9 Safe Essential Oils for Aromatherapy During Pregnancy

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Aromatherapy has become one of the more popular alternative remedies for various health conditions in recent years, including those connected with pregnancy. Essential oils used in aromatherapy are typically derived from a variety of plants and herbs found throughout the world. There are hundreds of combinations of essential oils that have been found to alleviate or cure conditions. The natural aspect of this technique also makes it attractive for those people who are worried about using unnecessary pharmaceutical treatments. [1]

One of the most stressful times in the life of any woman is pregnancy, and while having a baby may be one of the most important and beautiful experiences in life, it can also cause a number of side effects on the body that can be challenging, to say the least. Therefore, many women look for alternative treatments besides dangerous medicines (and their inevitable side effects), and aromatherapy is becoming increasingly popular. [2]

However, the sensitivity of the body during pregnancy also makes certain aromatherapy essential oils potentially dangerous. It is very important to know which essential oils are safe to use, what they specifically effect in the body, as well as which essential oils you must be careful to avoid. With that knowledge, you can have a safe and happy pregnancy, as well as relief from a number of conditions that normally afflict pregnant women. [3]

Safe Essential Oils During Pregnancy


This essential oil is said to promote feelings of relaxation and calm, while helping to balance hormones. Also, it can reduce the pains experienced during pregnancy.

A happy pregnant woman with a tiara on her head

A pregnant fairy Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Ylang Ylang

This is one of the most important essential oils to use during pregnancy. It is known to reduce blood pressure, which lowers stress levels and promotes relaxation. [4] [5]


It is natural for your immune system to weaken during pregnancy due to the extra stress on your body. Eucalyptus essential oil is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antiviral substance, which can keep you and your baby healthy. [6]


This essential oil is very good for indigestion, which many women commonly suffer from. Also, it can boost spirits both during pregnancy and postnatal depression. [7]


Many pregnant women suffer from headaches and muscle pain, as well as indigestion. Chamomile essential oil has been known to relieve these types of symptoms.


This essential oil can help you relax and get to sleep, a problem for many pregnant women. It acts as a sedative and an anti-depressant, which can often happen to pregnant women, particularly after giving birth, if they are suffering from post-partum depression. [8]


This oil is said to increase the cognitive function of people at all points in their life, but for women suffering from any confusion or cloudy-headedness during pregnancy, this will help you continue thinking clearly.


Although this oil should only be used after the second trimester, it can help to relieve aches and pains, as well as swollen ankles and varicose veins, both during pregnancy and after giving birth. [9]


Orange Essential Oil has been praised as being an uplifting and joy-inducing essential oil, which can combat those days of pregnancy blues that women sometimes suffer while going through the stressful time of pregnancy. [10]

Dangerous Essential Oils

Essential oils in aromatherapy can be very powerful and can have very serious effects on the body. Normally, when you are not pregnant, these effects are desirable, but many oils can have negative effects on the hormone-filled body of pregnant women. Normally, these have emmenagogue effects, which normally regulate menstruation, but can result in accidental miscarriages when used during pregnancy. Some of the essential oils to avoid during pregnancy include the following: [11]

Other Aromatherapy Advice

Regardless of which safe essential oils you choose to use during pregnancy, you should always use more diluted versions than normal, since the effects on the body can be so dramatic. Whether you are using essential oils in a bath, a steam inhalation version, or on a compress, smaller dilutions (20-30% of normal) are recommended. [12]

Most importantly, be careful and do your research before you use any essential oils during pregnancy. Be sure to speak with your medical professional regarding aromatherapy during pregnancy, in case there are any other circumstances regarding your pregnancy that should be taken into consideration.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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