Can Pregnant Women Use Aromatherapy?

Jul 8, 08:01 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

This is one of the most frequent questions I encounter during presentations and classes. The short answer is yes, but if pregnant, I do not recommend experimenting with essential oils on your own unless you have received a significant amount of training in aromatherapy, including aromachemistry and anatomy of fetal development.

A few essential oils may be used safely throughout pregnancy, and in particular, I have no qualms about recommending rose otto for any expecting woman. This essential oil is wonderful for balancing fluctuating hormones and great for maintaining healthy skin tone of an expanding belly.

Many essential oils are not safe for use during a particular trimester, or may not be recommended for use until delivery, especially in the case of high risk pregnancies. Unfortunately, many women believe that just because something is natural or recommended to "enhance femininity", then it is safe. Not so, and an expectant mother should be extra cautious. I know of one very healthy young woman who made lavish use of neat clary sage during the initial weeks of two different pregnancies, and miscarried both. Despite my warnings against application of this essential oil, she insisted on using clary sage because an article in a women's magazine had christened it "the ultimate women's oil". While clary is excellent for many different ailments of the female reproductive system, it can have a very disruptive effect on estrogen balance and cause spontaneous bleeding. The young woman in question finally ceased her use of clary sage and was able to carry a subsequent pregnancy to term without complication.

A woman's body goes through many unique challenges as she nutures a developing fetus. When essential oils are carefully chosen and judiciously used, they can be helpful in managing many aspects of pregnancy that may cause discomfort. I have used aromatherapy to relieve painfully engorged breasts, alleviate morning sickness, prevent stretchmarks, control PUPPS rash, and ease the pain of the birthing process.

Potential applications of aromatherapy during this stage of a woman's life are enormous, but they do require guidance to be used safely. A qualified aromatherapist is the best person to turn to for help, and they will be very knowlegable on the particulars of using essential oils from conception through delivery... and beyond. I'll discuss well baby care in an upcoming post.

Commenting is closed for this article.