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Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts which can be helpful to aid relaxation and reduce anxiety during both pregnancy and childbirth, provided you are generally healthy.

If you’re interested in using essential oils, it’s sensible to check with your midwife first, particularly if you have diabetes or high (or low) blood pressure or any other medical conditions. Or you could consult a qualified aromatherapist.

If you experience bleeding during your pregnancy then using essential oils is not recommended.

Because they are very powerful, the current advice is that you should not use essential oils during your first trimester (the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy).

Never use essential oils undiluted. Always dilute them with a carrier oil such as almond, coconut, olive or grapeseed oil to reduce their potency. Don’t use them for more than 10 minutes at a time or use the same oil every day for any length of time.

What can do you do with essential oils?

  • Add to your bath – one drop diluted in one teaspoon of carrier oil added to a warm bath will create a relaxing aroma and can help reduce stress
  • Use for massage – at a dilution of 1% (5-6 drops of essential oil added to 1oz of a carrier oil) you can use oils to massage your skin
  • Enjoy the scent with diffusers – there is a huge range of products you can buy. We think this one is pretty. Depending on which oil you add, these can freshen the air with natural scents and help you to relax or feel more energized. Just a couple of drops is all you need.


Recommended essential oils can you use in pregnancy

Oils that are considered safe to use during pregnancy are:

  • Lavender – this calming oil can reduce stress and help you feel serene, add it to a bath or diffuser
  • Ylang Ylang – used for mild anxiety and depression, in a bath or diffuser, this oil can lift your mood and help with insomnia. Personally we don’t like the smell of this oil, although most people do. This shows how important it is to choose oils that are safe for your condition AND that suit you. You would gain little benefit from using a therapeutic oil that you didn’t like.
  • Sweet Orange – a citrus oil that can energize you and brighten your mood, best used in a diffuser
  • Ginger – effective to relieve nausea in a diffuser and ease pregnancy aches as a massage oil
  • Grapefruit – this citrus oil can help reduce tiredness, use it in a bath or diffuser

Some other popular oils are considered safe too including eucalyptus, tea tree (good for dealing with thrush), black pepper and geranium but always check with your midwife or a qualified aromatherapist first if you’re unsure.

Our favorite essential oils for use in labor

During labor frankincense can be used for its calming, relaxing properties and some women use clary sage, which is thought to strengthen contractions. Many specialized oils for labor include a combination of lavender, clary sage and geranium. We think this is a perfect combination.  Only use this with the guidance of your midwife, as it’s important that labor is established before use.

What essential oils should you avoid?

It’s really important to remember that not all essential oils are safe to use during pregnancy and/or childbirth, as there is a risk they can interfere with other medication, raise blood pressure, trigger contractions or cause bleeding in the womb.

Some of the popular oils you should avoid include:

  • Basil – avoid
  • Citronella – avoid
  • Cinnamon – avoid
  • Clove – avoid
  • Rosemary – avoid
  • Juniper berry – avoid
  • Jasmine – this is anti-spasmodic, but only use in labor, not during pregnancy
  • Clary sage – only use in labor when it is very useful, NEVER  use during pregnancy
  • Rose – not during pregnancy, but may calm the nerves and encourage deep breathing during labor


Have a look at the references below for more details and further information if you’d like to learn more about how to use different essential oils.

We recommend always buying the best quality oils – check the ingredients carefully and watch out for synthetic ingredients.  We like Tisserand oils for their purity.

Essential oils can be really useful to help look after your wellbeing during pregnancy, but remember to exercise care or take advice, and do not use them excessively.


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