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Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Essential Oils to Avoid During Pregnancy

Essentials oils are one of nature's best anti-inflammatories and antioxidants effective for skin care. But, are they safe for use during pregnancy? Well, not all of them are, and this HerHaleness article enlists those essential oils that are to be strictly avoided during a pregnancy.
Snehal Motkar
Caution!
Avoid essential oils that are referred to as 'moving oils' in herbology and Chinese medicine.
Aromatherapy has been around since the prehistoric period, and essential oils are at the heart of this therapy. As mentioned earlier, these oils are Mother Nature's gift to mankind so that he can maintain good physical as well as mental health. The apparent health benefits of essential oils make them a much recommended therapy for all individuals, even pregnant women. An expecting mother often experiences a feeling of tiredness, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, etc. In these situations, some essential oils, with their strong, powerful, and pleasant fragrance, help her feel energized, refreshed, and uplifted. They also help her stay calm and relaxed in case of anxiety or restlessness.
In spite of having such beneficial qualities, not all essential oils are meant for expectant mothers. This is because, certain ingredients of essential oils are present in highly concentrated form, which can have adverse effects on the mother as well as her growing baby. If not all, there are certain ingredients in essential oils that have the potential to enter the blood stream of the expectant mother either through the skin or inhalation. Once in the blood stream, these components can easily pass through the placenta into the growing fetus. This may cause a miscarriage or birth defects in the newborn. Therefore, it is important to know about the essential oils that may not be safe during a pregnancy, and hence, are contraindicated for their use.
Essential Oils that are Unsafe During Pregnancy
Nutmeg
Nutmeg oil contains myristicin as its major constituent. Myristicin is narcotic, hallucinogenic, and toxic in nature, and hence, should be strictly avoided by pregnant women.
Geranium
Geranium essential oil regulates the hormonal system, and hence, may prove harmful for pregnant women. It can also lower the blood sugar level, therefore, should be avoided in case of hypoglycemia.
Clary Sage
Clary sage essential oil aids menstruation, and hence, is dangerous for pregnant women. Furthermore, it can be overstimulating for the growing baby, which can increase the risk of birth defects in the newborn.
Jasmine
Jasmine oil is known to stimulate the uterine muscles, which can be beneficial during labor. However, the oil should be avoided strictly during the first 8 months of pregnancy (so as to prevent premature labor).
Hyssop
Hyssop essential oil is unsafe for pregnant women because it contains pinocamphone, which may cause contractions or start menstruation. This may further lead to a miscarriage.
Rosemary
It contains a small amount of camphor. Even a small amount of camphor ingested accidentally can prove fatal for the growing fetus, because the ingestion may cause a transplacental transfer, wherein, the camphor crosses the mucus membranes, the skin, the placental barrier and causes toxic effects on the fetus.
Bitter Almond
It contains a harmful chemical called hydrocyanic acid (HCN). A solution of hydrogen cyanide in water is called hydrocyanic acid. When a pregnant woman is exposed to this acid, two elements called cyanide and thiocyanate cross the placenta and pose a risk to the fetus. It can slow down the nervous system as well as cause breathing problems in the expecting mother. It is also known to produce convulsions during the pregnancy.
Indian Dill Seed
It contains apiol that acts as an abortifacient, which can start menstruation and lead to a miscarriage. It may also cause liver and kidney damage in pregnant women.
Juniper Berry
Although it is considered to be non-toxic, it should be avoided during pregnancy because it can stimulate the uterine muscles and lead to a miscarriage.
Basil
It is considered to be a uterine stimulant, which can be harmful for the fetus during all stages of pregnancy.
One of the best alternatives for essential oils during a pregnancy would be certain natural, unscented skin care products. You can use some basic carrier oils like olive, sunflower, grape seed, and coconut oil, which may not have any adverse effects on yourself as well as your growing baby.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional.