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5 Rules for Using Essential Oils Safely During Pregnancy

Your primer on how to use essential oils when expecting.

5 Rules for Using Essential Oils Safely During Pregnancy

If you’re anything like most mamas-to-be, you’ve become very aware of what you put on and in your body. You’re reading labels, avoiding undercooked food, and steering clear of any restaurant with a grade-pending sign in the window. And if you’re an aromatherapy enthusiast, you may have put away your trusty bottles of essential oils. But, what if I told you you don’t have to say goodbye to most of your favorite oils? You just need to know how to use them.

Equipped with the right info, most women can safely use essential oils throughout their pregnancy. With these five steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the benefits of aromatherapy during your pregnancy, safely.

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Step 1: Choose the right oil.

The first thing you want to do is choose an oil that is safe to use during pregnancy. While most oils can be used safely during pregnancy, there are some that should be avoided. This is where knowing the scientific name of an oil can come in handy. That’s because some oils go by more than one name or share a common name with another oil.

For example, let’s say you’re looking for lavender. There are a ridiculous number of lavenders on the market; and some are safe during pregnancy, while others are not. Spanish Lavender, Lavandula stoechas, is not recommended during pregnancy, but Lavender (aka English Lavender or True Lavender), Lavandula angustifolia, is a safe and effective choice to manage muscle pain, insomnia, and headaches.

Step 2: Dilute, dilute, dilute.

Proper dilution is one of the most important things to learn when you start using essential oils. Diluting them lowers your risk of adverse reactions. During pregnancy, a one percent dilution is typically what’s recommended. For some oils, you’ll want to go even lower. Here are a few examples:

  • Lemongrass - 0.7%
  • May Chang - 0.8%
  • Melissa - 0.9%
  • Honey Myrtle - 0.9%
  • Lemon Myrtle - 0.7%
  • Nasturtium Absolute - 0.26%
  • Lemon Tea Tree - 0.8%
  • Lemon Thyme - 0.8%
  • Lemon Verbena - 0.9%

To dilute an oil, you add drops of essential oil to a carrier, which can be a vegetable oil, vegetable butter, hydrosol, unscented cream, lotion or soap, whole milk, aloe vera gel, aloe water, vinegar, honey, and even plain water. For 1 percent dilution, you add 6 drops of an essential oil for every 1 ounce (about 2 tbsp) of your carrier.

Step 3: Inhale and apply, but don’t ingest.

Both inhalation and topical application of an essential oil that has been properly diluted are considered safe during pregnancy, but oral use is generally frowned upon during pregnancy.

This doesn’t mean you need to avoid using toothpaste or mouthwash or eating food flavored with essential oils. The amounts found in those products are considered safe to take in during your pregnancy. But you definitely want to avoid taking in therapeutic amounts, unless under the direct instruction and supervision of a clinical aromatherapist and health care provider.

Step 4: Practice sun safety.

Though it is safe to apply diluted essential oils on your skin during pregnancy, some oils are phototoxic, which means they can increase your chance of sunburn. For those oils, putting them on your skin isn’t the safest way to use them, especially if you’ll be in the sun soon after you apply them.

Fig leaf absolute, verbena, rue oil, cumin oil, laurel leaf, bergamot, and most citrus oils fall are some of the oils that fall into that category. If you decide to put on a phototoxic oil, you’ll want to avoid exposing the treated skin to the sun for at least 24 hours.

Really love the smell of citrus peel oils and want to use it topically before going in the sun? You can use the distilled version without fear of sunburn. Distilled citrus peel oils are not phototoxic like their expressed counterparts. You can also look for bergapten-free bergamot (you may also see it labeled as bergapten less, FCF, furanocoumarin-free).

Step 5: Keep some extra carrier oil on hand.

Sometimes no matter how many precautions you take, things will still go wrong. You may accidentally spill an undiluted oil on your skin or notice irritation after applying a diluted oil. If that happens, try rubbing a plain carrier oil into your skin. If the irritation persists, you’ll want to contact your healthcare provider.

Essential oil safety is important no matter what stage of life you're in, but even more so when you’re growing a tiny human inside of you. Following these five steps, you'll be able to use essential oils confidently and safely during your pregnancy and beyond.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life
International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

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