt recipes by cutting down the number of drops to child sized doses, around half of that for an adult.

- A woman's sense of smell is often more acute during pregnancy - another reason to use lower dilutions.

- Essential oils used in a vaporiser will carry much less risk than any applied directly to the body, whether in a carrier oil, in a bath or as a compress.

- Some oils that are generally safe to use include, lemon, sweet orange, mandarin, frankincense, lavender, sandalwood and tea tree.

- Seek advice from a qualified aromatherapist if you are proposing to use aromatherapy whilst pregnant, especially if you have a personal or family history of miscarriage or you have been advised that your pregnancy is in any way fragile

- And finally always let your health practitioner, doctor, midwife or obstetrician know about anything you are using or proposing to use.

With some care and professional advice aromatherapy can help and enhance your health and wellbeing during pregnancy.

(This information is meant as general advice. Please consult your health practitioner or a qualified aromatherapist for advice on your specific situation.)

Author's Bio: 

Wendy Mackay is a qualified Aromatherapist and member of the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association (IAAMA). Wendy and her husband David run Essence of Wellbeing a successful Aromatherapy & Massage Supply and Pure Natural Skin Care business, based in Mornington on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria Australia.

Other Articles and Essence of Wellbeing products can be viewed at